Trusted local news leader for Kingman, Arizona & Mohave County
Sun, Feb. 23

City offiicals worried about possible state budget cuts

The Arizona State Legislature's special session to balance the 2001 and 2002 budget cycle could impact the city more than just by the loss of state revenue sharing money, City Manager Roger Swenson said.

"We have no way of knowing what the legislature will do to balance the budget," he said.

"With the major portion of the budget off limits for K-12 education, the programs that can be cut are limited."

Kingman received confirmation of a state-funding match for Walleck Ranch Park last week.

"The $508,000 park is expected to be constructed during this city budget year," Community Development Director Dennis Roberts said.

"We will be looking for confirmation of fund availability before going to bid."

The park money comes from the Arizona State Parks Heritage Fund using money from lottery receipts.

"The money is supposed to be in the bank for these projects," Roberts said.

"The city pays for the park construction and is reimbursed."

Swenson said the lottery funds are the result of a voter initiative passed in 1990 that comes up for another vote in 2002.

The park funds and other lottery-funded programs would stop after 2002 if the voters do not approve an extension.

The funds used to conduct the joint county and city public transit study and hire a city transit coordinator were authorized by legislation that has a 2002 sunset clause.

The city has the state funds needed to hire a transit coordinator to begin the planning.

Most of the grant fund sources for equipment and operation of local public transportation are from federal dollars.

Both the park and transit funds are on Gov.

Jane Hull's list of possible cuts.

The proposed reduction in shared revenue of $147,000 could be just the beginning of revenue lost by Kingman, depending on the outcome of the legislative session.

Hull projects the shortfall at $675 million in the current fiscal year's $7 billion budget and $850 million in the 2002 budget of $7.5 billion.

She said K-12 education should be exempt and public safety and health functions should be protected.

Mayor Les Byram said legislators meeting with city officials at a recent state conference were not anxious to reduce city and county revenue sharing.

Legislators were critical of major parts of Hull's proposals but there was no indication that lawmakers were in agreement on any alternative course.

Hull, expecting a long special session, offered lawmakers a turkey each if they finished by Thanksgiving.

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