Yocum defends sales tax, credits city with progress on airport
KINGMAN – City Councilman Stuart Yocum has no qualms about voting for the Transaction Privilege Tax increase, or sales tax, and doesn’t understand why there’s a citizens’ initiative to repeal the tax and why it’s so tremendously controversial.
It’s a half-cent to pay for desperately needed street repairs, and a half-cent for infrastructure and capital improvements, he said.
“People who are not in favor of this never sat on the other side of the dais, never sat through a budget meeting and workshop,” said Yocum, who is running for re-election to his second four-year term.
“This Council recognized the need for it and that’s why it took action to fund Kingman in a responsible manner.”
There was no money available for street repairs, but people were complaining about the condition of Andy Devine Avenue along El Trovatore Hill and the delay in repairing the road.
It needed to be repaved rather than fixing every pothole that came with the rains, and the city needed grant money to bring sidewalks to ADA standards before repaving, Yocum explained.
Stuart said he was proud of the progress the City made as a “foundation” toward economic development, especially the improvements at Kingman Airport and Industrial Park, which was taken back by the City through eminent domain.
“Just bringing management and finances in-house. Just about anyone who does business at the airport will tell you there’s a huge change in sentiment, like a dark cloud was lifted,” Yocum said during an interview at the Daily Miner.
“There’s a feeling among all airport users and businesses of a new day and cooperation that was not felt under prior management.”
He hopes to see new businesses, new jobs and smart, responsible growth at the airport now that the city is investing in the property, marketing the airport and cooperating with business owners.
Yocum said the City made good progress in promoting downtown Kingman, and there’s a desire to simplify the process of opening a new business.
He wants to push construction of the Kingman Crossing interchange because a lot of retailers don’t want to conduct business in the existing retail corridor, which is Stockton Hill Road, due to the traffic mess.
“What this Council has done is make an investment in Kingman and its future,” Yocum said. “Opponents of the sales tax love to say you can’t tax yourself into prosperity. I don’t disagree. However, you can under-tax yourself into poverty. Kingman has had too little money for too long.”
Yocum said he has the future of Kingman in mind and four years of experience on City Council to carry his mission forward. He’s strives to be cooperative with the Council and listen to all sides, then work with everyone for the common good of all residents.
“I’m very civic-minded, very community-spirited and involved. I’m participatory. I listen to what people are interested in. I want to work on behalf of what the people want for the town and for themselves.”
Yocum said he’s taken care of his arrest and license suspension for driving under the influence, and hopes voters realize that he learned from his mistake.
“It’s been handled,” he said. “It’s a personal matter I’ve taken care of and should not be a reflection of my character or judgment.”