A 3-3 vote in March left the Kingman City Council in a stalemate regarding use of an Arizona Town Hall to build a strategic economic development foundation for the community. New member Vickie Kress broke the tie after she was sworn into office and assumed her seat during the April 4 council meeting.
“It seems to me that there are a lot of very strong opinions and possibly they need to be heard better and differently,” Kress said. “So, I would like to request that it be added to the next council agenda.”
It appears the Town Hall tennis match will play out once again at the April 18 council meeting. Should a majority of the Council favor use of a Town Hall, the next question would be whether the city would fund the event by itself or accept funding from the private sector.
Kingman banking executive Dan Del Monaco said the business community has pledged at least $18,000 for a town hall that might cost about $15,000. Del Monaco and Mayor Monica Gates have indicated it is proper for government and the private sector to share the cost since the spirit of the town hall is based on a wish for broad community involvement.
When the Town Hall might be conducted is another unanswered question. While Gates, Del Monaco and others want to push forward quickly, Council members Travis Lingenfelter and David Wayt believe it should not be held until the city hires an economic development director.
The Council approved Wayt’s motion directing City manager John Dougherty to begin the process for recruiting and filling the position. Dougherty noted that a job description has not been written and that it could be three months or more before the position might be filled.
Wayt and Lingenfelter believe the hiring should take place first so that the new economic development director can be involved in the Town Hall. Likening the Town Hall and director’s position to an airplane, Lingenfelter said the pilot should be involved in both the takeoff and the landing.
Gates views the “chicken or the egg” comes first question differently.
“Which comes first, the economic development direction or the director,” Gates queried rhetorically. She answered her question by noting that the Town Hall lets the community to set policy for the director to follow, rather than allowing the director help shape that policy.