Kingman ordinance encourages commercial development
KINGMAN – Businesses may have an increased incentive to continue or start operations in Kingman, as more funds can go toward the business itself rather than to building fees.
City Council Tuesday unanimously approved an ordinance to waive commercial building fees in Kingman starting April 1 and running through June 30, 2019. Keith Eaton, assistant chief at Kingman Fire Department and current building official, said on Monday the estimated loss to revenue from the ordinance is about $150,000. That figure is based on revenue acquired from commercial building fees in years past.
According to Eaton, the practice of waiving commercial building fees so as to increase incentive for commercial businesses is not uncommon.
“It’s just something that we as a city haven’t done before,” Eaton said. “It’s new as far as offering incentives in that realm.”
While Kingman’s commercial development hasn’t boomed as of late, Interim City Manager Jim Bacon noted that down the line the ordinance could have significant fiscal impacts. New hotel projects and commercial structures, Bacon said, can amount to six-figure fees.
“If commercial building activity picks up in the next year or two that may be a reason that you look to this resolution and say ‘I don’t think we ought to be doing it’,” Bacon said.
He recommended giving it a go and keeping an eye on which businesses, large or small, come to Kingman as a result of the ordinance.
“It’s worth trying for a year and see what happens,” Bacon said during the Council meeting. “There’s an argument to be made that this doesn’t actually have much impact on getting people to decide whether or not to do economic development if they’re large projects. But as your comment suggests Councilman (Travis) Lingenfelter, it may have significant leverage on small immediate projects.”
Councilman Travis Lingenfelter had asked Bacon about the possibility of targeting particular areas of Kingman for commercial development via the ordinance. Lingenfelter specifically mentioned downtown, along Hualapai Mountain Road and along Andy Devine Avenue. On Monday Lingenfelter clarified that his inquiry was in reference to attracting business in general, both small and large, to those areas as outlined by the 2030 general plan.
Bacon said the waiver needed to apply to all commercial development within Kingman, regardless of location.
One project that will be affected by the ordinance is the Jerry Ambrose Veteran Council’s renovation of Arnold Plaza. JAVC acquired the plaza from Mohave County in January 2016 for $58,000. The plaza will play a vital role in Operation 6, an effort to reintegrate veterans back into society. Arnold Plaza will serve as a location offering transitional housing to veterans, which will allow JAVC to provide veterans with services and training.
Pat Farrell, JAVC president, is appreciative of Council’s decision to waive commercial building fees. He said it will allow more effort and finances to go toward JAVC programs that assist in getting veterans well-paying jobs.
“Every dollar we save there is going to come back to the city as $10 because that’s more money I can put into programs,” he said, noting programs help plug veterans back into the tax-paying workforce.
City staff is now discussing the parameters for what commercial businesses will be permitted to have fees waived. Eaton said a press release with that information will be distributed soon.
“We’re anxious to get started,” Eaton said.