Byers running for supervisor on record of community service
Editor's Note: The Kingman Daily Miner will run a series of profiles of candidates for public office in advance of the Nov.
7 general election.
Democrat John Collins, Republican Pete Byers and independent Randy Lyles are running for the District 1 seat of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors being vacated by Republican Carol Anderson.
The district covers a broad swath of the county extending from the county line south of Wikieup north to the Utah border and includes the Kingman and Butler areas.
Supervisors earn $47,500 a year.
Lyles, who is running a low-key campaign, declined to be interviewed by the Miner.
A profile of Byers appears below.
Pete Byers, a Republican candidate for the District 1 seat of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors, is running on a record of 35 years of experience in community service.
"I think I have served my time on all the boards and commissions," Byers said.
Byers, a real estate agent who has lived in Kingman 47 years, cited his service on school boards, Little League, the Kingman Planning and Zoning Commission and on the boards of the Mohave Electric Cooperative and Arizona Electric Cooperative.
"I know about power plants because I helped to build one" in Wilcox, Byers said.
"I don't have anything against the power plants as long as there is plenty of water and we don't have to subsidize them.
I don't believe in any subsidy for industry."
The above position puts Byers at odds with the board majority of Supervisors Buster Johnson and Jim Zaborsky and the private, nonprofit group that they support: the Mohave County Economic Development Authority.
MCEDA recruited the Griffith Energy Project under construction off Griffith Road and Interstate 40 and another natural gas-fired power plant proposed for the Wikieup area.
Byers, 58, said he favors economic growth but has disagreed with MCEDA's priorities.
"Economic growth brings population growth, but we have to be selective," he said.
"I have long said that we need somebody to recruit industry but (MCEDA) needs to be held accountable for what they do."
Byers continued, "Maybe we better take a look at their budget and make cuts.
We need to change MCEDA.
People on the streets are telling me they don't like the way (MCEDA) does business."
Noting that his campaign treasurer, Krystal Burge, now serves on MCEDA's board of directors, Byers said he will maintain his independence if elected county supervisor.
"She doesn't influence me on MCEDA matters," Byers said.
"We never talk about MCEDA."
Byers also criticized another industry being recruited by MCEDA: private prisons.
Mohave Correctional Properties LLC of Edmond, Okla., has proposed building the Black Mountain Correctional Facility near the Griffith plant site.
"I don't want any more prisons," Byers said.
"I've gone to other areas where there have been prisons and I don't see any growth.
You are going to have these families follow the prisoners to town.
I don't want the things that (a prison) brings with it.
We need to be more selective."
He said his brother, Kenny, lives a mile from the Arizona State Prison Complex-Perryville, which opened in 1981 and has a maximum of 2,184 beds.
"In the immediate area around that prison, there is no growth," Byers said.
Byers said he would like the county to recruit high-tech companies, stores and restaurants.
He said he would be reluctant to raise taxes to increase revenues for the county, which is facing a financial crisis.
Before adopting the 2000-2001 budget, the supervisors discussed raising sales and property taxes but did not follow through.
"If we have to raise taxes, it would have to be a sales tax," Byers said.
"I just believe we could impact the tourism business with that (tax).
It would not hurt the locals as much."
Byers said he would consider raising planning and building fees to increase revenues, but he would oppose developer impact fees because "it is very expensive to build a commercial building."
He also wants the proposed county complex to be built in downtown Kingman and not be located at 200 acres of donated land off Shinarump Drive and Aztec Road in Golden Valley.
The board majority recently agreed to reconsider their support of the Golden Valley site after the Kingman City Council committed $50,000 for a study of a downtown site.
"I think it is a good idea for the city to do that because it gives them ammunition for the downtown proposal," Byers said.
"Their proposal has teeth."
The concerns of county employees also need to be addressed, according to Byers.
Because of the county's financial situation, the supervisors did not approve a raise for employees for the current fiscal year, and they face higher costs for health benefits in January.
"We have to take care of the employees," Byers said.
"We've got to change the attitude toward them.
The attitude is they don't matter.
They do matter.
There are a lot of good employees that are leaving."
Byers said the county cannot justify conducting a study on the water supply given the county's finances.
However, he said, "In the future, before we build a water-draining type industry, we need to do a study in that area to protect our water supply, and I will be watching for that.
A countywide study just to do a study would be expensive.
"Focus it on whatever the area is, where industry is planned," Byers said.
"I'm concerned about our water," Byers said.
"I think we need to protect it."