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1:11 AM Wed, Jan. 23rd

Letter | John Timko: How shall we grow?

This interesting and important question was raised by Tyler Angle in an op-ed that was printed in the Daily Miner on Jan. 11. Unfortunately, Angle failed to really answer his own question.

In fact, there are only two ways that a community can grow. The slow way – the number of newborn babies is greater than the number of deaths; or the less slow way – the number of people moving in to town exceeds the number moving out.

Fortunately, the City government does not have any control over the “slow way.” They cannot control how many babies are born or how many people die.

Besides, I’m sure Angle doesn’t prefer the “slow way.” It would take 25 years or so before those new babies would be buying Angle homes or Swanty vehicles.

That leaves the “less slow way.” The City can in fact influence this type of growth.

It does it by creating a reason for current residents to stay here and by fostering a business friendly, jobs-creating environment.

You see, the main reason our young adults are leaving town is to find better jobs so they can raise their families. On the other hand, people, such as me, moved to Kingman to take a new job.

If there are plenty of jobs, we will have plenty of people moving here to raise their families. “Jobs, jobs, jobs,” as President Trump loves to say, is the key to a growing economy.

The people who move here to take those jobs will need to buy homes here, eventually buy automobiles here, and in general spend the majority of their new salaries here. They will use local health care providers when they are sick, eat at local restaurants, use local service providers and worship in our local houses of worship.

But without the new jobs, none of this growth will occur; none of the local economic benefit happens.

So, Angle, “How shall we grow?”

We’ll grow by doing what we can to foster the creation of good paying jobs. And right now, the most obvious route to creating those jobs is the development of the East Kingman industrial corridor.

Doing this requires an investment in the Rancho Santa Fe traffic interchange at Rattlesnake Wash and Interstate 40.

Kingman has a great, untapped resource in this area. Access to rail, air and the future I-11 Canamex highway places us at a competitive advantage over most areas in northern Arizona to capture good paying jobs in manufacturing, warehousing and inland port activities – which are being priced out of existence in our neighboring state of California. Our inexpensive land combined with our proximity to major population centers like Phoenix, Las Vegas and Southern California, is ideal for large, regional warehousing facilities. The missing link is the I-40 interchange.

Just to be clear, I think the Kingman Crossing interchange is also a great idea and I support it (as my second choice) also. Both will benefit the economic growth of Kingman and both will create job opportunities. We need both.

Angle’s Jan. 11 op-ed confused me when he wrote about his concern for risk and implied that the City would be “gambling.” He then went on to praise KRMC for doing the exact same things by borrowing money to build Kingman Crossing and 168 acres of City land. You even claimed that “the project would literally pay for itself from the new revenue.”

Well, if KRMC can pay for its “gamble” of building one traffic interchange with just a “portion” (surely less than half?) of the newly created revenue, why are you concerned with the City doing the same thing for two interchanges and having all of the new revenue plus any profits from selling its 168 acres after the land values increase due to the traffic interchange? In addition, the City would benefit from all of the growth in jobs from the industrial park growth resulting from the Rancho Santa Fe interchange.

I was also confused by Angle’s support for “the recently started ballot initiative to reverse the tax increase,” which you base on the fact that “Prescott, Mesa and Tucson” have passed similar measures. First, all three of these cities (as well as Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City) have property-based taxes, which Kingman does not. Kingman relies entirely on Transaction Privilege Tax (TPT) and local fees to fund the government.

Do you really think it is a good idea for City government to be entirely funded based on the people’s vote? In this country, we elect representatives to make decisions which are in the best interest of its residents. If these representatives fail to act in the “best interests” of the majority, the people have the ability to replace them.

Second, assuming this ballot initiative passes, just how bad do you think things would have to get in Kingman before the majority would vote to increase their taxes? Longer fire and/or police response times? Impassable roads? Months to get a building permit? Periodic interruptions in water/sewer service? How bad will be “bad enough” for the citizens of Kingman to “volunteer” (i.e. vote) to increase their taxes?

I’ll bet Angle will get tired of degraded City services, due to lack of adequate funding, long before the “majority.”

Be careful what you wish for.