Another round of head-buttin’ between Kingman mayor Monica Gates and City Council member Travis Lingenfelter.
Earlier this year Gates and Lingenfelter had a sometimes heated debate during many meetings over several months regarding the merits and structure for a Town Hall focused on economic development. The elected leaders publicly locked horns again during a July 5 meeting with respect to how to proceed with the Interstate 40 Kingman Crossing project.
Gates was a strong advocate for staff recommended award of contract to a firm to design the project, while Lingenfelter asked for another month to bring forward a presentation and possible alternative finance plan.
Lingenfelter noted the county has enjoyed success in employing what is known as a design-build project delivery method as opposed to design it first, followed by the assembly of other project pieces. Lingenfelter went further suggesting it might be wise to tie the interchange to other goals such as connecting roadways to the north and south and infrastructure improvements and a fire station for the east bench.
Gates expressed concern with possible delays to execute a more grandiose vision as opposed to getting the initial design piece underway.
“It seems like every time we say ‘let’s discuss another alternative’ it’s just another delay in moving the project forward,” Gates said.
Lingenfelter said he feels a design build approach is a better delivery method for accomplishing the Crossing project.
“This is one reason that I as a 41-year-old professional ran for office, because I’m sick of hearing about this thing and I want to get it out of the ground too” Lingenfelter said. “I’m actually trying to bring a model to council that we can consider to actually do that and do it the right way, in comprehensive fashion, with our partners at the hospital.”
Lingenfelter noted that he and council member Jamie Scott Stehle, along with retired Mohave County Finance Director John Timko, met with Kingman Regional Medical Center CEO Brian Turney and KRMC Board member Jim Baker. He said they had positive feedback on potential partnership with the city for the Crossing project.
Council member Vickie Kress asked a rhetorical question of Lingenfelter that, if nothing else, indicated that the council members could not have been officially representing the city because they visited hospital representatives without knowledge or approval of their Council counterparts.
Gates told members during the Council meeting that she also had more recent communication with Turney and his letter to the City affirming hospital interest in the project.
Vice Mayor Jen Miles noted that Lingenfelter’s public support of an alternative finance approach is many months old without any formal document or proposal.
“I’ve been hearing about this other plan for several months now and I think it’s time to fish or cut bait,” Miles said. “If you’ve got it, let’s see it.”
Stehle said a final delay of several weeks won’t harm the project. “I feel like it is worth it to sit down and look at this option,” she said.
A split 4-3 council vote sided with Lingenfelter. The design contract was not awarded and Lingenfelter intends to bring a design-build presentation to the Council in August.