KINGMAN – The Kingman Citizens for Responsible Taxation has submitted its petition to the City Clerk’s office that would require sales tax increases to go before the voters, and would repeal the 1 percent sales tax increases pertaining to capital improvement projects and the general fund.
According to the application for serial number filed Nov. 28, the Responsible Sales and Use Tax Act would lower the sales and use tax rates by 1 percent. It also “(2) requires that future increases in the sales and use tax rates be approved by the qualified electors of Kingman and (3) permits the City Council to submit proposed sales and use tax rate increases to the qualified electors of Kingman for their approval or rejection.”
“We want to take away the 0.5 percent for capital improvement projects not approved by the voters, and the general fund increase by 0.5 percent, which was not approved by the voters,” said Tony Campbell, general manager at Mother Road Harley-Davidson. “We’re fine with them having a half percent for the roads. Unfortunately, the way that they did it, we have to repeal 1 percent of the 1.5 percent.”
The other 0.5 percent not for road or capital improvement projects stems from the removal of the sunset clause for a 0.5 percent sales tax increase which was ratified at the time of the other increases on Jan. 30.
The group turned in 3,692 signatures to the Clerk’s office July 5, which is more than 1,000 additional signatures than the 2,498 required. The Clerk’s office now has 20 business days, excluding holidays, to verify those signatures.
“We have a list, and its set per statute, that we have to go through in our initial review and then it tells us what we have to remove,” said Annie Meredith, deputy city clerk.
There’s a long list of reasons that signature sheets can be thrown out per Arizona statutes. Grounds to toss out signature sheets, to name a few, include sheets not attached to a copy of the complete title and text of the measure, absence of the correct petition serial number in the lower right-hand corner, and sheets where a circulator’s affidavit is not complete, signed or is otherwise modified.
Campbell said Kingman Citizens for Responsible Taxation went through its list of signatures and removed those from people living outside City limits before signatures were submitted to the City Clerk’s office.
“We actually scrubbed the list before we turned it in on all the obvious ones that did not qualify,” Campbell said.
Elector signatures must also be included or those signatures will be disqualified, and the signatures must belong to someone residing in Kingman city limits.
“After we do all that then we count how many signatures for verification, use a calculation provided by the secretary of state’s office to determine our random sample, and that all falls within that 20-day period,” Meredith said.
Meredith explained that a random sample of 5 percent of the total number of valid signatures is then sent to the county recorder for verification. The county will look for things such as signatures of non-qualified electors, signatures of those who were under 18 years old at the time of signing, and more. The county recorder has 15 days, again excluding holidays, to complete the review.
“Unfortunately, I think City Council has taken it upon themselves to decide the direction for where we’re going to go in the future without any regard for public comment and input,” Campbell said. “And they love to say how we elected them to make the difficult decisions, but we elected them based on what they said in their campaigning, which is very different than what they decided to do in implementing the increase that they did.”
Campbell explained that the whole point of the initiative is to ensure voters get a say in how money is spent. If electors are comfortable with an increase in sales tax then they can vote accordingly. If not, then they can shoot it down.
“As a business person in the community, I don’t see where it’s a sustainable path that they (Council) are on,” Campbell said. “And it unfortunately puts us at a disadvantage in the business world.”