Thursday, February 26, 2009

Some juicy econ development stuff

Of course... the juicy quotes and information comes from other communities dedicated on improving the local economic conditions. Hopefully soon and here locally in Kingman, we will begin to see similar bits about our own situation.

The first article linked on this post covers a local election.

In Wheeling, election will focus on economic development

Three candidates vying for the Wheeling village presidency April 7 agree the economy is the most pressing issue and that the village should monitor its spending to prepare for leaner times.

The differences lie, somewhat, in how they would pursue improving the village's economy.

Okay... candidate #1 you are up...

Judy Abruscato, 72, has been a village trustee for 22 years and a longtime member of local organizations like Rotary and the Lions Club.

Abruscato said her main initiative, if elected, would be increasing retail and commercial development in order to strengthen Wheeling's tax base.

Why not just institute a 'Shop Here!' program??

Now... candidate #2...

Patrick Horcher, 45, is the other sitting village trustee in the president's race, with 14 years on the board.

He said his priority would be making sure every applicant who comes before the board is treated fairly, which he says hasn't always happened.

"I want us to be very friendly to business," he said. "We have a lot of businesses that come in and they want to take advantage of our industry."

Horcher said he would advocate lowering the village's sales tax.

Wow... around here talk like that makes you an extremist to some.

Candidate #3...

Kolssak, 39, said his main economic priorities are redeveloping vacant land, and improving the village's strained relationships with its neighbors and other government agencies such as the local schools and the park and library districts.

"I just think it's time for a new style of leadership ... one that isn't mired by all the existing politics," he said. "I think it's time for some new ideas. The main thing I want to do is establish these collaborative partnerships with a lot of the agencies that are involved with the village."

Kolssak said he would like the village to offer new and existing businesses incentives to stay and grow in town.

Now that's just crazy talk right there (not really). Tough choices if economic development is important to you and how you decide to vote.


New Livingston economic development chief already has ideas for I-55

The newly named head of a Livingston County economic development group already says he has ideas for using Interstate 55 to spur growth in the area.

“Immediately I saw the opportunity that exists in relation to transportation routes with the access to Interstate 55 and five interchanges along that interstate,” Larry Vaupel said. “Those are great assets that we will be using to attract businesses.”


Livingston County has many qualities that could help attract business, such as enjoying proximity to larger metropolitan areas while still maintaining an “extraordinary quality of life,” Vaupel said.


The current financial climate in the nation is a concern, but communities which seek out economic development can prevail, Vaupel said.

“It certainly doesn’t make your job easier, but it makes the job more important than ever,” he said. “These communities that are strategic in their effort to attract economic development usually win in these times.”

When you are done there, Mr. Vaupel... we could use a person like you around here.


New jobs coming to Fayetteville : Arkansas Western Gas moving call center to town in July


Steve Clark, president of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, said the announcement is great news for Fayetteville, especially since the new jobs come during times of economic downturn.

"Those are going to be good-paying jobs, those are not going to be minimum wage," Clark said.

He added that anytime new jobs come to a city, they lift the economy by bringing in new people and even boosting sales tax collections because the new people are spending money in the city.

"This is proof that the glass is getting more full," Clark said.


Mayor Lioneld Jordan agreed.

"I think that's wonderful," he said when told of the news. "I think there's a whole new change in the atmosphere. Anytime there's job creation in the city, I think that brings a certain optimism to the town."

And now the piece de resistance...

Breathing new life into RP's 'Economic Development' plan


Gugliotta sees “networking” as a solution these days. “In today’s political, social and economic climate most of us react by cutting advertising, travel and marketing expenses. This seems like a normal business procedure (but) it’s what we need to do as tougher times hit us.

“The results of course are different than we expect,” he added. “The income streams will start to dry up and of course our anxiety level usually goes through the roof. Many of us think that since there’s nothing we can do, we should just do nothing. But ‘nothing’ is really futile thinking, isn’t it?”

I could easily go on and copy and paster more juicy local economic development news making current headlines... just not in Kingman... for now.

All right... just one more...

Cleveland, Tennessee Lands "Major Economic Development Project," Jobs


Back in December, Bradley County commissioners voted to give an "unnamed" business a 50% tax cut for 25 years should it locate in the county. That "unnamed" business reportedly could create 600 jobs at a one-billion dollar plant possibly to be built in the county owned Hiwassee Industrial park.

Hurry to the half off sale if you bring 600 jobs to the area!! I like it!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Rural Housing Loans...

Two things.

First, I'm messing around with a new (to me) screen capture program I've installed.

Second, because of the above I thought I'd try using it on an email that may have some local interest.

Just passing this along. If it is too difficult to read on the blog, click on it for a larger view.

Please note, I do not recommend or refer clients to particular lending agencies or institutions. The above was included for informational purposes only (and practice on my new screen capture program).

Monday, February 23, 2009

'The Foreclosure Five'

Very interesting article appeared over the weekend at the NY Post. While foreclosure mania is covered by the national media at will, this article breaks the data down to show -- what I have suspected for quite some time -- that the problems are local more so than national.

Of course Kingman is in what I call the ground zero area of foreclosures. Right in between Phoenix and Las Vegas and awfully close to California to boot. The article identifies Arizona, Nevada, California, Florida, and Michigan as the 'foreclosure five' states of the union.

Please read the whole article linked above, I'm going to cut and paste a few bits from the article below...

The beneficiaries of taxpayer charity will be highly concentrated in just five states - California, Nevada, Arizona, Florida and Michigan. That is not because the subsidized homeowners are poor (Californians with $700,000 mortgages are not poor), but because they took on too much debt, often by refinancing in risky ways to "cash out" thousands more than the original loan. Nearly all subprime loans were for refinancing, not buying a home.

I know that folks used sub-prime loans to buy homes too during the boom years, but I've never really had a grasp on how many loans were made for 'cash out' purposes. Data like that is not something I have access to (or know where to find it).

Nationwide, foreclosures fell 10% in January, to one out of every 466 homes. But that is a "mean" average dominated by places like California and Florida. In the median state with the 25th highest foreclosure rate, by contrast, only one out of 949 homes was in foreclosure - just one-tenth of 1%. Foreclosure rates were even lower in 25 other states. In Vermont, foreclosures amounted to just one out of 51,906 homes. Foreclosure can be a personal crisis, but it is not a national crisis.

Well stated.

So what's happening now? By looking at sales, you can see the free market is working very well. Sales of existing homes over the past year have soared in four states where home prices fell the most. Reducing the inventory of unsold homes, foreclosed or not, makes it easier to sell remaining homes and thereby works to arrest falling home prices. Falling home prices are not the problem, they're the solution.

Been saying that if sellers want to sell their prices need to be market to the current market, been saying it for a long time now. In fact, I will always say it -- because it is true.

Looking at the Foreclosure Five, you find another consistency - unemployment rates far above the national average (half the states were below 5.9% in December).

The exception is Arizona, where unemployment is a more reasonable 6.9%. Stephen Miller of the University of Nevada and Rangan Gupta of the University of Pretoria explained the apparent anomaly by explaining that migration and the market for second homes make Phoenix housing dependent on economic conditions in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. Miller and Gupta found that "Los Angeles housing prices cause housing prices in Las Vegas (directly) and Phoenix (indirectly). In addition, Las Vegas housing prices cause housing prices in Phoenix" to rise or fall in step.

Interesting theory there.

In reality, the "Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan" compels taxpayers in most states to help those in just a few. Aside from Michigan's unique dependence on autos, the other four states' problems are already being solved the old-fashioned way: If something becomes too expensive, cut the price. Or move.


Polar Plunge time again...

When I say 'again', I don't mean again for me... as I'm not all that fond of icy cold water in subfreezing weather. However once again it is my wife, Gail, that is raising money for charity in the Minnesota area and this coming Saturday she takes the plunge again.

See this post from last year.

Looking at the weather forecast here and while it only goes to Friday (as of today), I doubt seriously that a warming trend of any significance is in the offing for Saturday. Should be much colder than last year.

If you would like donate this year to help the cause please do. I know that financial times are tough this year and maybe you are left with less than you normally are for charitable donations. To entice you though this year Gail will be raffling off a trip to Cabo. Details below.

Here is the link to the Frontier Team website, there you can scroll down to find Plunger Gail Tarson. Please help if you can.

Thank you for visiting my web page to support Special Olympics! This is my second year taking the plunge and you can imagine my excitement to freeze my bum off again. In all seriousness though, it is well worth the temporary sting of the bitter cold. It's a small sacrifice for a GREAT organization.

Your kindness and generosity in supporting me and the Special Olympics is inspiring and a great blessing. Last year, with your help (my family, friends and business colleagues), I was the TOP on-line fund raiser for this event. You all made it happen! Thank you! Let's do it again this year!!!

To support our fund raising efforts, my husband Todd and I have donated our Condo for 1 week (7 days, 7 nights) in Cabo San Lucas. Every person who donates to my fund raising effort with a minimum of $20 will be entered into a raffle drawing to WIN!

$20 1-ticket

$40 3-tickets

$60 5-tickets

$100 10-tickets

Drawing will be held and winner announced Monday, March 2nd, 2009.

Note: Winner is responsible for airfare and must have a passport. The raffle is for the condo only. Check out the resort at (Valued at over $1,200)

If by some chance donations come in and total over $5,000, Gail will wear a swimsuit at the event and I'll post photos here on this blog and on my social networks. She at least needs to make her goal of $1,000 in order for me to publish photos of the event.

Help if you can, thank you.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

On the economic development front...

Someday perhaps pretty soon we will see articles like these linked below here in Kingman. Just a few recent articles about what other communities are doing to help their economic development opportunities. Some in Kingman believe, still, that it is better we hide in our collective shells until there is a brighter day. Meanwhile...

Governor announces legislation to encourage economic development

New and enhanced incentives could bring large projects, high-paying jobs to Georgia

2/18/2009 -

ATLANTA – Governor Sonny Perdue announced today that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Rep. Larry O’Neal has introduced a legislative package that will position Georgia as a more aggressive competitor for economic development projects that grow jobs and investment in the state. The proposed changes to the “Business Expansion Support” Act (BEST) legislation in House Bill 438 and House Bill 439 would enhance and update existing tax credit programs for qualified businesses, including both new and existing companies.

“Now is the time to arm ourselves with the tools that will help bring quality jobs to Georgia as we prepare for economic recovery,” said Governor Sonny Perdue. “Our citizens are the ultimate beneficiaries when we can offer a competitive edge to companies who want to expand in Georgia or bring jobs here.”
Quick, somebody tell these people that hiding in a shell is what is called for, not incentives to bring business and jobs to the area. Who needs that??

Danville City Council approves $1 million for economic development

By Denice Thibodeau
Danville Register & Bee
Published: February 18, 2009

Danville City Council unanimously agreed Tuesday to appropriate $1 million from the city’s general fund for an economic development incentive.

The money will be transferred to the Industrial Development Authority for disbursement to a project that has not yet been announced.

The city will be reimbursed the total amount through an approved Danville Regional Foundation grant as jobs from the project come online.
Talk about a leap of faith. Money will be transferred for a project not even announced yet?? Oh mercy!! Then add in the bit about reimbursement as jobs from this unnamed project come online?? Nah... I like the idea of starting a plywood business for empty commercial businesses instead.

Warrenton names economic development director
Schlenther optimistic despite economy's skid

By Sarah Whitney
Wednesday, February 11, 2009 3:13 AM CST

Despite a troubled economy, Michelle Schlenther is optimistic about her new duties as Warrenton's economic development director.

"I'm very excited, and looking forward to it, and hopefully (can) bring additional jobs to Warrenton," said Schlenther, who was promoted to the position in late January.
I'm sure this nice lady means well... but doesn't she know that the economy will hardly rebound?? She is wasting her time and effort... but luckily for her, when she comes to her senses, that there is plenty of room in our shell for her.

And now my favorite one for the day...

Economic Development Looking to Draw in More People
Reported by: Briana Denney
Last Update: 2/18 7:03 pm

Cerro Gordo County, IA- An area economic development group is making finding things to do, a top priority.

The North Iowa Corridor Economic Development Corp. is trying to let people know the good things going on in Cerro Gordo County. Members goal is to entice people to move here. Director Greg Gillman believes finding things to do key to growing new and old business.

"That will help our workforce grow in the community and become more vibrant community," said Gillman.

Gillman said the more people who move here the bigger the tax base and more things the community can do.

"You don't want to be a dying community or area," said Gillman.

He adds Cerro Gordo County is no where near that but emphasizes it's important to be progressive and think of new ideas to bring people into the area.

"Always be taking steps to be a more vibrant community," said Gillman.

My favorite because it practically reads like a Bizarro Superman episode.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Greetings Mr. President...

Oh by now you heard that President Obama was in the Phoenix area today to tout some spending bill or whatever.

And sure, there were some protesters. What I like about these protesters is their sense of humor (what?? No 'Obamahitler' signs??).

Links here, here and here for news coverage and a look at some of the protest signs that were seen today. My favorite...

Be sure to click on the links for more.


Hey folks... it's me, your humble spin Meister and propaganda minister here.

It seems that my little post from yesterday motivated a couple of folks at the Miner's website to start tossing out labels and hilarious allegations at my direction. No problem though, I enjoyed the laugh.

I responded to one comment post that appeared on the mayors blog site at the which I'll link to again here.

But I thought it would be fun to respond to the other post here on my site. It comes from KDMiner blogger and all around good guy Loyd. It starts like this...

It seems to me that a P&Z commissioner is supposed to be dispassionate and fair and open-mined.

And if Loyd had been on the City Council he would have assuredly voted against me when my name was motioned and seconded for appointment to the commission. Instead of being appointed by a vote of 6-1 in favor, I would have been appointed by a vote of 5-2. I'll say this again, there is no one in this community more surprised by my appointment to the P&Z commission than me. I am still very honored and humbled. I willingly serve on the commission at the pleasure of the elected leaders and will do so as long as they have me. It is their gig, not mine.

Loyd, I apologize to you for having the passion I do on the rights property owners are afforded, I'm never dispassionate in those terms. As far as 'fair and open-minded' is concerned... that's very subjective and probably the main reason why the panel of commissioners is made up of seven members and not left in the hands of a planning and zoning czar.

Todd Tarson, newly appointed with the strong support of Mayor Salem, seems to be a willing go-between carrying water and PR clips for out-of-town developers.

Loyd is correct here. I was willing to copy and paste the comment from the project manager that works for the developer. I even went so far as to make the offer to do so. It is not my quote, I do not own it. If you, Loyd, or anyone else has a problem with it... fine by me. Like you and most all others that live in Kingman, save for two elected office holders and some paid city officials, I was not at the meeting so I have no idea what the hell went on there.

If Vice-Mayor Watson, Council Member Lyons, the attorney that the city hired to help with possible negotiations, or the other city officials want to send me, via email, their interpretations of the meeting held on February 9th in Phoenix that they attended... I'll gladly post them here on my blog.

Of course I wouldn't have to make this offer, or even would have had to post the email from the developer, if the media in Kingman -- namely the Miner -- could have somehow found the time to get a few quotes from the parties that attended the meeting. Like it or not... the issues involving Kingman Crossing are a big deal in this community. Getting some progress updates from time to time would be nice.

Tarson is totally unabashed in his vocal support for anything goes wind turbine issues.

Loyd I'm not surprised that you see it this way and really I don't care. Most rational people that may have been following along now with my writing on this subject (all 40 of you, thanks) know that I view this as a property rights issue. Wind turbines are not a self interest for me, I don't want one on my property.

Again, as a commissioner on the planning and zoning panel, I am one of seven (yet of the two agenda items put in front of that panel since I joined, both were approved unanimously... go figure).

And, when it comes to any type of development issues – well – "Yes", "Yes", "Yes" will be the championed cry.

Any type of development Loyd?? I've already voted to deny a developers request to change zoning in their favor... but facts, often times for you, seem to be irrelevant.

However, here is where your comment is correct. Does the proposed development issue lead to additional jobs in the community?? "Yes" will be the championed cry. Will the proposed development issue lead to improved community services and quality of life?? "Yes" will be the championed cry. Will the proposed development issue lead to more investment into our community?? Once again "Yes" will be the championed cry.

Yet no matter what, as a commissioner on the panel, I will only be one of seven and if I'm actually this extremist you're attempting to make me out to be... my vote will be in the clear minority.

But, I guess a "groomed" commission, as a former city manager once described, is what a "Pro-Growth" Mayor would want in place for moving big development agendas forward.

Chance are very good that Loyd voted for this 'Pro-Growth' mayor he speaks of. Also, it seems to me that Loyd has issues with 'Pro-Growth' agenda items... but don't you dare label him non growth friendly.

As far as any 'grooming' is concerned, the only contacts that I have received from the city are the ones that remind me of either the ride-a-round inspection the Thursday before the P&Z meeting or for the actual P&Z meeting.

Tarson seems more than willing to "grease the skids".

Before responding to this one I googled 'grease the skids'.

From here...

1. grease the skids

get things started, to warm up; to get the ball rolling; to not get caught with your pants down

Jon wanted to grease the skids by sending out an email in advance of the meeting

Also from here...

Idiom Definitions for 'Grease the skids'
If you grease the skids, you facilitate something

Heh. Guilty as charged then. I love facilitating open discussion on future development of the community.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Comment/update on Kingman Crossing...

Last week the community was alerted to a meeting that took place in Phoenix between the landowners/developers of Kingman Crossing and the City of Kingman officials.

I wrote about that here at this link.

I thought at some point last week the media would cover some details of the meetings, but nothing (of course) has appeared.

Out of the blue, I was contacted by the project manager of the Kingman Crossing development last week. We had a brief discussion brought on by the blog post I wrote. I asked the Vestar project manager, Ryan Desmond, if he wouldn't mind putting something in an email and I'd post it here.

Here it is...

Vestar and Vanderbilt remain committed to Kingman Crossing. We continue to believe in the need for additional retail options in the City of Kingman and the region as a whole and feel strongly that Kingman Crossing affords the best opportunity to make that a reality. After a meeting with city officials last week to begin discussions on a possible public/private partnership and funding mechanism for the future freeway interchange, the city’s attorney suggested that in light of some current litigation between another developer and the City of Phoenix that is working its way through the courts, it would be prudent for all parties to wait until the matter is settled before entering into any agreement between Kingman and Vestar and/or Vanderbilt. We understand these concerns and agree with the approach. Despite the unfortunate delay, our enthusiasm for the project remains as strong today as it did when we first began our initial discussions with the city. Once the Phoenix litigation is settled, we look forward to continuing our conversations and moving forward with Kingman Crossing.

Ryan Desmond
Vestar Development Co.

While the KDMiner decided that this meeting wasn't news worth covering, the mayor of Kingman did write up some of the happenings on his blog at the Miner. Here is the link to that blog post.

Monday, February 16, 2009

There is always a deal...

In this linked article about the challenges the federal regulators face in the current economic climate I found a couple of interesting passages to share.

From the article...

DebtX of Boston and First Financial Network of Oklahoma City, for instance, sell loans at auction to investors who typically pay 5 cents to 85 cents for each dollar of outstanding principal, according to Bliss A. Morris, First Financial’s president. It is unloading hundreds of houses across the country at bargain basement prices. In November, Lula Smith, 86, of Kansas City, Mo., bought a two-bedroom house across the street from her home for $4,000, one-tenth of its value two years ago.

“I am real satisfied with that price, yes sir,” she said, adding that after about $1,000 in additional costs to repair the house, and some new carpet, her son and daughter-in-law will move in. “It was a nice little deal, indeed.”

Always a deal.

Last month, the F.D.I.C formed a partnership with a company called Private National Mortgage Acceptance Company, based in Calabasas, Calif., which paid $43 million to take possession of $560 million in loans left from First National Bank of Nevada. Private National, a company set up last year to profit from the bad-debt market, paid the equivalent of 38 cents on the dollar for the 3,800 loans, which were left after another bank took over First National’s branches and deposits.

The company will try to collect payments from borrowers after renegotiating mortgages, or, if necessary, foreclose on loans and sell the property. Private National said it hoped to make an annual profit of more than 20 percent for its investors.

Despite the small upfront price Private National paid, F.D.I.C. officials said they considered it a good deal. The government will receive, at least initially, 80 percent of any money Private National can generate from the loans.

I'm posting this because I'm finally starting to see this kind of stuff in the media after hearing about efforts like these for probably a year now.

Still messy and likely means a loss for taxpayers at the behest of the political class in DC.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Sums it up in many ways...

Click for larger view

A local water issue dust-up in the works...

Came across this link this morning...

A Bullhead City legislator wants to change water laws to allow northwestern Arizona to be able to tap into more Colorado River water.

Current laws permit water pumped from the Colorado River into Mohave County to be used only for industrial applications such as mining, utility plants and golf courses. Those laws date back to the 1920s governing how the states along the Colorado River divide up their water allocations.

Rep. Nancy McLain, R-Bullhead City, has introduced a bill (HB 2142) to allow Colorado River water to be used to meet the growing municipal and consumer needs for the Kingman area.

There was an effort to pass legislation like this last year, I believe.

However, the logic of the wording from this report as the reasoning is a bit tough to follow. Kingman is not on the banks of the Colorado River. So I'm not sure how this proposed bill will work. Plus... the bit about the growing municipal and consumer needs in Kingman is folly at this time since it is clear that our community is losing more people than it is gaining... hence... we aren't growing.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Time for poaching...

California is a mess, in economic and political terms (no offense to Californians though... a beautiful state, it is just run poorly) and many have noticed.

Some, including economic development departments in other areas, are doing something about it.

From this link...

California business is the target of a Valentine’s Day marketing effort from the Metro Denver Economic Development Corp.

The Metro Denver EDC’s “COlovesCA” campaign is focused on California companies identified in research as being in growth mode and ripe for expansion.


“We want to capture the attention of business decision makers in the Golden State,” Janet Fritz, director of marketing for the Metro Denver EDC, said in the statement.

Meanwhile... we have a 'Shop Local!' program here in Kingman.

Waterproof sand...

Stumbled across something this morning that I thought would be interesting to share. Haven't really heard from the water-worry types in a while, but I don't want them to think that I've forgotten about them.

I was reading this post and found an item referred to as 'waterproof sand'.

Waterproof sand – or as German scientist Helmut F. Schulze calls it – hydrophobic sand, a nanotechnology wonder seven years in the making.

By simply laying down a 10-centimetre blanket of DIME Hydrophobic Materials sand beneath typical desert topsoils, the new super sand stops water below the roots level of the plants and maintains a water table, giving greenery a constant water supply. 3000 tons/day is already being produced. 1 ton of silicate coated sand would probably be good for 10 square meters. 4 days of production to cover one square kilometer.


With new hydrophobic sand in place, traditional watering of desert plants five or six times a day can be reduced to one watering, saving 75 per cent more water, a precious resource that is dwindling across the Arab Peninsula.

Arab Peninsula?? I suppose they need to preserve water, sure... but what about Mohave County?? Saving 75% more water always sounds like a good idea.

Plenty more information on this exciting technological advancement at these links below...

Next Big Future: Waterproof Sand Could Green the Deserts

Next Big Future: Hydrophobic Sand Details - Waterproof Nanosand

Of course... this means more golf courses!!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

The government or you??

I hope to see more vid's like this... and I'll post them here if I do.

Updated 2/13/09

Like sands through the hour-glass...

In the seemingly never ending story of the future of Kingman Crossing, new developments have surfaced. While so far there hasn't been anything reported on by the online (and I haven't seen the Standard or heard any radio reports), apparently the landowners and developers at Kingman Crossing are backing away from any discussions on public/private partnerships that may have led to future development at this time.

I did get an email a couple of days ago that gave me the heads up about a meeting between the private parties and the city where the city was informed that for now, talks are off.

Also, there is a mention of the meeting found in the online comments that appear at the bottom of this link to an opinion letter to the editor. The author of the comment seems to be the mayor of Kingman and for the most part I believe it is the mayor that left the comment, but in this world of online comments where anyone can be anyone else they want to be... there is at least a tiny bit of doubt if it actually is the mayor that left the comment.

Here is the comment from that link...

Posted: Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Article comment by: John Salem

The KC Interchange is on hold. A meeting was held in Phoenix with Vanderbilt and Vestar. There is a pending lawsuit between another developer and the City of Phoenix with respect to an off-site improvement and who is responsible for payment. This lawsuit will set precedent. Because of this, Vanderbilt and Vestar are backing out of negotiations for at least 6 months. I feel this is a shame because I have been and will be such a proponent for KC. Mayor.

Again, for the most part I accept that this comment was from the mayor. There will most likely be an article published on the Miner's website about this very newsworthy event and I won't be surprised if the mayor is quoted to say something very similar to the above.

So... is this it?? Is this chapter finally over?? Will there be commercial retail development and a new interchange at Kingman Crossing??

Well, if you are of the opinion that this particular infrastructure project would be a benefit to the community at large there is another alternative (there always is).

At the call to the public of the city council meeting on January 20th, long time local real estate broker David Hollingsworth shared a possible alternative with the members of council. Click on this link to see the presentation he made at that council meeting. You'll find it in the early part of the meeting.

It is unclear to me where this possibility will go. I'm hopeful that the city leaders will give this some serious consideration. A simple exchange of property for cash could lead to two infrastructure projects for the price of practically nothing (you really need to watch the video). Practically nothing meaning no increased taxes or bonds on the backs of community taxpayers if the numbers work out.

Worth looking into?? Certainly.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Impact fee discussion on another blog...

I recently added links to blogs in Arizona that discuss local and state political issues. While most that I included to this point are of the conservative persuasion, there is at least one that leans to the left. My only rule on adding links of this sort is if the link leads to something worth reading with some regularity. I believe that I am open minded enough to consider the views of others in the hopes that it either leads me to something I haven't thought of before or to a better decision on whatever it is the issue might be.

So today I found this blog post that was posted yesterday at a blog called Rum, Romanism and Rebellion. The blogs author is a self titled democratic activist living in Tucson (or near at least). The issue that he takes on is the possible suspension of impact fees in the city of Tucson.

Here is part of the post...

Yeah, some of y’all may not like this, but I am willing to give Rodney Glassman’s idea to suspend impact fees a chance.

Look, I am usually at the head of the line to bash the scrapers and bladers over as SAHBA. However, I think this idea has merit. As long as it stays limited to the city (I see no proposal like this passing the Board of Supervisors anyway) and the law is allowed to sunset. I also like that he is looking for a way to tie this into Shirley Scott’s proposals for affordable housing.

Glassman is selling this as a way to put folks to work. SAHBA claims that there are projects ready to go if they don’t have the expense of the impact fees getting in their way. I don’t entirely buy that the fee is the only thing stopping them from doing new construction. But, if getting rid of it allows them to build and provide a few extra jobs, I’m okay with that, especially with so many folks in the construction trades out of work. If it turns out that larger forces in the market are what is actually keeping them from building, then they wont build anyway, and what do we lose there?

I also think that this may be a way to encourage developers to build in the city rather than more far flung developments in the county far from existing services. Development in the city rather than in the hinterlands has environmental benefits, but would also obviate the economic and social impact of sprawl.

There is more to the post and I hope you will consider clicking on the link to read the rest.

I find this particular post interesting because the author makes it known that he is not normally on the side of the builders (the SAHBA is the same sort of association as our local NABA). However he is willing to consider the proposal made by Tucson City Council member Glassman (a deomocrat) for the reasons stated above.

Those reasons are very similar to what the NABA folks have been saying in our local confines. Our economy depends greatly on the building trade. Our local builders that have been asking for the elimination of impact fees have also stated that the fees are too costly to move forward with projects.

The author is correct in his thinking... basically if the fees are reduced or eliminated and the builders still don't proceed with projects, the community is not out any funding that the fees would provide.

The fees may make sense again when there is stability in the market, but not now. Some of something is better than all of nothing, and the impact fees seem to have led us to all of nothing.

I know that our city council has not put the subject of impact fees to bed, so to speak, and there will be more discussion in the future. If the local builders are right and it is only the fees that stand in the way of more growth (i.e. jobs and other forms of investment coming to this community now rather than later), then why not a chance for the builders to prove it by perhaps just suspending the fees for some period of time??

The Arizona stimulus package...

Some positive news comes from our neighbors in Chandler regarding the large employer Intel. Read this for all the news.

Taken from that article...

Officials in Arizona have been pushing various incentives to lure companies to spend in Arizona. The Arizona Technology Council has backed the R&D tax credit and plans to look for expansion to that credit in the current legislative session.

“The state has done some forward looking policy changes over the last couple of years, and that has sent a positive message to corporations,” said Steve Zylstra, president and CEO of the Tech Council.

Facing a tough upcoming budget year and after already cutting $1.6 billion from the state’s finances for this year, adding new incentives to lure businesses may be a tough sell.

“After seeing what we’ve inherited in the last couple of weeks, this is something that makes us feel very, very positive,” Gov. Jan Brewer said.

Chandler Mayor Boyd Dunn said he believed those policies that allowed Intel to make a total of $7 billion in investments at the campus in the past few years continue to work. The state needs to focus more efforts on bringing large investment to Arizona, he said.

“I guess you could call this the Arizona stimulus package,” Dunn said.

A bit of an incentive and risk will lead to the creation of over 1,000 construction jobs for two plus years... and the job security of thousands that work in the plant. I didn't think that was possible in the current economic environment.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

January Sales Report (2009)

Once again I will be changing some things up in this report to include a side by side table that compares data of traditional sellers vs. bank owned sales. I might even mess with a few other things as the creative sparks are firing this morning (might have to do with the snow storm). All the charts will still be included and the only changes you'll find on them is that I've removed the data from 2005 (it allowed me to adjust the scale of one chart).

Instead of a preview of the data we'll just skip ahead... after the disclaimer of course...

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:

Nothing new to report on this month... either. These lines need to intersect in a bad way. Not sure if that will happen in this new year though. Many are still reporting that there are still loads more of foreclosures set to hit the market in the coming months.

Average listings and sales averages chart:

I look back a few months and I see plenty of larger traditional seller type of housing hitting the market. Units with an asking price well over $300,000... and I think that is skewing the listing average to some degree. The larger homes are not selling at the same rate that the smaller homes and foreclosures are so it may take some time before these lines on the chart get closer.

2005 through 2008 unit sales chart:

You might notice that the 'pink' line representing 2005 is no longer included on this chart. I'm going with the color 'green' for this year. January 2009 outperformed 2007 (by one sale) and 2008. I'll temper the enthusiasm since I know that it is the foreclosure market pulling the numbers but as long as prices continue to get dragged down, more sales activity is likely this year.

2005 through 2008 average price chart:

The average sales price of a single family home in Kingman fell by 35% as compared to this time last year.

2005 through 2008 median price chart:

The median price fell 31% compared to last years median price.

Final sales prices in January ranged from $17,000 to $345,000.

Average SFR statistics:

Data tables for all sales tracked in January 2009

Price Data
ItemJan. '09
Average Price per Unit Sold $125,140
Median Price per Unit Sold $108,500
Average Price per Square Foot $82

House Data
Item Jan. '09
Ave Living Space per Square Foot 1,520
Year Built 1996

Marketing Data
ItemJan. '09
Days on Market to Contract 92
Days on Market to Close 131
Price Reductions on Market $14,892
Negotiated Price Concessions $7,821
Total Price Concessions $22,713
Total Percent Conceded

Bonus Charts:

Foreclosure Impact:

I have been getting email requests to break out the numbers between traditional vs bank owned sales for the last few months. So the table below will be used as the foreclosure impact part of this report for at least until the foreclosure, or bank owned, sales are not having the sort of impact they are on the market. This should offer some interesting data and I may end up tracking this to put in a quarterly or semi-annual report.

Traditional Seller vs. Bank Owned sales comparison for January 2009

Price Data
ItemTraditional Seller
Bank Owned
Total Units Sold in Month
Average Price per Unit Sold $144,971$108,014
Median Price per Unit Sold $115,250$102,000
Average Price per Square Foot $97$70

House Data
Item Traditional SellerBank Owned
Ave Living Space per Square Foot 1,4931,544
Year Built 19941998

Marketing Data
ItemTraditional Seller Bank Owned
Days on Market to Contract 12467
Days on Market to Close 16899
Price Reductions on Market $14,605$15,140
Negotiated Price Concessions $9,123$6,696
Total Price Concessions $23,729$21,836
Total Percent Conceded14%

As you can plainly see banks offered lower prices, slightly larger, newer homes while willing to concede a similar percentage of dollars in negotiations as their traditional counterparts. It took nearly twice as long for traditional sellers to attract a buyer in a contract. Traditional sellers should still expect a premium compared to bank owned properties and this comparison might help shed some light on the competition between traditional sellers have going among themselves.

If you are a buyer and are interested in perhaps buying a bank owned home, there is a bit more pressure being put on by other buyers for this listing. I would recommend aggressive negotiation with the banks as it appears they are still willing to give in to similar concessions.

If you are on the sidelines thinking of listing you do need to make your best guess as to where the prices will be in six months from now to help decide if it is even affordable to attempt to sell. The lower you can make your initial offering price now will likely lead to more interest from buyers, and clearly there are buyers out there... just not all that many.

No conclusions this month. I hope the new tables are helpful. Please comment or email me for anything that might help improve these reports. Have a great month... I'm off to buy a snow shovel!!

I'm kidding about the snow shovel, of course, anyway I'll leave you with our office snowman from yesterday.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Would you sign a waiver??

The meeting for the planning and zoning commission only has two agenda items on it this month. One of them though deals with the ordinance for SMALL WIND ENERGY SYSTEMS, or those rascally wind turbines that make the news every so often.

Here is a link to the news article that appears today for tomorrow nights meeting.

I thought I'd share some of my thoughts heading into this subject matter.

First off, the purpose of the ordinance should be to promote safety as it concerns the citizens of Kingman. I agree 100% with that notion as a commissioner on the panel. Lesser parts of the ordinance should allow for effective and efficient uses of alternative energy systems that do not infringe on safety concerns.

My main concern as a citizen of Kingman though are my property rights. I see an alternative energy system as a potential benefit to my property. I can get into specifics, but it is best to just leave what I just said alone. My views as a property owner are just as subjective as any one else that owns property and should simply be respected.

Yet other folks desire these alternative energy sources be used because they deem them to be friendly to the environment, or as a means to reduce global warming (it is snowing today BTW Mr. Gore), or just to feel good about whatever it is that an alternative energy source can make a person feel good. Others are fed up with utility rate hikes (completely understand) and, like the current president, feel compelled to fix the air temperature in their home to whatever temperature that makes them feel happy and without guilt that they are killing the planet. Perhaps a wind turbine and/or some solar powered system will allow it to happen and they are willing to take some risks to improve their wants/needs.

The last group that has an interest in alternative energy sources is the providers of products that offer such things. Folks that participate in the free enterprise system that helped make this country so great.

Now for this agenda item, the city has included materials in the work book that I have read and reviewed. The materials included information from other municipalities, counties, and states that have drafted ordinances that deal with small wind energy systems. Some interesting ideas and perhaps some possible solutions may come out of the session tomorrow night.

I am going to discuss in this blog post a possible solution for the city to consider. I will do my best to make it simple, but I don't do simple as well I would like.

Let's go to the well debated yet seemingly confusing issue of setbacks. As mentioned earlier, the main impetus of such an ordinance from the city should be public safety. What we are talking about is what if the tower somehow fell over??

It would suck to be hanging out in your living room watching TV one moment and then in the next find a wind turbine crashing down through your roof. I get that, it is a legitimate concern.

Likewise, if you kept your prize pure bred canine outside, you wouldn't want your neighbors wind turbine crashing down on Sparky's dog house while he slept peacefully. Maybe you don't have a critter, maybe you just don't want anything to disturb your garden or clothes line... fine. As a property owner you have certain rights to quiet enjoyment and security that a wind turbine falling over could compromise.

So simply, make the setbacks equal to the measure of height of the tower multiplied by a factor of 1.5 for any other structure on any other property surrounding the applicants property. So if an applicant wanted a 200 foot tower, it would have to be at least 300 feet away from any other dwelling on any other lot surrounding the applicants property. Now the 200 foot tower example is purposely extreme in this example.

And if surrounding property owners don't want a tower to fall on their prize garden, then perhaps make the setback equal to the measure of height of the tower multiplied by a factor of 1.1 or some other agreed to factor.

I know, I know... adopting this ordinance would eliminate a clear majority of property owners from obtaining a small wind energy system that may want one within the tiny confines of the city limits . We must keep in mind though that the city must do all it can in terms of safety. So if a property owner knew that he/she has enough space on the property according to the ordinance, they just go right on about getting the product or service they desire. No favoritism, no exceptions, no conditional use permits.

So you don't have enough land space on your property for the required radius conditions of the ordinance... are you out of luck?? Not necessarily.

As you know, I'm a big proponent of private property rights and it is from this perspective that I draw conclusions for many of my opinions. So I ask this question... if I wanted a small wind energy system for my property (all of 8,800 square feet) but a 45 foot tower would potentially collapse on either my property, my neighbor to the east, or my neighbor to the north east, or on a public street to the east... who can possibly be affected by the potential collapse?? The answer of course is all of the above, but no one else.

Now if I wanted to put the tower up in the north east part of my backyard, the street to the east is taken out of the equation. Follow me for a second. Now I approach my two very nice neighbors and tell them of my plans to install a small wind energy system and if they were to agree that it wouldn't be a problem to them for me to place the tower in the location I specified, why would anyone else care??

I'm talking about a waiver policy of course. Something that the local ordinance does not have at this time. The following is an example of part of a waiver policy...

As part of the Special Use Permit or Zoning Permit approval process, property owners may waive the setback requirements of Occupied Buildings on both the Subject Property and/or Adjacent Properties by signing a waiver that sets forth the applicable setback provisions and proposed changes. The written waiver shall notify applicable property owners of the setback required by this ordinance, describe how the proposed wind turbine and/or wind energy facility to not be setback as required by this ordinance. Any such waiver shall be signed by all affected property owners and be recorded in the Currituck County Registrat of Deeds Office. The waiver shall describe teh properties benefited and/or burdened, and advise aqll subsequent purchasers of any burdeneed property that waiver of setback shall run with the land and may forever burden the subject property.

Adding this sort of waiver puts the decision back into the hands of the property owners instead of only the governing body. If the safety concerns are those of other property owners, it is those folks that should address the concerns. It also takes care of potential future property owners with the recording of the waivers on the property deed. Disclose, disclose, disclose.

My property does not adhere to the current zoning ordinance because it is not a half-acre or larger. As a property owner, I believe, that I should have every opportunity to improve my property as I desire as long as it does not affect the property rights of my neighbors. If my neighbors agree to the setback waivers I should be able to proceed.

Of course there is no guarantee that your neighbor would play nice and allow you the opportunity to put up a small wind energy system on your property because your neighbor may have a different perception of what is safe and what isn't in terms of a tall tower in the backyard. There are a couple of current city council members that have already stated at a public meeting that they wouldn't want their neighbors to have such monstrosities near their property... and that is their right as property owners. No one would force them to sign waivers (if the neighbor applicant didn't have enough land space to adhere to the ordinance).

I think a waiver policy is a must in order for the overall ordinance to work properly.

If the city settles on a policy where if a tower was to collapse only on the applicants property only, then permits should be issued for proper installment of a small wind energy system.

If your property does not adhere to the city ordinance but you have neighboring property owners that are possibly affected by the placement of the small wind energy system but are willing to grant you notarized recorded authorization for installation, you should be able to obtain the permit needed to move forward.

It seems as fair and equitable as possible. Protecting property rights must be a focus in our community.

I look forward to tomorrow's meeting, I might even bring some of this up for discussion purpose. Come on down and join that discussion. See ya there!!

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Weekend reading...

There's been plenty of talk and writing on the causes of the financial mess we seem to be in right now nationally. Because I'm in the housing business I am often intrigued to read and follow up on such articles, blog posts, and other forms of media.

Today I found this article and it is a very telling and complete look at the origins of the problems we face today. It is a long article but one full of facts and figures. I hope you will give it a chance.

Enjoy your weekend.

Here is a snippet...

In 1995, the regulators created new rules that sought to establish objective criteria for determining whether a bank was meeting CRA standards. Examiners no longer had the discretion they once had. For banks, simply proving that they were looking for qualified buyers wasn’t enough. Banks now had to show that they had actually made a requisite number of loans to low- and moderate-income (LMI) borrowers. The new regulations also required the use of “innovative or flexible” lending practices to address credit needs of LMI borrowers and neighborhoods. Thus, a law that was originally intended to encourage banks to use safe and sound practices in lending now required them to be “innovative” and “flexible.” In other words, it called for the relaxation of lending standards, and it was the bank regulators who were expected to enforce these relaxed standards.

Classic rewind...

You know what this country is missing?? Do you know what this country really needs??

Rhetorical questions both, but amazingly we have one of the GSE's making news again by stating they will be loosening rules and standards for homeowners wishing to refinance.

More here...

Fannie Mae will drop some credit-score requirements, reduce income-documentation standards and waive the need for appraisals in some cases, according to a notice yesterday to lenders posted on the Washington-based company’s Web site. The changes apply to loans that the company owns or guarantees.

The loosening of standards, many say, led us all to the housing market we have today. There is another time and place for that never ending argument. I may have some of my own reservations on such practices... but if you are a homeowner with FannieMae or FreddieMac financing and need to lower payments, you will want to read the entire article I linked to above.

Friday, February 06, 2009

'Shop Here!'

The city of Kingman includes a 'news and notes' document along with the monthly water bill. Actually, I'm not sure if the newsletter comes with every water bill or not, I rarely notice it if it does.

This month though for some unknown reason I gave it a glance. I noticed the ongoing promotion of the 'Shop Here!' program that came about heading into the holiday season last year. Now, I'm not a proponent or an opponent of what the city is doing with this. I fulfill my shopping needs locally as best as I can and for the most part I get by just fine. There are occasions though where the shopping experience in Kingman is lacking so I'll head out of the area to spend a few hours in another community that offers more. So in essence the 'Shop Here!' program neither compels me any more or any less based on my wants and/or needs. I suspect that is true for most.

This months newsletter has many program points included on the 'Shop Here!' promotion and there is more than a few blog posts that I could start a discussion on, but for now I'm only going to take on one. I may revisit the newsletter for more later on.

Here is the one I that caught my eye today...

Local retail adds $6M in sales tax revenue to the City budget. If Kingman has a 30% yearly leakage in sales, the City loses $2M in revenue and local businesses lose $200M in sales. That same lost revenue could be allocated to projects like Kingman Crossing and more retail.

I'm sure you can see why this captured my interest.

One could research the actual budget and revenue figures all day if they'd like to present a more accurate view of reality, however I'm just going to use the above program point.

First off the above identifies the problem or concern about sales leakage, the lost $2 million dollars. I can buy the 30% leakage factor in my own case, it is about right. I probably spend 30% of my shopping dollars in other communities. So a problem is identified and a goal is established to close that leakage gap, perhaps to use funds for future projects or simply to maintain city services. The program point speaks directly to adding more retail as a way to close the gap. Using Kingman Crossing though twists the logic to some degree, but the above is merely a sound byte... a talking point... a program point.


Since Kingman Crossing was brought up, lets use that to see if there is a solution to close that gap of $2 million dollars in lost revenue due to leakage.

So what do we know about this Kingman Crossing thingy anyway?? First we do know that landowners and developers have desired to improve the infrastructure along the Interstate by having an interchange built that would allow for easy access to and from the land via the Interstate in order to attract retail and other business interests. We know that in 2005 a proposal was made to the city that had a series of developers paying for the infrastructure needed to accomplish the easy access aspect, but this proposal never made it anywhere.

After the city rejected the proposal made in 2005, the private land on the north side of the Interstate in the area was sold to different party that also had plans to develop a commercial retail area (retail?? you mean a potential for additional sales tax receipts?? Hmmm...). The new (and still current) landowners and developers also wanted easy access to traffic flows on the Interstate but haven't said that they would pay for the infrastructure needed for that easy access stuff.

However, they did make some intimations that they might be willing to enter into a public/private partnership with the city as a possible solution to the infrastructure need, but to my knowledge no details were ever given or debated to the possible solution.

And that folks, is all we know as it stands at the moment. Sure we could delve into other things that muddy up the waters, the politics involved here might make a decent book (or a comedy routine)... but I'll save all that for another time. So let's get back to the issue at hand... the leakage and lost revenues. To do that though, we have to make some assumptions from this point out.

It is no secret, I am intrigued by the concept of public/private partnerships as I think they offer fair solutions to communities all over the world (they are being used all over the world). In this case the current landowners and developers have made a series of these partnerships with communities right here in the state of Arizona. In the last year I have spoken with city officials and residents of communities where such agreements have recently been made. Based on those conversations I feel I can play out a scenario to see if it could combat the issue of leakage and lost revenue.

In my view, a successful public/private partnership means shifting a great deal of risk onto the private side of the agreement. How much risk is determined by the final agreement, but it needs to be at least half the risk (IMO) and certainly could be more. For an example concerning risk, if the citizens of Kingman had to fund an infrastructure project 100% via a bond or a tax increase then the citizens would be on the hook for the entire cost and risk. In this current economy that would be a stupid decision, and one I would not support as it leaves all of us with ALL of the risk.

From here on out I'll refer to the term public/private partnership as a PPP.

Based on other PPP's this is how the concept could work in Kingman.

First, the private party agrees to fully fund the infrastructure project, in this case we are talking about an interchange offering access to and from the Interstate as well as an alternative crossing from one side of Kingman to the other. There have been many different dollar amounts attributed to this infrastructure project in the past, for this example I will use a round about number of $30 million dollars.

While the private party seems to be nice enough to front the cost, they aren't buying everyone a free lunch... they will want that money back. So how might that happen??

Like other PPP's, the private party is willing to take repayment in installments... okay but at this point the risk is still on the citizens of Kingman. So how do we shift the risk??

Well the city simply agrees to make annual payment to the private party out of a portion of the sales tax dollars that are generated at their development. For this we'll just use a 50-50 split of those sales tax receipts. Okay, the risk has started to shift but has it gone far enough?? Probably not.

So now the city and the private party agree that these installment payments, from the sale tax receipts generated at their development, will only happen for a certain period of time. For this we'll use a term of 20 years. So is this enough risk?? Well, lets take a look at the numbers.

The infrastructure project costs $30 million dollars and now the developer has 20 years to recoup that outlay of funds. So if we divide the $30 million dollars by 20 installments, it would mean that they must generate $1.5 million dollars a year in installment payments. I'd say yes, the risk is more on their side now than it would be on the citizen of Kingman.

Let's also not forget one other thing... if the developer is recouping 50% of the tax dollars generated at the development, it means the city is also putting $1.5 million dollars in the treasury every year. Clearly closing the gap caused by leakage. (at this moment, zero dollars are being contributed to the treasury from that property)

Shop local you say??

Clearly this sort of PPP is a performance risk squarely on the developer. No citizen of Kingman is compelled to risk any of his or her dollars towards the project, ever. Surely there won't be a law that forces anyone to actually shop at the development and therefore generate sales tax dollars. If the developer can't appease your shopping tastes (or entertainment and maybe dining pleasures that require exchange of fundage), then you won't be a patron at the development... yet you still could use the Interstate access or even just get from one side of town to the other on the infrastructure they built at no charge.

There are other possible benefits I haven't touched on either. On the south side of the Interstate directly across from this proposed commercial development is 168 acres of land. The interchange would increase the value of that land... cool for the owners of that land. Just who owns that asset anyway?? Oh yeah, the City of Kingman. Just south of city owned parcel sits a section of land owned by the state of Arizona that has yet to be developed. My guess is that land would also end up with a higher value than the value it has currently. The future sale of that land would help fund education in the state.

I realize the above scenario that I've painted is just one persons view, but it was based on information shared with me by online resources and conversations with citizens and elected officials in other communities that have entered PPP's with developers. I also realize that what I shared was a rather simple example.

There will be a gazillion details likely to hammer out to reach an agreement that could offer the basic fundamentals of this sort of PPP. That is what lawyers are for, and elected officials, and without a doubt -- public input.

A PPP similar to the scenario I outlined was even approved by voters in an election, so yes the public must play a vital role.

And yes, there is always the politics to be worked out but I'm only a 'wannabe' politician so I'll leave it to the pro's. There obviously could be other competing solutions that appear that may even offer the community something better while addressing the need to 'Shop Here!'. I'm all ears and not playing favorites. Whoever can get it done without sticking it to the citizens of Kingman is good in my book.

Reading this newsletter that came along with my water bill, the city is telling me they have a concern with me spending money outside the cozy confines of the city limits. That city services could be threatened and maybe even the quality of life offered by Kingman. I don't want that so I'll do the best I can... and while I make some adjustments I hope the city does all it can to find a solution to the problem they face. The leakage is NOT my problem. City revenues based on sales tax receipts is NOT my problem. The fact that I have always seen another person from Kingman when shopping at the Target in Bullhead City is NOT my problem.

I'll loosely paraphrase the following and substitute characters from a favorite movie of mine...

Todd: I told my wife I wouldn't drink tonight. Besides, I got a big day tomorrow. You guys have a great time.

Kingman City Council Member: A big day? Doing what?

Todd: Well, um, actually a pretty nice little Saturday, we're going to go to Lowe's in Bullhead City. Yeah, buy some wallpaper, maybe get some flooring, stuff like that. Unfortunately we didn't like what Home Depot in Kingman had to choose from. Then Maybe Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Sam's Club, and Target, I don't know, I don't know if we'll have enough time.

If I knew that within a couple of years that it could be possible to pull this off above right here in Kingman... I might delay that wallpaper and flooring purchase.

For today though, at least I paid my water bill.

Because all economies have issues...

Tuesday, February 03, 2009


I mentioned the following in a post last week...

As an aside, come Monday there will be one less place open for business to collect sales tax dollars from in Kingman.

I was referencing this. How many more jobs will be lost?? How many more places of business where local tax dollars are collected will we lose??

I know many will criticize the dick-move of the corporate types that dropped the hammer on the employees with no notice, and rightfully so, but this happening is just a small part of the big picture.

The message within the message...

From this article reporting on this mornings stock market activity come this bit from the National Association of Realtors...

Markets got off to a sluggish start but investors waded in tentatively after the National Association of Realtors reported a 6.3% rise in its gauge of pending home sales in December. Lower prices are drawing in buyers, the trade group said. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR, observed that the "biggest gains were in areas with the biggest improvements in affordability."

Now frankly, this isn't about the stock market or any reports offered by the NAR. There are plenty of critics of the NAR, whoever holds the title of chief economist for NAR, and basically anyone that is a member of the NAR, but the quote itself is telling.

Key words that I emphasized above are words that have appeared many times right here on this blog speaking directly to this local market.

And no, I don't point out the above for vindication -- not my style. However, for all the talk of how to 'fix' the real estate markets... the answer has been crystal clear from day of the panic. Let the market work itself out.

By no means does any of this mean that the worst is behind us and that we will avoid catastrophe as there is still plenty of dust to clear. Locally we need to focus on promoting growth that will lead to putting people back to work and improving prospects for business. The sooner that happens, the sooner we will actually see a price bottom. We can't just rely on things that may or may not happen five or more years down the road, unless we simply can all afford to hang on that long.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Liveblogging the council meeting (sorta)

Decided to open a blog post while watching the live link to the city council meeting.

Tuned in a bit late, but in time to see the council pass approval to enter an intergovernmental agreement with ADOT to begin acquisition of right-of-ways in the area of the proposed Rattlesnake Wash traffic interchange.

Council just turned down the Fripps Ranch request to rezone the property on Southern Avenue. This has turned out to be a pretty contentious item. While this issue and debate means very little to me personally since I live on the other side of town and not affected one way or the other, there is something that is bothering me and this issue is just a microcosm of the whole thing.

The concept of private property rights, in Kingman, is basically dead... if you are the property owner. John Locke is turning over in his grave.

The next few items move along with not much fanfare.

Next up the conditional use permit for a personal use wind turbine. Approved unanimously.

Last item up now... the city desires to buy an old building downtown with the intention of using it as a larger council chambers for city meetings. I was reading comments earlier about how this issue was just another one of those 'back room deals'. I figured that we might see watchdog groups come out against such a move, perhaps a couple of citizens coming unglued, for old times sake. Nothing of the sort materialized.

Council approved the purchase of the property listed on the agenda as 429 East Beale. Not a one person spoke up against it as a back room deal.

The second quarter financial report was given... things seem to be in line along the budget.


Enough with the nanny state bull-crap. I know for a fact that accidents happened on the roads and freeways of this state before the invention of the cell phone ever occurred.

Personally, I don't care if you talk on the phone, fix your lipstick, chow down on a cheeseburger, adjust the radio, read a book, or whatever when you are behind the wheel. I just ask that you be responsible for your actions, nothing more -- nothing less. It is the same thing I offer the other motorists on the roads as a bare minimum. Accidents happen for many reasons, sometimes for no reason at all other than the occurrence of an accidental happenstance.

Maybe the government should outlaw accidents, instead of going after silly things like this.

The cell phone ban itself is not what bugs me. I might use my phone for about 1% of the total driving time I'm in my vehicle. If this is passed into law, it won't have a dramatic affect on my life... but I am troubled about the threats to my liberty. Enough is enough.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Helluva game!!

Some thoughts...

I actually think the Cardinals carried the play for most of the game. In my eyes, the better team.

The football bounces in funny ways... a play here... a play there... perhaps a play without a penalty flag (for a change) -- the outcome would have been more fitting.

Congrats to the Steeler's, hats off and a deserving win in one of the best games I've seen with the title on the line.

The big game has been living up to the hype in many of the recent years.

Cardinals fans... savor this even though it was not a win. What a great season, surprising in many ways. They have nice team on both sides of the ball. They will get even better.

The Fitz kid is something else, I hope he keeps it up, a real superstar.

Good luck next year, unless the match is against the Eagles... that is.

January Listings Report (2009)

Welcome to Super Sunday!! Today is the day of the big game of course, but it is also big for MOCO because I've decided to change the format of the listings report. It is my hope that the change will make it easier to follow along with the data. This is something that I've wanted to do for awhile now but I'm not all that great with HTML codes, but maximum effort brings maximum results (at least that is what I kept telling myself yesterday as I tackled the task of cutting down the many and large rose bushes in my backyard).

The data may surprise you a bit, especially in the year over year category. If you can recall, last year at this time was absolutely terrible on the data front in terms of housing in Kingman.

I hope you like the new format, and for whichever team you call yours today in the big game I say good luck and fortune to you. I might even throw in my prediction at the end. But first 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.

Data tables for all new listings tracked in the month of January 2009

As of February 1 Total Listings on Market
Item Total Units
Previous Month
Total Listings On Market
498 514
Total Listings Listed as Foreclosed
68 89

Listing Data for January
Item Month of January Previous Month
New Listings Total
90 86
New Listings Listed as Foreclosed
22 33
Average Asking Price Per Unit
$175,140 $171,308
Median Asking Price
$134,900 $124,550
Average Asking Price Per Square Foot
$105 $103
Units Re-Listed
Units Already Under Contract

New Listing House Data
Item Month of January Previous Month
Living Area Square Footage
1,665 1,660
Bedrooms 3.02 3.12
Bathrooms 2.06 2.1
Year Built

Price Range of New Listings in January
Item Lowest Highest

Here we are comparing data on listings taken in January 2009 and including the data from the previous month for comparison. The average and median asking prices ticked upwards, but there were 12 new listings that carry a price tag north of $300,000 that skewed the pricing figures. No real out of the ordinary changes on listings this month to note other than perhaps the foreclosed listings were 11 short compared to December.

Data tables for all new Units under contract tracked in the month of January 2008

As of February 1 Total Units Under Contract
Item Total Units
Previous Month
Total Units Under Contract
88 71
Total Contracts Listed as Foreclosed
45 33

Units Under Contract Data for January
Item Month of January Previous Month
New Contracts Total
55 46
New Contracts Listed as Foreclosed
31 30
Average Marketing Price Per Unit
$131,448 $125,725
Median Marketing Price
$104,950 $113,900
Average Marketing Price Per Square Foot
$83 $82
Days on Market to Acquire a Contract
Average Marketing Price Reduction

New Units Under Contract House Data
Item Month of January Previous Month
Living Area Square Footage
1,589 1,521
Bedrooms 3.15 3.13
Bathrooms 2.1 2.1
Year Built

Price Range of New Pending Contracts in January
Item Lowest Highest

Again the table above compares the pending contracts taken in January 2009 to the previous month. Here the surprise, to me, was the jump in new contracts. While not a huge jump, the units listed as foreclosed stayed at the same basic level and the traditional sellers made up some ground. Good news for those sellers.

Year over year data listings/pending contracts

unit/dollar amount
Total Listings DOWN140
New Listings in January
Average Price per New Listing
Median List Price

Pending Contracts
ItemUP/DOWNunit/dollar amountPercentage
Total Pending Contracts UP
New Contracts for January
Average Marketing Price per Unit
Median Marketing Price DOWN$44,050

The tables above compare conditions this year vs. the same month last year. Obviously the number that jumps out is the percentage increase of new contracts in January '09 compared to the previous year. As I said earlier, last year at this time was a very dark time for this market. As to what led to the change this year?? I believe the answer is that foreclosed properties have led the way and mostly due to the pressure those listings have put on prices. As homes and property market values decline, more buyers see an affordable opportunity to purchase. It is really no secret. It is the market, and it is working the way it should.


Slowly the total inventory of listings is coming down, but I believe that has more to do with attrition (sellers giving up) than it has with successful sales. The level of new listings hitting the market is down quite a bit from where it once was a couple of years ago, but the pace of sales is off at a greater percentage. However, because prices have crumbled there is at least some established pace of sales. If the listing pace continues the same this year, and the sales pace increases to higher levels there may be good chance that a real bottom of the market appears.


As you know, I don't do a ton of predicting on real estate markets. I share feelings based on what the current data tells me, but in the end my crystal ball is cracked and I deem it unreliable.

But today's prediction is for a football game.

My heart says one thing, but my head says another. The Cards beat my beloved Eagles a couple of weeks ago. Usually I end up hating the team that triumphs over mine, but my heart won't let me this time. So today I do pull for the Cardinals to win and would love to see the local team do well. Besides, I have a really difficult time rooting for the yinzers from western PA to do well in anything sports related.

However, the Cardinals will have to establish the run early and beat the blitz the way they did against the Eagles. The right plays will have to be called each and every time. The Steelers are, in my opinion, the toughest team in the league. A team full of tough guys. I just don't see the Cards establishing the run to set up play action or to make the secondary continually guess. The QB for the Steelers has always impressed me on third down. He finds a way to continue drives, and I see him doing that today.

I see this game as a dreary imposition of will, the Steelers will be the imposer. Final score 34 -13 for the yinzers.

Cardinal fans, please don't hate. One thing that I am aware of is the fact that I am rarely ever correct on sporting event predictions. Sports Books in Vegas were known to stay open longer if I was on the property back in the day, just in case I wanted to donate.