KINGMAN – Making changes within or outside the home can be an overwhelming task, but Council took action Tuesday to ease the burden for Kingman residents who plan to connect to the City’s sewer system.
Council unanimously agreed to establish a $50,000 sewer connection assistance program for Kingman residents desiring or being required to connect to the City’s sewer system.
Tina Moline, financial services director, said the program will be funded from the annual debt service savings Kingman is experiencing because of the prepayment of the Hilltop Wastewater Treatment Plant loan.
Staff was directed in September to create a program aimed at providing financial assistance to Kingman residents who planned to move from septic to sewer.
A joint effort between the public works department, engineering department and finance department yielded decisions on program guidelines, application processes, lien processes and other details.
“The purpose of it, of course, is to increase sewer extensions,” Moline said. “It’s also to provide financial assistance to anyone who is required to connect or who chooses to connect.”
Considered at first was a single loan on a first-come first-serve basis, granting $50,000 to the first applicant who met the requirements. However, staff decided that wasn’t how the City would get “the biggest bang for our buck,” Moline said.
“For an average lot in the city of Kingman, an average cost to abandon a septic tank and an average cost for any sort of developer payback is under $10,000,” she said.
The program will put a cap on assistance at $10,000, which will allow approximately five customers to connect to the city through the program.
Eligibility for the program is limited to residential property owners who reside on the property, those with good credit criteria similar to that required for utility billing accounts, and those with established water accounts. Applicants can also not be delinquent in property taxes. Defaults would be addressed by applying a lien to the property.
The loan term would be for 10 years and the rate would be that of the prime rate at the time of the promissory note, and there will be no prepayment penalty. Payments would go to the wastewater expansion fund.
Mayor Monica Gates is in favor of the program, but also said lowering sewer rates would be another way to increase incentive to join the sewer system.
“I’d like to see a balance between hooking up more residences and starting to give back some of the investments that the residents that are currently hooked up to the system are paying,” she said.
The program goes into effect April 1 and will be reevaluated based on its success after a year.