KINGMAN – Write-in City Council candidate Harley Pettit says that if elected, he will work to bring a sense of respect and accountability back to Council in addition to advocating for wise spending habits and downtown development.
Pettit doesn’t think the City has an income problem needing to be addressed via the Transaction Privilege Tax increase, but thinks the issue boils down to a “spending problem.”
“No, I don’t believe it’s necessary,” Pettit said of the tax increase. “It was conceived and brought about with a lot of questions, and even the state attorney general said it was done improperly. It was kind of a slap in the face to the people because we had a sunset on a previous TPT that didn’t sunset, and City Council then added an additional percent to it.”
He said the City should budget the way an individual would their household budget and not spend money it doesn’t have. However, he would advocate for the City spending money to remedy what he called the “Diamond Street and Airway debacle.”
“I would close off Diamond Street at Airway and run all the traffic to Yavapai where the light is,” he said. “That would give the neighborhood back their street, essentially Diamond Street would become a cul-de-sac.”
Pettit has an issue with Kingman Crossing in that citizens never had a chance to vote on its development. While he does support Kingman Regional Medical Center footing the bill for the interchange, he’s not happy with the way the City plans to pay the hospital back.
“If the hospital is willing to take that burden away from us, then good, then we can concentrate on the other interchange (Rancho Santa Fe),” he said. “As far as the hospital getting reimbursed through sales tax revenue, I say no. If they’re going to take a percentage of our sales tax in that area, then effectively the City is paying for the interchange.”
He also opposes annexation of the Kingman High School and the airport and industrial park because of the increased costs that would be incurred by the fire and police departments. Speaking specifically to the annexation of the school, he noted it would amount to a loss of revenue.
“There’s not a lot of industry out there,” he said. “If you’re going to annex an area, it should be relatively self-supporting or have that capability. But it doesn’t, it’s just an expense. Where it sounds good to get more population, it doesn’t increase our money flow. It’s just an additional cost without a way to pay for it.”
The candidate also thinks Kingman could benefit from addressing what he called absentee landlords downtown. He said they should undergo building inspections and given two months to comply, with failures resulting in a lien on the property.
When it comes to growth and downtown development, Pettit is of the opinion that downtown Kingman should have one central theme to help foster growth, which he says is “always important.”
“We have to have a common theme and not have a pink building there and a purple building here. We have to have some kind of theme and that’s what I would encourage.”
Electors will have a chance to cast their votes for councilmembers and mayor in the upcoming Aug. 28 primary election.