The Kingman City Council has decided to keep moving forward with a primary property tax proposal to be decided at special election in the spring. Council members, during their December 15 meeting, conceded a finance scandal that has rocked City Hall will make it more difficult to convince voters to approve the question.
Council member Jen Miles dissented in the 6-1 vote to continue pushing for the property tax. Miles said many in the community think alleged employee theft of more than $1.1-million from within the Finance Department shakes public confidence in local government, thereby dooming the tax proposal at the ballot box.
“When I have brought this up with many of the constituents I have talked with, their response is immediate and certain that this isn’t the time to ask the public to do this because there is a trust factor that needs to be regained and it’s going to take time and effort to do that,” Miles said.
Council member Mark Abram agreed with Miles in part, but also said the city desperately needs the revenue stream diversity and stability that the property tax represents.
“We do have to sell this. I think it’s necessary. We have to put the right—I don’t want to say spin—because we don’t want to spin it,” Abrams said. “We want to tell the true and correct story of why this is needed.”
While continuing to deal with the theft of public funds, city staff will keep working through the holidays on chores associated with development of the tax proposal. A key part of that effort will be preparing options before the Council decides the amount of the proposed property tax levy on January 19.
The election is targeted for May.