Council divided on supermajority vote

Councilwoman Vickie Kress and Mayor Monica Gates.

Councilwoman Vickie Kress and Mayor Monica Gates.

KINGMAN – Decisions regarding taxes continue to divide the City’s elected officials in a manner citizens have come to expect, with Mayor Monica Gates and Councilwoman Vickie Kress advocating for stricter supermajority requirements than the rest of Council.

Gates and Kress were the only ones sitting on Council to vote against the 1 percent Transaction Privilege Tax increase in August and was later ratified in January.

Council discussed imposing a supermajority requirement for new taxes or reallocation of taxes at its Tuesday meeting. The agenda item called for a supermajority vote of five votes in the affirmative for both matters, but there was some disagreement on the item as presented.

Jim Bacon, interim city manager, recommended that both issues require a supermajority vote of six. At the April 17 meeting a majority of Council said they preferred five, with some exceptions regarding the 1 percent Transaction Privilege Tax increase.

Councilman Travis Lingenfelter believed the agenda item should be split in two, with each individual topic, increasing taxes and reallocating of tax revenues, requiring different supermajority votes.

“This council essentially made a promise to the citizens of Kingman that half of that was going to go to our pavement preservations,” Lingenfelter said. “And for that, I would want to see a supermajority of six, because that’s a promise that I take seriously and I want to make sure that it’s difficult to reallocate those monies.”

However, he was supportive of a supermajority vote of five for increasing the TPT rate.

“Because if you pay attention to what has happened at the county, one person, for instance, they have a supervisor from Havasu, that makes it very difficult to do anything,” Lingenfelter said. “And you would be putting the city in the same spot. So I think it should almost be two separate … one supermajority of six to change where those half-cents go, and a supermajority of five to change the tax.”

Gates said that she could not support the motion as presented, 6-1 for tax revenue reallocation and 5-2 for changes to the tax rate itself, because of her belief that decisions about tax rates should require a higher voting standard. The motion passed 5-2.

“I didn’t support this before,” Gates said. “I support the 6-1 supermajority when it comes to anything regarding imposing new taxes or changing designations of where taxes go. So having said that, I can’t support this motion.”

Kress agreed with Gates.

A supermajority vote of 6-1 for reallocation of tax revenues and 5-2 for changes to the tax rate will be put on Council’s May 15 agenda.