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Mon, Feb. 17

State budget crisis won't hit Kingman, finance official says

Kingman does not expect a major hit from the current Arizona state budget cutting, Coral Loyd, city financial director, said Monday.

"City finances are within budget to date," she said.

"The local sales tax collections are running above budgeted estimates because the city has strong growth."

Loyd recently gave the Kingman City Council a budget update, noting increased construction, sales tax collections and building fees.

The city will have state shared revenues from income taxes reduced $350,000 during the fiscal year beginning July 1.

"The income tax revenue is always two years in arrears," Loyd said.

"The decrease comes from reduced state income taxes paid by residents on 2000 and 2001 returns."

The city absorbed a $50,000 reduction in shared sale tax revenues during an earlier state budget-cutting cycle.

The Arizona League of Cities and Towns worked out an agreement with the Legislature at that time that should keep cuts to cities off the table during the current special session.

Loyd said some special grant programs would be cut and reduce total dollars available for city use.

One casualty was funding for a city, county and state gang program.

The city will have to pick up the cost of those police officers, Loyd said.

City Manager Roger Swenson said the City Council has maintained a conservative budget philosophy, keeping revenue estimates on the low end and spending conservatively.

The council and staff will begin planning the next budget cycle during a meeting Dec.

17, when staff will report personnel and capital needs to the council.

The annual strategy sessions allow the council to set policy for spending and update the five-year planning.

"I expect the council will have a lot of '$250,000' decisions to make that will translate into the next budget," Swenson said.

"At this point, there does not appear to be any large capital expenditure like the completion of Stockton Hill Road."

Contracts already have been awarded for several park projects with state funds, such as Walleck Ranch and Canyon Shadows.

Decisions by the Legislature should not affect them.

Both are funded with state lottery money through the Heritage Parks program.

Matching funds for the Kingman Area Rapid Transport (KART) are federal dollars distributed by the Arizona Department of Transportation and not available for any legislative cutting.

Kingman Transport Coordinator Beth O'Connor said the local transportation funds from the state were eliminated before KART became a reality.

The county and transportation systems in Lake Havasu City and Bullhead City are looking at ways to replace those funds.

O'Connor said KART knew the funds would likely be cut and budgeted without them.

"Kingman did make a decision to go ahead with projects budgeted this fiscal year and keep a careful watch on revenues," Loyd said.

"If we canceled things like the budgeted park projects, we could reduce contractors' work.

That could impact the local economy."

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