Councilwoman's absence leads Council to table tax talk
KINGMAN - Citizens hoping to speak their minds on potential raises in the city hotel, restaurant and sales taxes ended up wasting a trip to Monday night's City Council meeting.
Despite having enough members present to vote on the issue, Council decided instead to table the much-anticipated discussion after one of its members failed to attend the meeting due to medical issues.
Council had been scheduled to discuss several draft ordinances that, if approved, could raise the city's hotel tax or levy a new tax on restaurants and bars.
Council had also proposed a third option of raising the citywide sales tax to generate a similar amount of new revenue.
Several local hotel and restaurant owners had turned out for the meeting hoping to make their voices heard. Instead, Councilwoman Robin Gordon made a motion to table the discussion on account of Carole Young's absence. Mayor John Salem explained that both Young and Councilman Keith Walker had been excused from the meeting due to family medical concerns.
Young was a key player in spearheading the creation of a new Economic Development and Marketing Commission, which she hoped to fund with the revenues raised by a hotel or restaurant tax increase. Without Young present to defend her idea, however, Gordon said Council could not in good conscience vote on a new tax proposal.
Vice Mayor Janet Watson seconded the motion, and it passed 5-0. Council also tabled another item that would have codified the new commission, again because Young was not present to discuss it. That motion also passed 5-0.
Toward the end of the meeting, however, Councilman Ray Lyons seemed to have a change of heart, arguing that Council shouldn't table items just because a single member isn't present to discuss it. In addition to the hotel and restaurant owners who wasted a trip to attend the meeting, Lyons noted that a representative of the Arizona Restaurant Association had come all the way from Phoenix for nothing.
"They came down here expecting us to take some action," Lyons said. "And we tabled the two items they came here to talk to us about."
Lyons got some laughs when he added, somewhat cheekily, that audience members also had to give up watching Monday Night Football to make the meeting.
"I think if I came down here tonight, missed the football game, wanting to talk about getting, for example, appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission and they said 'Well, we're going to table it to the next meeting,' I'd be upset," Lyons said. "We have a quorum. We're allowed to do business."
But aside from the tax discussion, other business did get done Monday. Council unanimously approved a resolution to lengthen preliminary plat extensions to two years, eliminating the need for developers to show progress on their subdivision before seeking a plat extension. The resolution also allows developers to seek an unlimited number of extensions.
Council also adopted a resolution to issue a notice of intent that the city plans to raise water and wastewater monthly rates by a combined average of $13.30 a month in order to pay for several ongoing capital improvement projects, including expansion of the Hilltop Wastewater Treatment Plant. Council expects to hold a public hearing on the new rates at its Nov. 16 meeting, with the changes set to take effect Jan. 1.