Friday, June 27, 2008

You know that old expression...

I'm talking the one that goes... "I went to a fight and a hockey game broke out". Well it was kind of like that at my entertainment venue of choice I attended last night. No... there were no fights and in fact everyone was very nice and respectful.

But I went to a RAID meeting last night and all that was talked about was how to grow this community. Yes I'm oversimplifying a bit, but that is what I took out of the meeting when I left. For basically an hour and a half... how to attract beneficial growth was an underlying theme... at a RAID meeting.

The main advertised content for discussion last night was in fact those 'impact fees' that have been a hot point of conversation amongst many in the Kingman area. The impact fees were discussed at length and I think many in attendance that spoke up made good points.

Invited to the RAID town hall meeting last night were; Mayor John Salem, Council Members Robin Gordon and Keith Walker, and City Manager Jack Kramer. I won't speak for anyone else, but I was impressed with each city representative last night as various points were brought up by the audience and how those points were addressed.

One thing for certain came clear, for me, out of the discussions last night... Arizona has some stupid laws on the books with crazy requirements put on Arizona cities. There were a few nice ideas put out last evening, but those ideas were met with certain state statutes that basically eliminated the good idea.

I thank the hosts for last nights event for making me feel welcome. It is my hope to attend more of these kinds of community meetings in the future (no matter who is hosting). I did not speak up on any of the issues last night, but I do want to thank the Mayor for asking me if I wanted to before the meeting was over. It was my intension to listen to all issues last night and I feel that I benefited from doing just that.

One of the points the city representatives made last night was they wanted and needed to see how the 'impact fees' have curtailed specific growth related projects. I think their request for proof will be granted. I have heard through the grapevine of some smaller buildings not being built because of the additional fees that are tagged on to other typical costs such as permitting and required improvements.

So if anyone does know of projects put on hold or scrapped all together because of the high cost of commercial impact fees, please contact our City Council members and tell them what you know.

When this discussion was taking place, the only thing I would of added was all the proof they'd need would be staring us in the face once some stability returns to the economy and the market. You see, both neighboring communities such as Bullhead City and Lake Havasu city are a ways away from Kingman. Kind of like in the far corner. Those communities are 'over there', if you get my drift. But when things smooth out again (some day) I think it is very clear that we'll see noticeable growth in both residential and commercial building outside the current city limits.

We know that the master planned community that is going to be developed in the Golden Valley area is pretty close to getting all the necessary authority it needs from various government agencies to begin their project. That project is not 'over there'... more like right around the corner. For now, Kingman has the advantage simply because of the population base -- but how much will that matter is demand springs up its pretty face once again and all the builders (small or large) pull permits at the county for new projects... instead of the city??

I am already aware of many people moving out of the Kingman area because of the lack of opportunity brought on by the bad economy (much of it due to national issues, but they directly affect us in our humble area). A competing community could swipe other folks that live in Kingman and depending on the success of the developing community... sales tax revenue could easily follow in greater numbers. Not a good thing for city services at all.

Luckily... to some degree... the city is not threatened by ongoing development in the county area close to Kingman (again... a bad economy is right here, right now). Kingman has time to right itself and to ensure that it is competitive once things begin to turn around. It is time for Kingman to be aggressive in setting the stage for another round of good solid growth... whenever that happens.

Once again, last nights event was a success in my eyes. It is quite clear now that the community is ready to work together for progress that offers benefits to all. Thanks again to RAID for hosting a fine town hall event.

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