Community View | Lingenfelter misrepresented opinions and actions
Travis Lingenfelter, one of our City Councilmembers, recently chose to attack me personally regarding the upcoming Sale Tax Initiative, Proposition 413. Councilmember Lingenfelter, like everyone else, has a right to express his opinion on issues, but it is important not to misrepresent other’s opinions and actions. Because of some of his comments, I feel the need to explain my perspective to the many I know in Kingman.
I became involved in Kingman Citizens for Responsible Taxation for several reasons:
I believe the manner in which the City Council passed the tax increase was not transparent and responsible. Responsible governmental leaders have a clear plan on how public funds will allocated and used BEFORE a tax is increased, not after. Even a year after the City Council raised taxes, we keep hearing more and more new uses for the funds, and it is still unclear how much will go to interchanges, parks, etc. No fiscally responsible city, business, or individual operates their finances this way.2
In addition to the tax increase being irresponsible, it was illegal. The tax increase was done without the proper 60-day notice and in violation of open meeting laws. While the open meeting law violation was rectified after we started the initiative and the attorney general was notified, the 60-day notice was never satisfied.
The city was getting into the business of building interchanges without proper participation from adjacent land owners.
We felt the city was heading toward taking on too much debt and its associated risks – potentially jeopardizing our children’s future.
Given the issues above, I felt that the citizens should have the right to vote on future sales tax increases.
If the citizens vote to uphold this sales tax passed by the City Council, I will support it on a going forward basis as we should be ruled by the citizens, not a select few. I do not oppose taxes as long as governmental leaders spend it responsibly, and I am willing to pay my fair share.
The opposition to the initiative is being funded by a developer out of Las Vegas because he wants a free or substantially subsidized interchange, which will dramatically impact the value of his property. My business owns several future phases in the Rancho Santa Fe residential subdivision and has options on the remainder. I would personally stand to gain if the sales tax remained in place and the City funded the Rancho Santa Fe Interchange. However, in principle, I am opposed to it because of the potential for the City of Kingman to take on too much debt, which could lead to having to raise sales taxes even further to cover that debt. This is something I cannot in good conscience support. I believe the City should be attempting to develop the Rancho Santa Fe interchange through a public/private partnership like it is with the Kingman Crossing interchange.
I have tried to be a good citizen for our community. Angle Homes sponsors the downtown ArtHub community arts program. We invested about $150,000 to renovate the old building on the corner of Fourth and Beale streets and turned it into an Art Hub. We bring in artist from throughout the country, and even internationally, to work and live in the ArtHub for three months at a time. We spend about $40,000 per year to rent, maintain and staff this space. We provide these art residency artists with a place to live and work. We provide art classes for the community as a way of giving back to the community. One of our ArtHub residents built the Running Hare that is stationed downtown on Andy Devine Avenue at no cost to the community. For 15 years, we have sponsored youth basketball, soccer teams, and sponsored other local events and activities. We contributed $15,000 to help with the Splash Pad. We want Kingman to grow and prosper in a positive, organized fashion.
We advertise to attract home buyers to relocate to Kingman from other states. We will build 115 houses this year in Kingman. Each house built generates the equivalent of three full-time jobs through management, subcontractors and suppliers. We are providing what equates to 345 jobs in Kingman this year and around $500,000 in sales tax for the City. Additional fees such as permits, sewer services connections and water meters generate an additional $400,000 in City revenue.
I know the other businesses involved with Kingman Businesses for Responsible Taxation also donate generously and contribute economically to Kingman. We are committed to Kingman and its growth.
To be clear, we are neither Raid 2.0 nor toxic, as described by Travis Lingenfelter. We are a group of 20-plus businesses owners from Kingman. None of our members are from Raid or supported Raid. We believe growth is good for our businesses and the community as a whole. We just want it to grow responsibly.
I have been to many of the City Council meetings, including the town hall, to try to help Council to see our views, but after meeting or talking with most of City Council members and receiving no response, we felt an initiative was the only way to get their attention.
It has been alleged that I am in opposition to the Home Rule Option. This is simply not true. I have lived in Kingman since 1990 and have voted for it every time and will vote for it again in November. I believe the City of Kingman needs funding to survive. None of the “Kingman Citizens for Responsible Taxation” committee leaders are against the Home Rule Option, either.
It has been alleged by Councilmember Lingenfelter that I signed the sales tax petition four times. His Facebook page posting on Aug. 11 says three times. The truth is that I did inadvertently sign the petition three times and one was eliminated in the review, two were left and not selected in the sample so had no impact on the outcome whatsoever. I personally circulated 55 pages of petitions over eight months and collected over 800 signatures. I had petitions at my house, in my truck and in my office. I am not sure how I ended up signing multiple times. There was no intent to sway the elections or do something inappropriate on my part.
I support voting yes for Proposition 413 (Sales Tax Initiative) to lower taxes and Proposition 412 (Home Rule Option). Once these are passed, I believe the city should do the following:
• Street Improvements – If they need additional funding (whether that is one-half percent or some other amount) for streets, submit a proposal to the voters that is 100 percent dedicated and restricted to pavement preservation. The current funding has a supermajority component, but that rule can be changed by any future city council.
• Capital Improvements – Those items should be itemized and proposed as individual bonds that the voters vote on, instead of just having a general $3.2 million fund to play with each year that can be redirected by any change in council opinion.
We will follow the voice of the people. Whatever the results of the elections may be, we will continue to support Kingman and work toward wise growth and development of our city.
Vote “yes” on Prop 413 and vote “yes” on Prop 412 .