Candidate questions propriety of county lease in Kingman
Ownership of library district annex space eyed
KINGMAN - The Board of Supervisors tabled the renewal of a lease agreement for the Mohave County Library Annex in Kingman Monday after questions were raised about who owns the building.
The building is located on East Gordon Drive and is owned by ORB Investments. The county is renting out a more than 2,000-square-foot office in the building for more than $2,000 a month.
A review of the county website's Mohave County Building Inventory did not include the office space. However, it appears the inventory has not been updated for some time.
Mohave County Supervisor candidate Hildy Angius pointed out that several members of ORB Investments are county employees.
According to the Arizona Corporation Commission, three couples - Beverly and Robert Brooks, Yvonne and Kevin Orr and Tamara and Taylor Ross - own ORB Investments.
Beverly Brooks is an administrative assistant in the County Attorney's Office, Yvonne Orr is an assistant to County Manager Ron Walker and Tamara Ross works in the County Health Department.
"I'm not here to embarrass these women," Angius said. "I just want to know if it is county policy that allows the county manager to enter into a lease contract which would benefit not only certain county employees but his direct employee."
When she found out who owned the building and their connections to the county, she drove to Kingman to look at it. There's no sign on the building or the door to let the public know the office is there, and it appears to contain one 800-square-foot office. The only thing that would tip the public off to the fact that the county leases the space was a county vehicle parked out front, she said.
"Why spend all that money on an office for one person when there are other county offices that can be used?" she asked.
The renewal calls for a one-year, $1,920 a month lease starting in February. The county would have the option to renew it for another three years at the end of January 2013 with a 3 percent increase in rent each year.
According to Board of Supervisors meeting minutes, the Board first leased the space in 2007 for $2,160 per month. The lease was renewed in 2008 for $2,225 per month.
A check of commercial listings for the building shows there are two spaces available for rent, one is around 2,400-square-feet and is renting for $1,920 a month.
"This is unethical, improper and it stinks," Angius said. She asked the Board to reconsider the lease.
Board Chairman Buster Johnson said County Manager Ron Walker did not have anything to do with the County Library District Board, so he would have no control over the contract.
Walker pointed out that as county manager he didn't sign contracts for the district.
Angius said she talked with a member of the Library Board of Directors, which includes the three supervisors, and the person was unaware that the library had an annex.
Julie Huelsbeck, an assistant library director, said the office is used to house the community library staff. The community library staff takes care of the bookmobile and the libraries that are located in the more rural areas of the county. There is no room in the Kingman library to house the staff, she said.
Watson pointed out that the office was much larger than it looked and the lease included use of the parking lot for the county bookmobile.
"As far as the ownership, I guess that anyone who does business with Mohave County should go home and do something not related to Mohave County," Supervisor Gary Watson said.
He made a motion to table the item and ask the owners for a further reduction in the rent.
Johnson pointed out that the owners had already reduced the rent from the last contract. Watson said it wouldn't hurt to ask them again. The item was tabled.