KINGMAN – Vice Mayor Jen Miles, who is also Mayor-elect, told a group gathered at the Mohave Republican Forum on Wednesday about the consequences to the City should the Home Rule Option fail come the Nov. 6 general election, as well as repercussions regarding the balloted sales tax proposition.
The Home Rule Option (Prop. 412) has been approved by Kingmanites since the 1980s. The option provides cities with an alternative to the state-imposed spending limit for local governments. Kingman’s home rule option excludes water, sewer and sanitation expenses, and airport services from the state imposed limit.
“If the home rule option is not approved, the City of Kingman’s expenditures will revert to the state spending limit beginning in Fiscal Year 2019/2020,” Miles said. “This will result in significant cuts to existing city services such as public safety, streets, parks and recreation, water, sewer, sanitation, and the airport.”
Miles referenced an email from City Finance Director Tina Moline, in which the director said Kingman would be required to cut more than $40 million dollars in expenditures should home rule fail.
“That would be more than a 60 percent cut to city programs and services,” Miles said. “And I don’t think I have to tell anyone in this crowd what that would mean for our city. I think we would no longer be intact at all, and so I encourage everyone to approve the home rule Proposition 412.”
The vice mayor then turned her attention to Proposition 413: the Responsible Sales and Use Tax Act.
“That is a proposition that would eliminate the 1 percent TPT, or sales tax, that the City Council enacted in August 2017,” Miles explained. “And that sales tax, that 1 percent, would be eliminated and the City Council would never be able to adjust sales or use tax, ever, without a general vote or special election.”
She said that is “pretty onerous and strips the Council of all authority to really represent you in a meaningful way.”
She explained that half of that one percent is designated for the City’s Pavement Preservation Program. A survey of Kingman’s more than 400 miles of roadways and discussion with City staff brought to light the “crumbling” condition of City streets.
This year the City has budgeted $4.5 million for street improvements, a significant increase from $800,000 in previous years.
The other half-percent goes to the City’s capital improvement projects.
“Those capital improvement projects sat in the back of our budget book, unfunded, for decades,” Miles said. “This Council realized that the opportunities we had to invest in our city would never manifest unless we did something to create a capital improvement revenue stream which the City did not have.”
Those projects include a new $500,000 fire engine for Fire Station 2, the new Fire Station 2 and training center, additional facility protection at the Kingman Police Department, I-11 interchanges of Rancho Santa Fe and Kingman Crossing, and new playground equipment.
In Miles’ opinion, the half-percent for capital improvement projects will promote job growth by bringing in businesses and industry. That will in turn strengthen Kingman’s workforce by keeping families and younger generations in town, she said.
Miles summarized by saying that if Prop. 413 passes, it would derail Kingman from its current path of growth and divert it to a contracting path.
“Any city that is contracting is not growing and doesn’t have a very bright future,” Miles said.