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Sat, March 23

Call it a task force, I'll bring the pizza

In college the Student Senate created a committee with a very clear goal: to make Senate better. It was appropriately titled the "Make Senate Better Committee."

Members of the Make Senate Better Committee held official committee meetings, ate pepperoni pizza paid for from the committee's budget and talked about ways the committee could spend students' money. It was a lot of fun, as I'm a big fan of pepperoni.

I hate to draw parallels between the amateurs in college government and the city of Kingman, so I'll avoid noting any direct correlation and act like I'm changing the subject.

The city of Kingman already has the General Plan, the Growing Smarter legislation, a Unified Development Ordinance in the works, the Kingman Area Transportation Study, state laws guiding city expansion, and the various tourism, clean city and off-premise sign committees.

The latest guide to Kingman's future comes in the form of what's called the Economic Development Strategic Plan, which was created by the Technical Advisory Committee.

The point of this plan is to make recommendations for the future economic vitality of Kingman.

I'm not on Council (although seriously considering a run), but the economic development director asked for feedback. So here's mine.

First, a review of what's in the plan, starting with the five Ws.

Who needs to do it? The city. What does it need to do? Create a process to address growth. Where should it be done? In Kingman. When should it happen? Sooner than never. Why should it be done? To make Kingman "a prosperous, vibrant and economically diverse community centered on the attainment of sustainability through active and effective participation in public and private partnerships." (This excerpt is from the "vision" statement, not to be confused with the mission statement.) All the Ws are addressed in the plan. Kudos.

And now for the hows in regard to the eight initiatives listed.

How do we brand a city, initiative No. 1? Form a committee.

How do we "continue to build a strong regionally based economy"? I would suggest we "continue" to do what we're already doing. The plan calls for partnerships with already existing committees.

How do we "assist in preparing current residents for new employment opportunities that positively effect their lives and families"? Form an (Outreach) committee.

How do we adopt smart growth practices and policies, keep Kingman a desirable place to live and develop affordable housing? Form a (Quality of Living) committee.

How do we adopt a primary property tax? Form a (Responsible Funding Approach) committee.

How do we initiate a formal annexation plan? Form an Annexation Plan Task Force, i.e. a committee.

How do we "adopt practices to maintain and enhance the city of Kingman as the government center of Mohave County"? "(R)ecognize the significance of the governmental influences and welcome expansion efforts." This will include participation from several already existing committees.

And last, how do we create "a marketing plan that produces successful business recruitment results"? No answer provided, but hey! How 'bout forming a committee.

Other comments: I loved the history of Kingman part of the plan - the first third of the report - and the three-year-old study by Arizona State University on Kingman's economy. I especially liked that it took six months to identify the following strengths: it's warm, there's lots of room to expand and there are no earthquakes.

Most of all, I enjoy the politics. The economic development director was chastised by the mayor for failing to bring in businesses, and then right after Council cut his department funding and his severance package, the director came out with this in-your-face report showing what, exactly, he's been doing to earn $95,000 a year.

I recommend Council accept the Economic Development Strategic Plan. Then pick me to head the "Make Kingman Better Committee," which will become known as the "Elimination of Excessive Committees Committee." Better yet, we'll call it a task force, and I'll bring the pizza.


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