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Council checks for 'fees-ability' of more revenue sources

Council discussed assessing a public safety fee to utility billing customers within city limits during a work session held Wednesday evening. (Daily Miner file photo)

Council discussed assessing a public safety fee to utility billing customers within city limits during a work session held Wednesday evening. (Daily Miner file photo)

KINGMAN – Council gathered for a special work session Wednesday evening where it discussed the City’s revenue sources in an effort to gauge interest in some of the proposed ways by which Kingman could add to its coffers.

Matters discussed at the work session included redevelopment areas and special taxing districts, voter-approved revenue sources, development investment fees, public safety and stormwater fees, and water and wastewater franchise fees.

Finance Director Tina Moline began the meeting by talking about the financing tools for redevelopment areas. Downtown has been an area of focus for a redevelopment area.

“Just like the improvement districts we currently have, the City pays for those improvements and then we assess the costs to the property owners who pay us back over a period of time,” Moline explained. “Ultimately, the City is responsible for debt services if there is any default on the payments.”

Also addressed were revitalization districts. The City could dedicate a portion of existing sales tax dollars toward funding areas needing to be redeveloped. However, that district would be ran by a private, non-elected board, which was not necessarily recommended by City consultant Andrew McGuire.

The meeting then shifted to special taxing districts with a focus on fire districts and community park maintenance districts. Formation of a fire district would require signatures from more than a half of the owners of the taxed property in the proposed area and signatures of the owners of more than a half of the assessed valuation of the property in the district.

Community park maintenance districts are either operated by an outside board or the Board of Supervisors depending on the acreage of the district. If under 160 acres, it would be operated by BOS, and above, a private board. Funds spent in these districts could only be used for operations and maintenance, and not for any new amenities.

“So essentially, you’d be creating a district that would be run by someone else regardless and it would potentially not have a lot of revenue to bring to the table,” McGuire said.

Up next were development impact fees, fees imposed on new development. DIFs could be in place by July 2020.

“We are prepared to move forward with DIFs,” said City Manager Ron Foggin. “We’re going to look sat DIFs for public safety, which is both police and fire, parks, transportation, stormwater and wastewater.”

Public safety makes up more than 60% of the Fiscal Year 2020 general fund operating budget. Revenues generated do not offset expenditures for public safety.

“Implementing a public safety fee can help offset operating expenditures, which of course, increases the availability of all of our other general fund revenues for other programs and services,” Moline said.

The City could implement a flat fee for utility or water customers within City limits. A monthly fee of $5 would yield the City about $750,000.

Stormwater fees were another option given to Council. Foggin said Kingman can no longer take care of stormwater with the $620,000 a year received from the county.

“We are, just like we would with water and sewer, we’re going to create a fee structure for stormwater and we will have impact fees associated with that as well,” Foggin said. “Once we have that in place, some of these bigger, more important projects we will be able to bond against and start taking a bigger bite of these stormwater projects we’ve been talking about as a community for well over 15, 20 years.”

Also discussed were water and wastewater franchise fees, which are fees charged to utilities for the right to construct and operate over or under City streets, public places and more.

Last to be addressed were voter-approved revenue sources such as the establishment of a primary property tax and an increase to the transaction privilege tax rate.

“As a reminder, the property tax has its own standalone requirements for election, and that is May. And then of course we cannot have, based on the decision by the voters last year, we cannot have a vote on the sales tax until November 2020,” Foggin explained.

As stated above and by Foggin, the goal of the meeting was to see what options Council would like to pursue. Its thoughts will be addressed in an upcoming article set to run Wednesday, June 26.

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