Photo by Hubble Ray Smith.
KINGMAN – Vice Mayor Jen Miles and Councilman Travis Lingenfelter both agreed an increase in the city’s sales tax could be put to a vote by the citizens, but that’s not the direction they want to take.
Raising the Transaction Privilege Tax by 1 percent, approved at an Aug. 15 Council meeting that was found to be in violation of state law, is the best way to move forward on funding two interchanges that are critical to Kingman’s future, the elected officials said Wednesday at the monthly Mohave Republican Forum.
“In general, I’m not against the vote,” Lingenfelter responded to a question from one of about 50 citizens attending the forum. “I’m against it because I remember what effect RAID (Residents Against Irresponsible Development) had on Kingman, and I see the exact same thing happening to Kingman as when RAID was around.”
Lingenfelter said he’s thoroughly read the 2030 General Plan, which was drawn up and voted upon by the citizens of Kingman, and it specifically refers to the interchanges as holding the most promise for economic development and broadening the city’s tax base.
Miles said the tax increase could “in theory” be put to a vote, but she’s worked with groups such as Kingman and Mohave Manufacturing Association since it was founded, and they all support it.
Interchanges at Kingman Crossing and Rattlesnake Wash have been talked about for 25 years, Miles said.
“I think if we stop the momentum at this point, we may lose the whole momentum for this,” she said. “I know it’s time for us to move forward on this project.”
Council will hold a town hall meeting for public input on the tax, which would designate 0.5 percent to pavement preservation and 0.5 percent to capital improvement projects, tentatively scheduled for Jan. 23.
A location and exact time and date have yet to be determined.
Ratification of the vote, as required by the Attorney General’s Office, is scheduled for a special meeting of the Council on Jan. 30.
One audience member at the forum asked about the possibility of implementing a gasoline tax instead of raising the sales tax, since gasoline prices in Kingman are already below the national average, and it would primarily be paid by motorists traveling Interstate 40.
Miles said she would love to implement a gas tax, but the Council doesn’t have the authority for that. What it can do is cut a “big-ticket item” out of the increased sales tax, which would reduce the rate for purchases above $5,000 or $10,000, depending on how the tax is structured.
However, of the 16 cities in Arizona identified by Finance Director Tina Moline as having the “big-ticket item” tax model, none of them provide police and fire service without a property tax, Miles noted.
“Wouldn’t it be healthier for Kingman to have a property tax and that would be the (voter) initiative? But that has not been supported in the past,” the vice mayor said.