Friday, June 29, 2007

A great trip so far

Other than for the fine gentleman traveling westbound on one of the east bound lanes of I-40, just west of the Ashfork turnoff, it has been a great trip.

Oh I did manage to move out of the way with enough time to quote a line from the movie Planes, Trains, and Automobiles, you know the "you're going the wrong way" line.

Anyway, situation averted. Every day is a lovely day to be thankful for after a sorta near miss.

Well here I am in Clovis New Mexico and I managed to shop at a mall today along with taking in a new movie in a nice theater.

We're off on Sunday morning for Vallecito Lake in Colorado to enjoy the holiday and to hopefully catch some fish.

Hope to share some photos when I get back.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Travel day...

I'm headed out to see the granddaughter in New Mexico today. My wife and I will then head to Colorado near Durango for outdoor activities at Vallecito Lake. The plan is to come back home on the 5th.

I'm going to try and blog today, Friday, and Saturday.

Normally the listings report is available on the first day of the month but I likely won't get to it until the 6th, please look for it then.

See you next time from New Mexico.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Biting the Bullet...

My bad.

The frenzy article from yesterday was done in slight haste and I focused on some things that were out of context. I jumped to conclusions, and I OVER REACTED in a different manner that I felt others were going to do based on what I focused on in the article.

I will leave that post from yesterday in tact, however here I'm going to retract my statements that the Miner (and its journalist) was trying to lead readers astray and that there was an implied smoking gun 'gotcha' moment in that article.

What's fair is fair. I jumped to conclusions and for that I'd like to make amends with anyone who read that particular posting.

The emails for instance. Is there something definitive there or not?? My issue with the email shared in the Miner article is that I didn't think it implicated the developer in anything. It looks like they simply answered a question. If I had read the article more closely, I would have seen the obvious potential conflict of interest. Councilman Deering is right the city should not be hiring a consulting firm that is a client of the developer.

The 'working together' comment. I still maintain that the consultant ultimately chosen to do the report at some point has to get information from the developer to produce the report. I don't feel as this is 'working together', but if in the context that the consultant is a client of the developer then yes they have a working relationship and this particular consultant should not be considered for this project.

The 'giveaways' comment (alluded to by the article from the activist groups that oppose tax incentive programs) still seems like an accounting error issue. I don't think the program is fairly represented here, it is not 'giveaways' it is 'give backs' -- as in the city will be parting with a negotiated rate of collected sales tax in order to pay back the developer over a period of time. To me it is just a poor choice of words to attack the program... a poor choice of words from the activist groups that are against this kind of program.

Yep, I still have questions... I still see value in exploring this particular avenue. But this doesn't mean that this is the only solution that I'd support or be against.

And actually the best solution is probably that the developer has lined up all kinds of great tenants to move on into the Kingman Crossing development. So good that the developer can't wait to get started and says -- screw it, we are tired of messing around with what appears to be a less than competent city complex from the leaders on down. We are doing this ourselves. We are getting bids for construction of the traffic interchange and we'll see you at the grand opening.

No Bidders Today

No bidders showed up today for the public auction of nearly a section of State Trust lands. Many did attend to sit in a shady spot to view the festivities.

More later.

Here is a photo of all the bidders that showed up to bid on the State Trust Lands

And here is just some of the many people who showed up to witness nobody bidding on the State Trust lands.

I am getting some heat..

From the post about the retail tax incentive. I'm looking at what I wrote and the reactions I'm getting through email and phone calls but don't have the time to address it right now.

I'll update this later today as time permits.

Rattlesnake Wash TI

Last night I checked out a public meeting on the traffic interchange to be built further east on Interstate 40, otherwise known as Rattlesnake Wash.

The meeting was held by folks from the Arizona Department of Transportation and there were also city and county staff on hand.

Here are the basics. The new TI would allow Interstate 40 to pass over Mohave Drive (which doesn't exist yet). On the long range plan for the Interstate, it appears that it will be widened at some point to three lanes each way, and the improvements that come with this TI project will allow for the eventual widening.

Phase 1 of the project includes the I-40 overpass with arterial street connections south to Louise Avenue and to Industrial Boulevard north. Estimated cost is $36.4 million. ADOT will pay 70% of the cost and that leaves the City of Kingman to come up with nearly $11 million for their share. Still a few hoops to jump through but if everything goes as planned, construction to begin in 2013. That is five to six years away from completion.

Phase 2 of the project would include building a road from Louise Avenue south and southwest to connect to Haulapai Mountain Road. Estimated cost is $11.7 million. The City of Kingman is expected to pick up the tab. Construction should be finished no later than July of 2015.

So here is the situation, the City of Kingman will be on the hook for about $22.5 million dollars for the RW project. I wonder where they will get the money needed for it. Another bond issue perhaps?? Maybe the voters will implement a property tax?? Cigarette tax or other variations of 'sin' taxes??

I see a scenario or two here. (1) would be that a private developer with interest in the area approaches the city to do a retail tax incentive proposal and (2) the city sells an asset it has in it's possession and hopefully gets enough money from that sale to pay for the costs for phase 1 and phase 2 of the RW project.

Any other ideas??

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

More frenzy...

Listen for it... listen close... you should be starting to hear the rumblings of over reaction.

You see in this little town there is a nice big Interstate that runs east and west through it. There are a couple of ideal locations to add a traffic interchange. Let's just take one as an example, we'll call it the Kingman Crossing area (you may have heard of it).

On the north side of the Interstate there is a private property owner (from out of the area with deep pockets) who has grand plans to build a shopping and entertainment center for all of the fine citizens of the area to use. However the locations current state makes it extremely difficult for the population of all Kingman to easily access the area... especially with a giant Interstate in its backyard (or maybe its front yard, whatever) going underutilized. The following is my understanding, I might be off and I reserve the right to be called out on what I'm about to share. When the deep pocketed private property owner acquired the property (some 200 acres) it came with the condition that if a traffic interchange was built that they'd be on the hook for half the costs. I'd appreciate comments if what I just said is in error. I don't mean to mislead anyone.

On the south side of the Interstate the City of Kingman, and all the residents, own some 168 acres of land. Some citizens insist this area is reserved for a park that the city should provide and maintain (and carry liability for). The park should include lush grass and jungle gym equipment for the kids, maybe even a ballpark, or a skate park, or an ATV/motocross track (face it I've heard many uses implied). Without a traffic interchange located near or through the park, most of the citizens of Kingman would have to travel longer distances and possibly use the sacred street of Seneca to arrive for the fun and frivolity that only a large community park can offer. Luckily in recent weeks a community group with a strong media presence has publicly said that they would support a traffic interchange in that particular area.

So now we've identified two interested parties that would like to see a traffic interchange constructed to improve access to both sides of the Interstate for various reasons. One supposedly has to pay for half of the construction and the other side... well just how is the city to pay for their half of the construction?? I didn't see this item included on the bond issue that voters will decide on later this year. If you've been at meetings with Council Members or the Mayor you probably have heard that the City of Kingman is tapped out of funds needed for an infrastructure improvement such as a traffic interchange. Solutions anyone??

Well, the State of Arizona passed a measure called ARS 9-500-11 which if adopted by a city or municipality could offer a possible solution the current situation that Kingman faces. It basically allows the City of Kingman (if adopted) the chance to allow the developer on the north side to provide all of the funding for the construction project with one obvious catch. The developer would prolly like to get reimbursed for picking up the entire tab when Kingman is able to repay.

Let's take a closer look at this Arizona Revised Statute.

D. Before entering into a retail development tax incentive agreement, a city or town shall make a finding by a simple majority vote of the governing body without the use of consent calendar that includes both of the following:

1. That the proposed tax incentive is anticipated to raise more revenue than the amount of the incentive within the duration of the agreement.

2. That in the absence of a tax incentive, the retail business facility or similar retail business facility would not locate in the city or town in the same time, place or manner.

Yep, my emphasis. You know that sounds pretty good. A net add to the city coffers has to be guaranteed during the duration of the agreement, and I get to use the traffic interchange at the same time. Win/win. So far.

Here is an article in the Miner that is leading us astray in my opinion...

But the mayor and many on City Council have said several times throughout the past four months that the city could not afford to give sales taxes to a developer.

Without a primary property tax carrying some of the burden of providing basic city services, such as road repairs and public safety, sales taxes are often called the lifeblood of Kingman.

Who is giving sales tax away?? The state statute calls for there to be a net add not a net negative. And there would be nothing to 'give away' if Kingman had the money for the project in the first place.

More statute...

J. A person or business entity receiving the retail development tax incentive agreement shall not finance the independent third party verification of the findings or have input into the selection of the independent third party verifying the findings.

This is where the frenzy will no doubt begin. Again in the Miner article many will likely be led to believe that the City of Kingman and the developer have already overstepped their bounds and are dealing dirty. But keep in mind that nowhere in the article does it say that the developer financed or plans to finance the independent third party verification of the findings or has had or will have input into the selection of the independent third party verifying the findings.

The other agenda item was a proposal from staff to hire an outside consulting firm to conduct an independent, third party impact study to see if sharing sales taxes with Vestar would be beneficial to the city.

Arizona Revised Statutes require this outside consultation, and to avoid skewed results, the laws prohibit the developer from paying for the third party firm to investigate the effects an agreement would have on the city budget and the community.

Vestar helped influence process

But according to several e-mails turned over by the city last week, Vestar did have some influence in the process, both with recommending firms to conduct the studies and with providing information to be used in the studies.

Vestar Project Manager Ryan Desmond wrote an e-mail April 2 to Kingman Economic Development Director Jeff Weir, stating, "To follow up on your question about who has provided the independent 3rd party reviews for our agreements with other municipalities, Pat Flynn (Queen Creek, Gilbert) and Elliott Pollack (Coolidge, Maricopa) have provided that service recently."

Wow, I wish more was shared in these blasted emails that shows me exactly where the big bad developer did anything other than let the City of Kingman know who the third party was that did the reports were for past projects. Is there anything definitive that shows anyone other than the municipalities hired Pat Flynn and/or Elliot Pollack?? If there is, please call me on it.

I'm not familiar with Pat Flynn, but I do know something about Mr. Pollack's firm. He is a well known economist in the state of Arizona. He has been hired by the Arizona Association of REALTORS in the past for various housing market studies. I sat through a presentation he made last year that I felt was very fair and it could hardly represent cheer-leading for the end of the housing market struggles (like I'm sure all the REALTORS in attendance wanted to hear). This is a link to some of the economic and fiscal impact studies that his firm has worked on in Arizona. It's a pretty good list. Kingman would be lucky if his firm took our money to do the report, again in my opinion.

Since when does a recommendation equal answering a question of fact on who the third party was that did the independent reports??

Frenzy, frenzy.

Deering wants to have a choice

Councilman Kerry Deering will be making sure of that. Upon hearing the news indicating that (Jeff) Weir had asked Vestar for references, about the city picking the reference, and that Vestar and the selection, Pollock & Company, had worked together in the past, Deering responded: "If I'd found that out I would have been raising hell, you know that."

Deering preferred having more than one choice, and actually having a choice. He said that having a company without any ties to Vestar is a "no-brainer."

"I don't think the city staff needs to direct us on who to use," he said.

Sorry but I don't think that the developer and the independent third party work 'together'. Based what the Miner used for the smoking gun in the article, I'd hardly call it a 'reference' as it sounded more like a finding of fact. If I'm wrong, I'll gladly take the heat... just show me the entire context. The municipality chooses the third party and pays the bill. If the City Council doesn't want to hire Elliot Pollack (which Kingman hasn't according to the article) there is still time to find another. While Pollack is probably one of the best, because of the coming frenzy, Kingman will likely have to settle for another third party that may not be as good or not even from the state of Arizona.

Maybe I'm way off. Luckily anyone that can correct me can do so in the comments. Otherwise all this apprehension is a waste of time (like waiting in Stockton Hill traffic).

The state statute doesn't look to be that hard to follow. If the leaders are listening to the people, remember that the people have stated at City Council meetings that they are not against a traffic interchange at Kingman Crossing and here is one possible solution to follow up on. So don't hire Flynn and Pollack, but do something to find out if the project is feasible. Does it (1) meet the requirement that more money comes into Kingman than it costs for the project and (2) can the developer meet the standards put on them during negotiations with the city?? If the answers are yes to both, then we have the makings of a solution.

Otherwise there will be a very different frenzy in the not too distant future.

A few AZ State bills to note...

The State of Arizona legislature session ended last week and here are a few of the highlights.

HOA For Sale Sign SB 1062 - SUCCESS!

This legislation provides for a pivotal change in state statute responding to a growing pattern of over regulation by HOA boards against property sellers attempting to market and sell their properties. Arizona property owners living in these association communities will now be permitted to display an industry-standard for sale sign and sign rider to market their property.

Yep, this means on September 19th if you live in a HOA that does not allow 'For Sale' signs to be displayed, that you will be able to post your own for sale by owner sign or your REALTOR of choice will be able to post. I know of only one subdivision that doesn't allow signs to be posted in Kingman (or at least enforces the written CC&R's) and that is Walleck Ranch.

Appraisal Exemption for Real Estate Licensees SB 1291 - SUCCESS!

This statutory change was crafted by AAR very late this session in direct response to an attempt by the real estate appraisal board to impact the customary broker opinions of values/broker’s price opinion (BOV/BPO) that are a component in client discussions and listing decisions. New language removes the potential for ambiguity and industry conflict. This measure contains an emergency clause and will be effective upon the Governor’s signature.

This one is directly related to that I've posted about before.

County Transfer Tax for Affordable Housing HB 2762 – DEFEATED!

This session brought a live bill proposing the establishment of a real estate transfer tax with much of the justification for the new revenue stream ironically being linked to the shortage of affordable housing in Arizona. Like other real estate transfer tax proposals put forth each year, this bill was defeated.

Once again the local and state REALTORS Association stepped up for all to defeat this transfer tax that would have meant that sellers would have to pay a tax out of their proceeds of sale to transfer property. This surely would have added another negative affect on the already slowing sales market.

Escrow Interest for Lawyers HB 2733 – DEFEATED!

This bill would have attached the interest from monies being held in interest-bearing real estate escrow accounts and diverted it to the Arizona State Bar Association, a division of the state government’s judiciary. The monies would then have been spent on attorney programs and to fund additional lawsuits.

This one just for giggles. Just what this society needs right?? More lawsuits. Yeesh, nice try lawyers.

A Look Back...

Last week was extraordinary in many ways.

On Monday the 18th of June, I was fortunate to be a fly on the wall in a citizens meeting with some real heavyweights in Kingman. Many were concerned about the present and future of the city that I'm sure all in attendance love to call home. That meeting should be held again with roughly the same cast of characters (and probably some others who weren't there) again sometime in the future, maybe even on some regular basis.

Later that evening at the City Council meeting, I thought the members of council did a nice job on the whole in response to earlier meetings that got slightly out of hand. To me it was the kind of performance that should be the standard for such public meetings with elected leaders present.

I also was moved when the founder of the local community group RAID, publicly stated for the first time that they were NOT against the proposed traffic interchange near Kingman Crossing. Of course there will still be differences in opinion as to what the city should do with its lands on the south side of the Interstate near Kingman Crossing, and it is something I can respect. I think a healthy public debate on the subject of the city lands will be just what the doctor would order to help cure some relationships among city and community leaders. When the votes are tallied, all sides should honor the will of the voters.

On Tuesday night there was a new community group formed that goes by the name of CIVIC. This group has some lofty challenges but their timing couldn't be better given all the rhetoric flying through town currently. This group will offer a real chance for anyone to become more informed on many topics that are being debated on in Kingman. The group will also promote community involvement and voter participation. Two items that Kingman sorely needs.

Last Wednesday I turned myself in to the March of Dimes and did my time. I can't thank everyone who helped raise 'bail' money enough. I may not have met my goal entirely but there is always next year.

On Thursday the Government Affairs Committee made some recommendations to KGVAR's Board of Directors on public positions that the Association may take on current local political events. The recommendations were passed on to the Membership for final approval. If everything goes as expected the local REALTORS Association will begin to get active publicly on key political issues for the first time since I've joined the Association. This has been a goal of mine for a few years now (while in leadership) and hopefully it will become a standard of practice for the future leaders of KGVAR.

Last Friday is when I first read the column and on Saturday I responded to a quote attributed to a local City Council member. I admit that when I first read the quote I was very hot under the collar and I'm glad I waited until Saturday to respond. In the back of my mind I wondered if the quote was in full context and wanted to offer some benefit of doubt. However I said what I said and I'll man up to it with one exception.

It was wrong to publicly question the councilman's leadership the way I did. While I didn't vote for him last year, I do see him at meetings asking questions on topics in a manner to make sure he has all the information he needs to make a decision. I may still disagree with his conclusions at times, but I should respect that he is an elected leader and he is making the best assessments he can for what he believes. Two wrongs indeed do not make a right.

I'm sure the 'six monkeys poisoning the city' comment didn't sit well with the Council Members last week and the sensitivity meter is nearly redlining. There has been unfortunate things said publicly over the last month and hopefully we'll all find a more mature way to handle our disagreements going forward.

The good news about last week though was the discussion. More discussion by more informed groups will lead to clear choices that a voter can make.

The new community group CIVIC gives us all a chance to get our feet wet with the important issues that face Kingman, not to guide your decision but to inform you to make your own conclusion.

The public statement offered by RAID means that all the differing groups can have a meaningful dialog on the topics of the day if they choose to (I'm sort of guilty of not seeking out this kind of dialog, other than on this blog -- I'll do better from here on out). We really do have to respect each other enough to at least listen to the others and hopefully form a direction that is actually best for the community.

The city leaders are actively engaged in the discussion from what I've seen. Again at the last meeting the leaders performed well and made reasoned decisions from lengthy discussions amongst themselves, city staff, and the public.

There is still plenty to monitor going forward. The voices are being heard and I see hope that groups like RAID, CIVIC, KGVAR, the 'good old boys', out of town developers, and the city can begin to work together in a public fashion so that the community feels involved and empowered. It isn't a hopeless form of government, though without strong community involvement, it can be.

Thanks to everyone for stepping up in recent times.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Oh Really??

In yesterday's Kingman Daily Miner, Nick Wilbur wrote a very interesting column.

Read that here.

I'm a little put off by a comment made by one of the current City Council members and wish to retort in my own little way...

Deering made another valid point in our conversation.

"There's a big difference between the general public and the group that met" Monday to rail against local officials, Deering said. The critics, besides members of RAID, Deering said, mostly make up members of the real estate and development industries who've seen a major hit since the economy slowed. They have pocketbook interests, and that leads one to believe they might not be as sincere as they appear to be in their claims of simply wanting the best for Kingman.

"The problem is our economy. We were in a boom, and now we're in a bust. I'd be the same way if my business was ... if I didn't know if I would be able to go on," Deering said.

Not sincere?? Oh really?? My emphasis btw.

I'm not a developer and can't speak on their behalf and won't attempt to.

I've been very interested in recent years with City of Kingman business. Partly due to my duties as a leader in the REALTOR Association, but the interest has spread beyond what is good for the Membership I represented as president last year. I applied to be considered for the Kingman Planning & Zoning Commission. I helped lead a charge to protect private property rights at the county level. I supported a major amendment to the already outdated Kingman General Plan. My interest has always been for a better Kingman to call home. It is no secret I support growth... in a region of the country that will undoubtedly grow for the rest of my life. I feel compelled to be a part of the present and the future of this community.

My Kingman Crossing interest started in earnest here. June of 2006. If you read it you will still see the very same themes I tout to this day; traffic improvement, jobs, additional city sales tax collection. What you won't find is me saying I support this because it will keep me in business. I'll determine that outcome on my own, boom or bust.

It is no secret that this councilman has been against this kind of project from the beginning. Meanwhile, jobs are leaving the area and other businesses are closing shop, on his watch.

But thanks Mr. Deering for questioning my sincerity. I hope I get the opportunity to prove my sincerity to you. Maybe I'll be fortunate enough to sit on the same panel as you if the good voters of this town allow me. I know what it takes to be a leader, you haven't shown me anything that says you do.

Mr. Deering how sincere are you about not only keeping jobs in Kingman but attracting new and better jobs??

I'm one who is led to believe that you may not appear to be as sincere in your claims that you want what is best for Kingman.

At The Car Wash...

Today the KGVAR is having a car wash event to raise funds for one of our beloved Members that suffered a stroke last month.

Simply put Sofia White is one of my favorite fellow Members. She has only been in our Association for just a couple of years now. She had quickly built up a nice business for herself, she was very involved in improving the Association with a hands on approach, and generally just one of the sweetest people that you will ever meet.

Sofia was KGVAR's recipient of the 'Rising Star' award in 2006, and was also given the 'Affiliate' award as voted on by the Association affiliate Members, not to mention her own production award.

She was actively involved in her community as well... nobody has a bad word for her.

Readers and Members if your vehicle is need of washing, today please head to our Association office located on Kino (just east off Stockton Hill Road). I will be there just a little after 1:00pm to wash cars myself.

Please give what you can to help offset some costs incurred from Sofia's month long stay in the hospital and 'Life-Flight' transport.


Sofia receiving one of her many awards at our annual banquet earlier this year

Friday, June 22, 2007

Ugh... Not Good

This next bit of local information is not good.

Article was emailed to me and it comes from local media source The Standard (no links to the actual article can be found at that site).




Frontier Communications is closing its Kingman Call Center on August 24. It's the latest in a series of Kingman area job losses with shutdowns that include the Mohave Generating Station, the Ford Proving Ground and, more recently, Foxworth-Galbraith.

Frontier, however, explained its decision has nothing to do with the local economy. Instead, the company is expanding some operations while closing a number of others.

``The decision to close this call center and a number of other call centers throughout the company is that we're looking to go from 14 call centers to three or four of what I'm calling super-centers, meaning they'll have 400 or more employees," said company spokeswoman Stephanie Beasley. The company announced last year it would be restructuring to ensure delivery of quality customer service with a focus of 24/7 customer service operations and one-call resolution.

``Those call centers identified for continued operations were selected because of their rich labor market and the ability to attract and retain a base of 400 or more employees," state a company memorandum to the City of Kingman. ``While we employ knowledgeable, service-oriented employees in the Kingman area, we have been unable to retain a base of more than 400 employees."

Frontier said it is implementing a Work-At-Home program in place of the Kingman Call Center. 62 people are already working from home and 20 more will be selected for the same role.

Frontier, however, is not disclosing how many other Call Center employees are not being provided the Work-At-Home option.

``We're not disclosing that," Beasley said. ``The reason being is that there are opportunities within Frontier for all of these employees, so, right now, the employees that work in the Kingman Call Center are being impacted in their current positions, but not in their opportunities with Frontier.

Beasley said it remains to be seen so far as how many of those impacted employees can be placed locally and how many others might be offered out-of-state transfer opportunities.

Beasley noted that Frontier employs 250 employees in Mohave County and will maintain a substantial presence through its Work-At-Home and its other business and commercial service operations.

How might have this been different if the city of Kingman was further developed like a normal city with normal amenities such as shopping, entertainment, and reasonable access routes??

What the article doesn't mention is that Frontier Communications owns the building they are located in and it is a rather large building. Frontier in recent years has gone through the motion of acquiring new commercial space and buildings in other locations around the country (in Minnesota and Florida). There would have been obvious advantages to simply make the Kingman location a 'super-center'.

So why didn't they?? Yes the article mentions difficulties keeping a 400 plus person workforce that is needed. However I believe another possibility is that Kingman couldn't attract the management personnel that would have been needed.

This is a guess only, but it is based on similar the talk going around town as to the difficulties of attracting needed doctors for the hospital. The talk is that the doctor's wives don't want to live here. How great will Kingman be for the many senior citizens with not enough doctors to service them??

I'll let you answer.

Update on in Arizona

You can say that I have been sidetracked lately with issues with a very local flavor.

In the back of mind though was a piece of proposed Arizona legislation that concerned price valuations. Namely the Arizona Board of Appraisals made a strong play to bar Automated Valuation Models (AVM's) like from providing the content they do on their website.

This would have meant that private property home owners would not have been able to place their listings on Zillow, and that would have been the same for REALTORS when all things were considered. In fact according to Greg Swann of BloodhoundBlog...

As originally drafted, the bill would have outlawed virtually any estimation of value, possibly even including the casual conversations of neighbors.

So as you can see our lawmakers stepped up not only for our private property rights, but possibly even freedom of speech.

Of course Greg has the full history of this on his blog, link here.

And did a fabulous wrap up, linked here.

A big hand of thanks no doubt goes out to the Arizona Association of REALTORS as well. I know there were lobbying efforts being made to protect not only the REALTORS, but private property owners at the same time. I'm also quite certain that the Board of Appraisal will think twice about messing around like this again.

To celebrate the news, I just placed two new listings on Zillow this morning.

Of course my one criticism of Zillow for the local area is that they really need to update the area, both listings had to be fully entered because the addresses were not in their database. This means I could not enter the 'what else is for sale' information in the neighborhood (or called electronic lead farming if you will). Time for them to offer more service to many Kingman area customers or else may become a better option. Oh how I love competition.

Out for good behavior...

I want to once again thanks everyone who helped me raise bail money for my stay in solitary confinement at the Hotel Brunswick.

While I only raised half of my bail, I was set free on my own recognizance as long as I help raise money again for this group next year... which I look forward to doing.

I'll have to design new tee-shirts for next year (all four were claimed, 3 by fellow bloggers and one by my nephew).

The March of Dimes made this a fun and easy event with the Internet interface. I'm proud to say that I raised all the money using their web-site, there are no pledges that have to be collected.

Once again, thanks to all of you who participated. I'll be leaving the link up on the sidebar for a few more weeks if anyone suddenly feels compelled to donate (I have received such donations since the event ended).

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Link to article

This was the article from the afternoon meeting I attended with many community leaders and recent critics of the city.

Here are a couple of interesting quotes from the article...

"We've got six monkeys that are poisoning our city," Jay Schritter said. "If they're not dirty ... they have the appearance of being dirty," he said later.

I actually cannot believe that one made the article.

This one is not as biting...

Developer Bill Nugent warned against going to the extreme and taking some of the issues to the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Arizona Attorney General's Office.

"The ballot box is where you change your officials," he said.

There were other memorable things said at that meeting that I wish did make the paper, I must say. I'm slightly disappointed that they weren't.

One would have been (paraphrasing) that RAID should be more mindful of the things they say in public (media or in front of Council) because many in the community already think the group is extremist.

The other was a reminder that when the Interstate was opened up through Kingman nearly 30 years ago and the three existing traffic interchanges were built that many right there in the room did very well for themselves, and created many opportunities for the residents of Kingman, with the added infrastructure.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A response to a 'letter to the editor'

Thankfully the Kingman Daily Miner updated their web-site sometime late yesterday. I always enjoy the updates and I rarely read the hard copy (I wish they'd share more articles online and offer them in a more timely fashion... it is the 90's after all right??)

I'm responding to this letter linked here. Fisking to follow.

I'm sure this contributor is a nice person and I have nothing against this person. I only present this as a rebuttal.

I do not believe that the City Council approved the Kingman Crossing amendment when it's against all its own rules for amendments. Sure, there is nothing "written in stone," but where are all the "final" plans that should have been approved before this vote.


Is this city so anxious to be turned into another Los Angles or Las Vegas - no open space for the future generation to enjoy?

Las Vegas has tons of parks. I lived there. Way more than 168 acres worth. I lived near Sunset Park and enjoyed many activities there. I'm guessing this is nearly 400 acres worth of park. But notice the location... it is not off an Interstate. In fact there are zero parks directly located off ANY of the Interstates in Las Vegas and zero near a traffic interchange. Trent Park is located off Rampart of the Summerlin Parkway and is another large park. But Summerlin Parkway is NOT an Interstate.

The city's 160 acres, which are designated as "open space and parks," wouldn't that be wonderful to keep for our grandchildren and others to come. Instead of having to drive maybe a hundred miles to find some "open space." While this area is turned into a huge parking lot? And tiny high-density home lots?

Look around, there is no need to drive 'hundreds of miles' to find open space in the Kingman area.

And hmm... would I want my granddaughter to be playing in a park near an Interstate or somewhere a little closer to my neighborhood??

Los Angeles and New York City have their "huge parks" that people love and use all the time. Can't the city of Kingman be more forward thinking about this? Why sell this piece of land and then try to "scrounge up" more land for parks? Little bits here and there? Here's an opportunity for a wonderful regional park!

Regional park?? You mean like Centenial Park?? Which is like only a couple of miles away??

I'll agree that Kingman could use another sports complex/large community park in the near future. But do you really think the Kingman Crossing area is the most ideal location??

Besides, aren't we in a long and extreme drought here? We haven't had any rainfall at all this year. Where is all the water going to come from to supply these huge commercial developments?

So are you proposing a 168 acre dirt and gravel park?? Should we act like it doesn't take tons of water to keep grass green?? I sort of thought that grass is needed in a park. I sure wouldn't want my granddaughter playing in a dirt park, and therefore wouldn't want to see the city waste prime real estate on such an endeavor.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not against growth, but let it be within reason! That's why I applaud the RAID group. They are looking out for our interests. And also the interests of our grandchildren.

Applaud the efforts. They certainly are the champions of park lands in this town. I hope they can help identify other areas could be more sensible in creating needed park space.

Kingman is surrounded by millions of acres of open land and none of it is 100's of miles away. It won't be hard to find.

A New Acronym Group Forming...

"Oh no" you might be thinking.

I attended the first meeting for the Coalition for Intelligent Votes by Informed Citizens (CIVIC) last night. There were just over 30 residents of the Kingman area in attendance. Included in the group were a former city councilman, a couple of planning and zoning commissioners, at least one attorney, a few REALTORS, a local developer, a local clergyman, and more (including this blogger - slash - REALTOR - slash - potential candidate for city office).

So what cause does this group rally for?? Who are they against?? Who do they want to see fired??

Actually it is nothing like that at all. Cullen Linn and a few others are the brains behind this group of various individuals whose purpose is to...

(1) provide a venue for members and visitors to explore the various facets of important topics that face the local and national public; (2) increase the involvement of the general public in matters affecting the public; (3) increase voter turnout; and (4) help ensure that citizens casting votes are doing so based on factual data and carefully formulated ideologies rather and misinformation.

Their work is certainly cut out for them, however the above is a very noble undertaking in my opinion. Of the 30 or so in attendance many were what I would consider the younger generation. I'm 36 years old and I'd bet that I was the average age of the group (there were a few 'elders' that probably skewed the average age up). That in itself was tremendous in my opinion.

For a minute here, a little back story about Cullen Linn. He happens to be my wife's son. I don't think of myself as a 'step-father' or anything like that. Cullen obviously has a great Mom (I married her after all) and Cullen's Dad provided all the father-figure any son would ever need. At best for Cullen and his brother (Bob), I hoped to be nothing more than a pal when I entered their life. I'm very fortunate to have been accepted by both young men as a part of the family in many ways. I have the utmost respect for them and truly feel that success in life will find them because they both will work for it. In fact I envy them a bit, I never had the focus these two had at that age.

Cullen is also very intelligent (however I can still kick his ass in Trivial Pursuit... but that's just trivial). I believe he is exploring an idea with the CIVIC group and has surrounded himself with others that are on par with his vision. If anyone or any group can pull off their stated purpose noted earlier... it is these folks (and again, many are young and in their 20's).

The message of CIVIC is one of non bias.

The power of the Group shall be derived from its intent not to directly alter the opinions of its members or the general public, but to ensure that those individuals receive as much of the information surrounding a topic as i necessary to properly formulate their own decisions. To that end, the Group shall not endorse any political candidate or legislation or otherwise take sides on a political topic.

It was easy to observe the thirst for more information on local topics i.e. Kingman Crossing, building impact fees, growth, etc.

I believe the plan is to bring resources of information to the group for discussion. This may mean representatives of various groups and government officials. It was clear that the goal wouldn't be to support anything, but the means to an end for relevant information.

The group plans to meet every third Tuesday of the month. The meeting place at this time is at the Powerhouse here in Kingman. If this group sounds like an interest to you, click on Cullen's link at the beginning of the article and email him. You could also email me or leave a comment here and I'll pass your email off to Cullen and the others. There will also be a website dedicated to the group within a few weeks time. For now there is no cost to be a part of the group, but they will take anonymous donations to help offset any costs.

At the moment I'm hardly what I would consider 'apolitical', so I didn't volunteer to be part of the governing board. But I plan on attending future meetings. I'm obviously in favor of any group who has, as part of its mission, the goal of increasing voter participation.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

State Land Trust Sale

Later this month, June 27th at 1:30pm at the county court steps to be exact, there will be a public auction to sell a section of land that is just south of the city owned lands near Kingman Crossing.

See more here.

This will be an interesting moment for Kingman. I plan on being there to observe (I simply don't quite have the 16 million opening bid amount in my checking account at the moment).

Will there be a bidder??

Who will bid??

What will they have in mind for the property??

That was a long city council meeting...

First off looking at the entire meeting taken as a whole, I feel the City Council Members had an exceptional meeting last night and responded well for all the fireworks that have been going off lately.

The meeting was over four hours long and no breaks were offered to the audience during that time.

I'm sure Nick from the Miner is going to do a fine job with detailed recaps of the meeting so I'm just going to hit a few things from the meeting, and then of course link his article here later on.

Under old business Item (a) almost became a huge problem for REALTORS. I have to admit that when I read over the agenda I didn't see a certain passage on this item. The subject came up a couple of council meeting ago and involved large billboards. There was a movement by some residents to not let any more billboards be constructed, and if some folks had their way all billboards would be removed.

Now I can't say that I'm for this but I didn't poke my nose in at all. I didn't pay attention to this issue. So how did REALTORS almost get affected?? The ordinance that was proposed would have done away with off premises signs, and they included weekend signs such as directional and open house signs (also yard sale signs, etc. -- I wonder if election signs would have been as well??).

I have to admit feeling helpless while the discussion was going on for this issue. Luckily our Association president was in attendance and spoke up on the issue for us. This is also where the Council showed very good sense and asked many questions and in the end defeated the ordinance by a vote of 4-2 (one Council Member was absent).

Old Business Item (d) was pulled from the agenda. This was the resolution to allow the city to utilize ARS-9-500-11 which allows for Arizona municipalities to enter into a retail tax incentive agreement with a private developer to assist in things like infrastructure improvements (think traffic interchange). The city manager requested that this item be pulled for the time being in order to host a public workshop. I was going to comment on this issue, and actually was going to call for the very same thing.

One thing happened here that I feel was symbolic and worthy. It was the city manager that pulled the agenda item. Council seemed to go along with this. A member of RAID, Harley Petit, approached the Council and asked them to make a motion to pull the agenda item. Now I'm not sure Council had to make a motion to pull the item or not, but Council motioned, seconded, and voted to remove the item from the agenda. I believe the message that was sent by Mr. Petit to the Council was that they are in charge, not the city manager. Well done.

The last issue from last night that I wanted to mention was under new business item (f). This is the resolution for a call to election for the sale of city owned land at Kingman Crossing. I had some questions about this and intended to speak to Council on this issue. Before I did though another member of RAID, Mike Bihuniak, was first up. His questions were very similar to the ones I had in mind.

I thought the way the resolution was written up on the agenda was ambiguous... especially the following sentance.

This ballot question should provide citizens an opportunity to decide if this project is desired in the community.

Well, what was the 'project' here?? Is it the retail center, the traffic interchange, or simply the sale of the city owned property?? Council stated that this shouldn't be confusing and all this election would do is grant the city leaders the ability to sell the property, some or all of it, in some manner, when they feel the time is right.

I think Donna Crouse will have more on this subject in the comments.

The other bit of breaking news with Mr. Bihuniak's comments was he said that RAID wasn't against the retail center on the north side, nor was he against a traffic interchange at Kingman Crossing. He maintains that the city owned land should be set aside for parks and recreation, but thankfully the fine folks at RAID have made a wonderful public gesture to agree that a traffic interchange would be beneficial for the community. After hearing what he said last night, I had a moment where I felt like wearing some Birkenstock's and singing Kum-ba-yah.

In closing comments the Mayor commented that the city should have another look into impact fees because he can see how they could be hurting an already depressed market (I'm paraphrasing). It clearly sounded like he was responding to what some residents have been stressing as problems that could be affecting the area in a negative fashion.

I observed some great things for the city of Kingman yesterday. No, it isn't all perfect by any stretch. At the very least all the different groups seemed to move one step closer to each other on issues that there was clear distance on.

Monday, June 18, 2007

How did the meeting go??

Well for starters, sitting in that room was good practice for tonights meeting at city council. It was hot in there and not much circulation.

The rumor that I shared never made the light of day, so I'm going to simply consider it a rumor and nothing more with no merit whatsoever.

Get ready for the shocker... I think I can sit on a panel with RAID members and the rest of the group that was in attendance. Why?? Because for the first time the members of RAID at least nodded their heads in approval that a traffic interchange at Kingman Crossing is needed. Now, they didn't say it... and I hope that they do take that public stance. It will help them lose what I feel is an extremist position on the major issues in Kingman.

Will they do it?? Billie, you are a member of RAID and share in the discussions here on this blog, can you get Mike, Gwen, or whoever quoted in the paper that RAID would support simply the construction of a traffic interchange at Kingman Crossing?? If you can, we will be closing the gap in a drastic way.

Onto the gist of the meeting. The city manager's job status is still the hottest topic. There is simply no trust for the various department heads at the city. I have stated that I'm out of the discussion on the personnel matter and the reason has been that I felt that other community groups were simply going to stay against the needed infrastructure (i.e. the traffic interchange at Kingman Crossing). If the folks who were represented at this impromptu meeting actually all simply agree that the TI should move forward... in a way that is beneficial for the entire community... I can see getting on board with more public scrutiny of the city manager and even calling for termination. This is just me saying this though. I would take this view to the Association and the Government Affairs Committee if all community groups were on board with the TI.

Also... for the heavyweight community leader types in the room I was surprised when it was agreed that we should all seek a heavier influence when the time comes to find candidates for Council and Mayor. Actually not surprised by that, but at the fact nobody raised their hand to volunteer. (for the record, I didn't either)

I didn't get the chance to state this at that meeting, but I will here. I liked plenty of what I heard at the meeting. There was plenty of talk of transparency in local government, talk of treating each and everyone the same and to the letter of the regulations and ordinance's. Most all in attendance probably felt the same way as I did... but when the question was 'who should we support' nobody stepped forward.

I didn't do it there, but I'm doing it here. I'll step forward, count me in. You want a candidate that will be transparent?? I'm your guy. I may not always agree with everyone, but I'll at least tell you why I don't. You want a voice for the business people of the city?? Again, I'm your guy. I want to do business in this town until the day I get put into the ground. You bet I want to see opportunities for the best the area has to offer. I want to see people with the opportunity to have good jobs and carve out a nice living here.

You want a candidate that will take control back from the city manager?? I tell you what, if we all agree to have an open and honest discussion on the pro's of improving the city with badly needed infrastructure and are willing to use all the resources at our disposal (including state statute's) that could help bring about the improvements, then I'd be glad to share with you what the city is considering at any moment if elected to serve the city in some capacity.

See you at city council meeting tonight. Be there early.

Afternoon meeting has been called...

Through the grapevine there comes word of a citizens meeting that will be held shortly. Members from RAID and others will be there to discuss some of the items that are on the City Council agenda for tonight.

I'm sneaking in and will update if I get the chance before tonights meeting.

Here is the one nugget of info that may be discussed. This is rumor at this point so take it for what it is worth.

Apparently RAID will consider dropping the referendum election item to overturn a City Council decision to amend the General Plan for land use on the 168 acres of city land.... if.... drum roll please..... The city fire's the city manager.

At least I will be a fly on the wall for this one.

Last Days...

As you know I've been trying to raise funds for the March of Dimes using this blog to generate the interest.

I really appreciate the donations I have received so far. Most recently Mike Price from Mike's Corner donated on Sunday. This means there is only one MOCO Real shirt left for the taking.

I have to have all donations in by Wednesday morning and there is one shirt left. HURRY!!

See the sidebar and click on the 'Please Donate' link to help me out.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Mid month report on sales activity

More of the same really, but there is some bits of info that look promising.

Disclaimer... all data compiled for this report comes from the WARDEX Data Exchange and does not include any sales activity from outside that resource. All research is done only on single family homes and there is no inclusion of modular homes, commercial properties, or vacant land. The geographical area researched includes; all areas within the boundaries of the city of Kingman, north Kingman, the Hualapai Mountain area, and the Valle Vista subdivisions. Click here to see maps of the included area's.

New Listings:

So far in June there are 75 new listings, or 4.7 a day. Of those 75 only one has taken a contract.

$125,000 is the lowest priced new listing.

$760,000 is the highest priced new listing.

New Contracts:

We have seen 31 homes get a contract so far in June, or 1.9 a day.

$73,000 was the lowest listed price of a home that entered into contract.

$575,000 was the highest listed price of a home that entered into contract.

That highest priced listing was for a property in the Lazy YU subdivision and if it successfully closes escrow would be the second listing sold in that area this calendar year.

Newly Sold Homes:

To this point there have been 21 closed listings in June, or 1.31 a day.

$87,500 was the lowest priced closing.

$494,185 was the highest priced closing.

I normally see more homes close in the last half of the month than in the first (for whatever reason). I'm hoping this is the case again. The number of homes that have entered the contract stage over the last two months was pretty good (considering) so there is still hope that the sold market at least maintains the pace it has been on. Stay tuned.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Time for a fisking...

I want to thank Mrs. Gillman for the endless entertainment from her columns that appear in the local Kingman Daily Miner.

Here is the latest... let's have some fun shall we??

Gwen Gillman
Just Thinking

Just thinking huh?? We'll see.

The first part of the column is her continued criticism of the city manager and she can have at it. I'm still staying out of it.

The following is the better part...

Crossed wires

I just finished reading the agenda for the Monday Council meeting, and wow, the city manager and Council are not letting any grass grow under its feet in their quest to sell the city's 168 acres on the south side of I-40. It really doesn't matter that nearly 1,200 citizens signed their names in protest of the city changing the land use of this acreage from open land/parks to high commercial usage.

No, it doesn't matter if the RAID group got plenty of signature's to put an issue, a different issue, on a ballot. All the signatures did was qualify the issue for the election, those weren't votes.

City Council is going to approve putting the issue of whether or not the city will be allowed to sell the property or not. I was under the assumption that letting the citizens vote on this kind of issue was a good thing (as the RAID'ers have said before many times), but here we see a RAIDer questioning Council intentions of actually letting this issue hit the ballot.

Their hypocrisy knows no bounds I guess.

Truth is, it really doesn't matter what the citizens of Kingman want or don't want - the city manager and Council have a timeframe that they are working toward to allow Vanderbilt/Vestar to buy this property.

Whoah!! How can RAID be afraid of a vote of the people?? She was just bragging about the 1,200 sig's, I don't get it. More hypocrisy. People should be allowed to overturn a City Council decision, but not to decide if the city should have the authority to sell an asset (authority from the residents - citizens - voters)??

And congratulations for scooping the best city reporter the Miner has had in a long time on the news that Vanderbilt is the beneficiary of any possible sale. I'm sure this is easier for Mrs. Gillman to simply say this rather than to back it up. I'll be nice and give her the opportunity. I'm a nice guy.

Nevermind that this is probably the worst market ever for selling real estate!

(My emphasis)

When did Mrs. Gillman get her real estate license?? Or maybe she's in the financial advice business?? Worst real estate market ever?? I didn't realize we were in the midst of another 'Great Depression', or that Jimmy Carter was president again.

There is a market for home and property sales Mrs. Gillman and if you were to read this blog you could easily get caught up with it. The RAID group could also make a positive affect on the market if they weren't so anti-growth on the most important issues that currently face the city. Still not a peep from any member of RAID that they could possibly somehow support construction of an interchange at Kingman Crossing to enhance the lives of even the residents that live on or near the sacred street of Seneca.

Our arrogant Council members who voted for the Kingman Crossing interchange aren't going to change their minds. You start to ask yourself, "Why?" and again, "What's the hurry?"

Keep trashing the Council... that's one way to win them over.

Why?? It's good for the growth and the health of the community.

What's the hurry?? Have you been on Stockton Hill lately?? Do you want to see sales tax dollars stay in Kingman??

Friday, June 15, 2007

A Pro Sports Team in Mohave County??

Last week a friend of mine in the media, Dave Hawkins, told me that there is some news making the rounds that somewhere in Mohave County (likely Bullhead City) the CHL (a minor league ice hockey league) is considering setting up a franchise.

Dave was kind enough to email me his article that I'll share here.




A professional hockey team could be playing in a new multi-purpose event center in Bullhead City in 2 ½ years. The Phoenix-based Central Hockey League (CHL) is expanding into Yuma and is also interested in placing a team in the Colorado River community.

Rick Kozuback, president and CEO of Global Entertainment, the parent corporation of the CHL, said the CHL is to the NHL what the AA level is to major league baseball. He said about 75-100 CHL players each year are called up to play in the American Hockey League, with about five of them getting some ice time in the NHL.

Kozuback said there are 18 CHL teams scattered from Arizona to Texas and from Colorado to Ohio. He said the newest franchise was established in November in Prescott Valley and that northwest Arizona could host a hockey team too.

``Bullhead, Lake Havasu, Kingman and Laughlin. When you add that area in it fits our demographic profile and our geographic profile and it has the population base that we need to maintain a building and obviously a franchise,” Kozuback said. He said they carefully select communities that have no professional sports franchises and towns that also need an events center.

``We look at those markets that have little or no competition for what we offer,” Kozuback said. ``What we offer is a building that can do multiple events—concerts, family shows, trade shows and hockey, of course.”

Kozuback said the parent company’s design-build International Coliseums firm constructs multi-purpose event centers that can accommodate between 5,000 to 6,500 spectators. From monster trucks to motocross, from rodeo to figure skating, he said the goal is to schedule 130 event days a year, 40 of those being hockey games.

Kozuback said he’s had several discussions with officials in Bullhead City. He said he hopes those continue, progressing to development of site plans, a building model and a financial package.

Kozuback said the Yuma project and another in Texas are tracking toward completion in 2008.

``We would project that Bullhead and a couple of others we have in our pipeline would be 2009 openings, which would technically mean that by April of 2008 we’d need to be pretty much completed with all of our documents, our development agreements and our preliminary design to probably start construction in the summer of 2008 to be open for October of 2009 for the hockey season.”

This is exciting news for me because I'm a huge fan of the sport of hockey. Would a pro hockey team work in this part of the country?? Well I see enough 'Winged-Wheel' decals on cars and trucks all the time here in Kingman. Any hockey fan can tell you the 'Winged-Wheel' is the symbol of the Detroit Red Wings team of the NHL. I've come to know many 'closet' hockey fans in this area over the time I've lived here. I've run into locals when I've attended Phoenix Coyote NHL games.

Minor league hockey is a great bang for the buck. The players are still incredibly talented (more than I can imagine and I've played the game for many years), young, and most think they still have a chance to make it in the NHL someday. I've found that minor league games are even more exciting than NHL games and the price is certainly a lot more reasonable.

Having some sort of professional team in the area I think could help generate more community pride. Rooting for the home team is important, even for not normally traditional sports fans. It gives a little more commonality among all the neighbors.

"Did you catch the game last night??" -- That is an easy ice breaker to start a conversation.

It is not difficult to fall in love with the game of hockey and it is even easier to become a raging fan of the team you root for, even if you've never experienced the game of hockey before. I've noticed that a large portion of the most fervent fans of the game are women, and they often show the most loyalty to the team and the players. The people watching experience alone, in many cases, is worth the price of admission. Even I can be entertaining to watch as I yell at the ref's or the opposing players.

Maybe I'll even try out for the team?? Hopefully the chances that a franchise is set up here in Mohave County are a lot better than my chances would be to earn a roster spot.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

A trend is forming...

I decided to take in last nights City of Kingman Planning and Zoning Commission meeting. I just can't get enough of that meeting room lately.

I admit that I haven't been to many of these meetings in the past so maybe I'm off a bit with what I'm going to say following. Of the eight items on the agenda last night, six involved a request to rezone residential to some form of commercial. The other cases involved; a rezone to a Multiple Family, Low Density, Planned Development District and a request for an approval of an extension of time of a preliminary plat for a subdivision.

The applicants last night seemed to be the 'movers and shakers' type in the community. They've obviously have noticed a need in the community for more commercial space to serve the residents.

Quickly looking back a few months worth of P&Z meetings minutes and requests to rezone residential area's to commercial zoning are not hard to find. Time extensions for residential subdivisions are also found throughout the time period I glanced at.

This points to the fact that most likely before more folks move to the Kingman area, more services need to be available to serve the current and future residents.

The signals are there folks. More commercial development is needed, and a larger retail commercial center located elsewhere than on Stockton Hill Road is key. But where will it be located?? There is an obvious answer, but a so-called community watch dog outfit will be asking you to vote against it later this year.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Mohave County Road Guide

I'm glad to see these guys are getting some publicity for their efforts.

All I can say is about bloody time that a reference guide for roads (dirt or otherwise) finally has shown up. I've known about this project in the making for about 6 or 7 months and Dave and Tony did a marvelous job.

Do yourself a favor head to a store near you (find out which ones in the linked article above) and get yourself a copy of this atlas. It should be a requirement for anyone in the real estate business that sells land in the greater Mohave County area to have one of these. There may even be an online version available (, hat tip to Nathan from the comments).

Finding a parcel of property, or how to get to a particular parcel of property just got a whole lot easier because of the ambition of these two gentlemen.

Speed limit change...

I took the following from the city web site...

Speed Limit Change on Hualapai Mountain Rd.

Effective June 18th, the speed limit on Hualapai Mountain Rd. from Andy Devine Ave. to the city limits just east of Seneca Dr. will change from 45mph to 40mph. This change is a result of increased traffic. There has also been increased commercial development along Hualapai Mountain Rd. The purpose of this change is to make it easier and safer for ingress and egress of Hualapai Mountain Rd

(My emphasis)

Oh no... the sacred street of Seneca is under attack!! Let's fire up those petitions everyone!! Seneca must be protected at all costs!!

Kingman in the news...

Not for the best of reasons though. More about the plight of the current City Manager.

Now I'm not going to sit here and bash the guy, in fact I've invited him to the next Government Affairs Committee meeting for the local REALTORS Association.

What was done last Friday was done. It is time for solutions to the problems that face this community. Are we going to work together in a more transparent way or not?? Whatever mistakes the city leaders and City Manager have made are there... in the past. What can we do about today and tomorrow?? It is time to find out what the leaders are made of.

Monday, June 11, 2007

So, Now What??

The last couple of weeks have been very interesting to say the least. I've covered the sales market activity for a decent amount of time now and there is a clear trend forming.

There are many factors that lead the trend and many are out of our control. I believe more buyers were created in years past because of the easing of lending restrictions, especially in the boom years. At one point during the boom it was very difficult to find a house available on the market that fit the buyers needs. Buyers were left with little choice and were all to willing to settle for a house and pay higher than market value simply because they had to find a house.

Builders and developers worked hard to fill the niche created by the surplus of buyers by buying land, developing, and building homes as fast as possible. This continued after the market began to turn. Now as a result there is surplus inventory of new homes available on the market, but the easy to obtain financing is not as available as it once was.

Also the run up in prices could be contributed to speculators and 'flippers', we all know by now what the term 'flipper' is in the realm of real estate. This was just another factor. People simply bought a house with the idea that they would resell it a short time period later for profit. Speculators continued this practice as well as the market started to turn for the worse. Now they may be in a bad position and could suffer huge losses.

Most of the above was happening on a national level, but we saw this activity here locally as well.

There are current local markets that aren't suffering as much as say Las Vegas and Phoenix, but since Kingman is right smack in the middle of those two communities I'm not surprised we are having some of the same difficulties they are experiencing.

To make matters probably worse locally, we have a politically unstable situation that will likely add to the softening market. Comments heard at a recent City Council meeting included such things as... I'm paraphrasing... there won't be another nail in a two by four as long as a certain city employee is still in his position. This remark was made by one citizen perhaps speaking for a well respected banker involved with construction loans. Now I don't know if all bankers that deal with construction loans feel the same way, but it was a powerful comment especially if it ends up being true.

Another political fireball is the efforts of a local community group that says they're NOT anti-growth yet seem to fall on an anti-growth position each time they raise their voice. They've recently set out to stop a land use change on potential commercial property that could attract more investment money and development of things that this community could use. They don't agree at this point that infrastructure improvements are needed and would rather halt the project in question (the TI at Kingman Crossing) until they feel their own needs are addressed (jungle gyms).

They've also stated publicly that they are concerned about the value of their property as in they don't want to see it go down. What they may not realize is that they are probably adding to the negatives in the market and thus will suffer right along with the rest of the community when it comes to property value by taking such a strong stance against possible development.

What our local market really needs are some positive signals. It would be nice just to know if the Wal-Mart distribution center will become a reality in this area. That alone would signal more jobs coming to the community. Obviously the amenities that Kingman has to offer (such as shopping, easy access routes, etc.) play a role. If the Kingman area continues to fight such improvements then it is likely that the investment dollar that can bring jobs and other benefits will stay away, and you can only guess what kind of impact that will have on property value over and beyond what we've seen on the national level.

I'm going to ask a couple of bloggers in other markets (markets that are relatively in good shape) to comment on their observations and how it may be different for them because of the political environment and other possible reasons. I'll share that information when I get response.

For now though there are some things that this community can control in the current market. Getting our political house in order is probably the most important.

Sunday, June 10, 2007

We overwhelmed the city site...

You remember after last weeks heated City Council meeting me telling you about and linking you to the city website to view the historic meeting yourself. You also remember me telling you all week how difficult it was to view.

We were not alone.

Word of what transpired at the meeting must have spread quickly, because the problem, according to the city's information services director, is that too many people had been trying to access it.

"I think the usage or the viewing of that video is what was making it unavailable for a number of people," Information Services Director Joe Clos said. "It got a very high number of hits, and to preserve our bandwidth here at the city, we had to restrict it to a certain number of viewers at a time."

The city issued a news release around 11 a.m. Thursday addressing the issues. "Every effort is made to ensure that the ability of the public to view these meetings meets the demand," the statement read. "However, the extremely high demand for the 06/04 Council Meeting video greatly exceeded the number of concurrent viewers possible by the system. The City Information Systems Department is now making changes to the system to allow more concurrent access to all videos."

May Sales Report (2007)

I'm going to ease off the commentary on the facts that I have been gathering and let you do the commentary in the comments this month. So without further ado...

The disclaimer:

Disclaimer... all data compiled for this report comes from the WARDEX Data Exchange and does not include any sales activity from outside that resource. All research is done only on single family homes and there is no inclusion of modular homes, commercial properties, or vacant land. The geographical area researched includes; all areas within the boundaries of the city of Kingman, north Kingman, the Hualapai Mountain area, and the Valle Vista subdivisions. Click here to see maps of the included area's.

Listings and sales in units chart:

Average listings and sales averages chart:

2004 through 2007 unit sales chart:

2004 through 2007 average price chart:

The average home sold in May had 3.13 bedrooms, 2.2 bathrooms, a 2.13 car garage, included 1,697 square feet of living space, and was built in 1993. The average hold sold for an average of $126 per square foot of living space.

It took an average of 138 days of marketing to attract a buyer to come to an agreement and a total of 178 days from the first day of marketing to the close of escrow.

Sellers reduced price $14,090 to attract a buyer on average from the first day of marketing, and conceded another $7,575 to the buyer in the transaction. The total average price concession for the homes sold in May was $21,665.

You be the market expert... what say you??