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Kingman City Council to ponder sales tax hike on 2022 ballot

Kingman City Council could decide to place a sales tax increase on the Nov. 8 election ballot when they meet on Tuesday, July 5. The city complex at 301 N. 4th St. is pictured. (Miner file photo)

Kingman City Council could decide to place a sales tax increase on the Nov. 8 election ballot when they meet on Tuesday, July 5. The city complex at 301 N. 4th St. is pictured. (Miner file photo)

KINGMAN – The funding source for the pavement preservation project may be on Kingman voters’ Nov. 8 ballots.

On Tuesday, July 5, Kingman City Council will vote on adding a Nov. 8 ballot measure to increase the sales tax in order to fund the pavement preservation project. Council does not have the authority to increase the sales tax without voter approval.

According to the agenda, the sales tax is being considered due to tourism, which is a primary avenue for Kingman’s sales tax collections and enables visitors to foot part of the bill. At the May city council workshop meetings, staff also pitched a property tax.

However, the sales tax would also collect funds from tourists who are also using the roads. At the meeting, council could consider including a “big-ticket” option for taxable items.

If approved, the city would collect around $5.5 million annually over 10 years, which will be used to repair, maintain and improve city streets. According to the agenda, the recommended tax increase is 0.52%.

Sales tax is currently 8.1% with 2.5% going to the city. If voters approve an increase, that would bump the city’s rate up to 3.02%.

To fix and maintain current paved streets, city staff has proposed a seven- to 10-year plan to fix paved city streets. Almost 50% of the network roads are considered “poor.” Staff has expressed the goal of getting the average of all residential roads to a pavement condition index of 70 out of 100.

The score is currently 50 PCI due to the increase of new residential roads. However, without the new additions residential roads fall to 39 PCI.

To establish and maintain a pavement preservation program, the total 10-year cost would be over $100 million. The city’s general fund, Highway User Revenue Fund and restaurant/bar funds would also help pay for the program.

Council will also decide whether to accept a grant from the Arizona Criminal Justice Commission awarded to the Kingman Police Department on behalf of the Mohave Area General Narcotics Enforcement Team. The grant amounts to $336,832 with a match of $84,208 required.

In February 2021, council hired Ritoch-Powell & Associates to prepare plans for the Eastern Street Design Phase One, which are 90% complete. Council will decide whether to make a contract amendment to redesign the traffic signal for video detection cameras.

The original plan was to install inductive loop vehicle detection for signal control at the new intersection of Airway Avenue and Eastern Street. The upgrade cannot exceed $4,750 in cost. The budget includes $85,000 for the project.

Also on the agenda, council will hear reports on the Mohave County Fairgrounds. County staff proposed moving the fairgrounds to the Golden Valley area, which has received mixed reviews from community members. The proposed acreage is 376 acres, more than the 76 acres the current facility sits on.

The Mohave County Board of Supervisors recently created a Fairground Needs assessment committee of fairgrounds stakeholders to determine its needs. However, committee members said that may not be big enough, noting the rodeo space alone could take up 200 acres.

Council will also hear a water resources report, particularly in regards to the Hualapai Valley Basin aquifer.

The City of Kingman’s water comes from a sub-basin of the aquifer. A U.S. Geological Survey study found, and Mohave County data confirmed, that new farms in the area are causing a water deficit.

The findings from the USGS highlighted that 5,600 acre-feet of water was being pumped out, but not being recharged back into the basin. One acre-foot equals about 326,000 gallons of water. The 2017 study, published in 2021, observed a 30,900 acre-foot deficit annually, a massive jump from previous findings.

A 1,200-foot water level has been established as an “adequate assured” water level. However, if it reaches that level new wells would soon be needed to reach a 2,000 foot depth. The water could reach the 1,200-feet water level in 50 to 140 years depending on what steps are taken to address the water deficit.

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