Letter | Let the people vote

We the people of Kingman believe in the right to vote and to file an initiative when we disagree with the actions of our City Council. The Constitution of the United States allows the people to vote. As Abraham Lincoln expressed, “government of the people, by the people, for the people.”

A letter was submitted to the Daily Miner (that was later retracted) about how a “few” people with a minority view can control the direction of a government that does not necessarily follow what is believed by the masses. We agree with this idea, but believe that in Kingman right now those “few” are five members of the City Council who voted for an illegal sales tax increase without proper notification to the community. We actually find that, by far, the majority of those we speak with support the initiative. We have 2,700 signatures and plan to obtain 4,000 before we submit the petitions. Is that a “few” compared to five members of the city council?

If you are a city resident who is registered to vote and are in support of this petition to put the sales tax increase to a vote and to require future sales tax increases to be voted on by community members, then come by any of the businesses listed below to sign the petition.

Our organization is strongly supportive of Kingman growth – both industrial and retail. We do not oppose the city using its resources to facilitate community growth and the quality of life in a wise and prudent way. However, because the City Council elected to significantly raise taxes prior to having meaningful, in-depth dialogue with the community and without thoroughly vetting its current plan as well as other options and partnerships, we have elected to move forward in an attempt to put this issue to the voters.

We believe the City Council’s proposal to develop two interchanges is based on questionable assumptions and information:

• The City Council is assuming more availability of industrial land will spur industrial growth. Approximately 150 acres of industrial land is currently available with good roadway, rail, and air access at the Kingman Industrial Park. Will more land with just roadway access created by the Rancho Santa Fe interchange really spur growth as projected? These issues need to be effectively addressed before investing $100 to $110 million on two interchanges.

• In supporting the Rancho Santa Fe interchange, City Council has accepted assumptions regarding industrial-growth rates that are significantly above anything Kingman has ever experienced in its history, and that are highly unlikely to be achieved. The Applied Economics consulting group did not develop the assumptions and projections regarding the Rancho Santa Fe interchange nor do the same scope of work it did with its study for Kingman Crossing.

• Some members of City Council relied on an interchange cost estimate of $85 million prepared by an individual not employed or contracted by the city. It has since been reported the individual completing the estimate is a consultant for Sunbelt Development that owns 700 acres near the Rancho Santa Fe interchange. A preliminary cost estimate by the city engineering staff is $110 million. This would have to be updated by an outside engineer, but this is $24.837 million more than the estimate used by some members of the council. If you use the engineer’s estimate and add back in the $20 million that likely will never come from the state, the total funds needed to be borrowed will be $103 million. The one-half percent sales tax increase will only give the city $65 million in bonding capacity and will not cover $103 million, but leave the city $38 million short or $18 million if the state kicked in $20 million immediately. To fund two interchanges will require additional tax increases beyond the current one.

• Some members of City Council are assuming ADOT will be a significant contributor to the project. What if ADOT elects not to participate? The bonds for this project can not be floated until ADOT puts in its $20 million. Since this is not on th ADOT’s five-year plan, it would be a minimum of five, maybe 10 to 15 years before both of these projects could even be financed or construction started.

• As business people we want growth, that is how we employ people and feed our families. In our opinion City Council is lessening the likelihood of growth in the near future because of their recent actions, such as stopping the completion of the construction plans for Kingman Crossing last August. The hospital stands ready to move forward with one of the interchanges now, not waiting five to 10 years for a potential contribution from the state of Arizona that may never happen.

• City Council did not examine the impact of simultaneously developing two interchanges to potential development of retail at the Kingman Crossing location. The City and its largest employer are the major land owners at that site. Two separate retail consultants have indicated that developing both sites at once would negatively impact the attractiveness of the Kingman Crossing site to potential retail developers. We are not opposed to a Rancho Santa Fe interchange, we just feel that the interchanges should be built one at a time, allowing the market to absorb such large quantities of commercial property.

• No meaningful discussions have taken place concerning the financial impact to the city should this dual interchange project venture partially or fully fail. What will be the financial impact to the city and what are the contingency plans if that occurs? How much would City Council raise sales tax to finance this shortfall?

We are willing to work with City Council, and have reached out to them to find ways to save some funding for the streets and put the interchanges to a vote, but they have been unwilling to talk or entertain these options.

In summary, we want Kingman to grow – responsibly and with the highest likelihood of success. It is unfortunate that we have been forced to take these steps, but we believe it is necessary to get our community and its governmental leaders back on the right path.

Why is the council so against a vote of the people? Let the voters vote and make the decision they are entitled to make.

Kingman Citizens for Responsible Taxation:

Route 66 Motorsports, Martin Swanty Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Martin Swanty Hyundai, Angle Homes, Mohave State Bank, A 2 Z Roofing, Attwoods Appliances, Budget Blinds, Bulldog Disposal, Boyds Outlaw Sleep Centers, State Farm Insurance Agent, Alliance Home Loans, Big O Tires, H&H Development, Remax Prestige Properties, Homestyle Furniture, Kingman Home Realty, Desert Family Eye Center, Best Western A Wayfarer’s Inn, Bob Bass Realty & Associates