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Sat, Dec. 07

Supervisors say new offices to be built as money available

New Mohave County office buildings will be built in Kingman one at a time as cash is available, the two new county supervisors said.

District 2 Supervisor Tom Sockwell said a new look at the concept of a county government complex is needed.

"It looks to me like we are reevaluating the whole process all over," said District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson.

"I do not think it can be built in one lump sum with the dollars coming from the sales tax," Sockwell said.

"The quarter cent sales tax for buildings will bring in about $70 million over 20 years and half would go for interest if we sell revenue bonds," he said.

The revenue bonds would be needed to pay for construction costs if all the buildings or one larger building was constructed requiring $35 million to $66 million of the sales tax receipts.

A portion of the sales tax would be required to pay interest over the life of the revenue bonds.

The result would be fewer dollars available for construction.

Sockwell said the county would get the most "bang for the buck" by building as the money is available - the same way the new sheriff's headquarters is being built.

Cash from the sales tax collections will be available to pay for the building.

Interim County Manager Dick Skalicky said during siting discussions of the sheriff's building that there is money for the building.

District 1 Supervisor Pete Byers said a $66 million complex is not feasible at any location.

"I think we should pay as we build," Byers said.

"Why mortgage the future of Mohave County and leave a lot of empty buildings in Kingman?"

District 3 Supervisor Buster Johnson said the county paid for and adopted a master plan for new buildings but that plan is no longer being followed.

"I know the building for the sheriff is critical, but by the time we get all the new buildings one at a time, several others will be in the same condition," he said.

"I think there will be a backlash in Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City if we abandon the plan and build piecemeal in Kingman," he said.

Byers said he is working to get the best result for Mohave County.

"We have not abandoned Lake Havasu City," Byers said.

"The county built and owns a new court building in Lake Havasu City that is jointly used by the county and city.

We are paying a portion of the cost of the new senior center in Lake Havasu City.

I voted for and support those projects."

Johnson said building costs will go up over time with inflation and the sales tax dollars will buy less building.

"Paying for buildings one at a time is a good thought because the sales tax raises a little more than $3 million per year," Johnson said.

"But we are not following the master plan that would put all the county buildings in one place.

It could cost $100 million to do the entire project."

Sockwell said it could be a disaster to begin building in Golden Valley and run out of money with the project less than complete.

The county government could be divided forever, he said.

Byers said the transition from current facilities into new buildings would be much smoother done over a period of time and one building at a time.

Sockwell said the county seat is in Kingman, the employees are mostly in Kingman, current buildings that could be utilized are in Kingman and it makes sense to go forward.

Asked about the critical next step after the sheriff's building is done, Johnson said the recorder, treasurer and assessor need new offices.

Byers agreed.

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