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Bullhead City Places 1% Tax on Ballot for Street Repairs

By   /   April 18, 2014  /   9 Comments

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BULLHEAD CITY — The agenda item referred to placing a “dedicated sales tax proposal” on the August ballot.

The discussion among most of the 15 speakers — and six members of the Bullhead City Council who voted in favor of letting voters decide the fate of a 1-cent increase in the city’s sales tax — was primarily on whether or not to support the tax increase itself.

It was a foregone conclusion that the proposal would wind up on the ballot — why else would the council even have the item on the agenda? — but it is anything but a foregone conclusion on which side the most voters will fall.

City Manager Toby Cotter, repeating a presentation he has made several times, said the need for street repair funding “is just a fact.” And, he contends, the temporary sales tax for seven years to raise $35 million is the best answer to “how will Bullhead City improve and maintain its street infrastructure?”

At Tuesday night’s council meeting, 15 residents spoke during a public hearing, giving a litany of pros and cons for the increase that would push the city sales tax from 2 to 3 percent while raising the overall rate that includes state and county sales taxes from 7.85 to 8.85 percent.

The prevailing sentiment from supporters echoed Cotter’s presentation: Street repairs are necessary and must be paid for somehow. The sales tax is, to many, the fairest way to generate revenue to pay for street repairs.

“I know it’s necessary,” said Ray Shanahan, the last of the 15 community members to take the speaker’s podium during the public hearing. “I hate taxes as much as anybody.”

“We need this,” John Hastings suggested moments earlier. “It’s the only fair way” for local residents.

Vice Mayor Kathy Bruck expanded on that theme a bit later, contending the sales tax increase was the lesser of possible evils after conceding that doing nothing was not an option.

“I don’t want to see a property tax,” she said. “I don’t want to see an improvement district.”

Those were among other options considered to raise money for street repairs before the council formulated a sales tax proposal, but both were rejected because it placed all the burden on residents and not on everyone using city streets. A sales tax, which would apply to purchases made within the city limits regardless of who is making them, would share the burden. City Finance Director Rudy Vera estimated that about 25 percent of Bullhead City sales tax receipts are from out-of-town visitors.

Other options, according to Cotter’s brief presentation, involved the reduction of existing city staff and/or services. He said cutting programs such as the senior nutrition program or the Bullhead Area Transit System wouldn’t put much of a dent in the millions of dollars needed for street repairs. Bullhead City residents currently pay no city property tax; Mohave County and other taxing entities such as school districts and fire districts, do impose property taxes on city residents. Improvement districts are taxing divisions that provide an assessment to residents of a particular neighborhood for improvements made in that neighborhood.

“Nobody likes those options,” Cotter said.

And nobody really “likes” a sales tax increase, either.

“The city is asking us to pass another sales tax,” said resident Candy Mason. “We can’t afford it.”

“This community is really hurting,” said Michael Lipschultz. “Have all the alternatives been explored?”

“I don’t like to see additional taxes,” said resident Jamie Stark. “There’s no more money left. I still think we need to look at this a little more.”

“We’ve looked at all the options,” Council member Sheila Shutts said later, responding to those questions.

Earlier, resident Don Dixon leveled criticism at the council and city staff in general and Public Works Director Pawan Angrawal in particular.

“I don’t think the money’s being spent right,” he said, citing what he called improper or incomplete repairs to several city streets.

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9 Comments

  1. Unlike a disgraced and bullheaded 29 Palms City Council, Bullhead City has looked at all options in terms of public safety and infrastructure. While Bullhead City is trying to fix their problems, a dysfunctional 29 has an obsession with their PP (Project Phoenix) while they ignores public safety and dilapidated streets and infrastructure.

    The modernization and beautification that was done on both sides of the heart and soul of the downtown area is absolutely filthy and is not only an embarrassment but a glaring eyesore in needs of steam cleaned. All the good work done by the then council when Steve Spear was councilman is disgracefully squalid looking.

    Walk the area on the west side of Adobe and 62 and see for yourself.

    This entire city council is a disgrace: Goats, sculptures, fake walls, an archway, artsy signs, more signsl?? Why would anyone want to invest in 29 when these cowboys and a cowgirl on the council don’t give a flying fluke about public safety or a fire department facing bankruptcy.

    Clown Harris and stealth Mintz have have disgraced themselves and the City. Both ought to bow out come the 2014 elections. Neither have the right stuff nor the intellect to to lead a parade of fake goats down Adobe road.

    • Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

      Ben you are full of hatred and venom. Councilwoman Heiser was your golden girl in 2010. Now you say she’s a disgrace. You are so sad.

      • Larry, you brought Ms. Cora into the mix. I didn’t even mention her name.

        If I am hateful for telling the truth about art vs. public safety and that our dirty beautification put in place when Spear was council member, that that is your call.

        Have a nice weekend.

  2. Larry Briggs Larry Briggs says:

    You said “The entire city council is a disgrace.” Cora’s on the council. Therefore you said Cora’s a disgrace.

    • Fair enough Larry. Lets now deal with fact and irrefutable documentary evidence.

      In about 45 days come June, the city’s chief financial officer, Ron Peck, inform informed this council that the city will be flowing in red ink for the first time in history;

      They spend the usual annual $600,000 left over each year has will not be there this year;

      That the city will have more expenses going out than coming in;

      That the city is in crises without a TPFD that can protect 24/7 because the city refused to help fund it;

      That there is a public safety issue;

      That the 26.4 % of property taxes that the county returns to the city for public safety and fire protection has been completely usurped and and frittered away;

      That the TPFD gets no portion of this tax levy;

      That the council uses such money for their slush fund for pet projects;

      That the council cares more about public art than it does public safety;

      That the council’s priorities are not public safety;

      That the council violates the Brown act in closed meetings;

      That the council violated the Brown Act in two closed meetings;

      That the council lied about that;

      That the council put a spin on that;

      That the council floated misinformation and disinformation about that;

      That the council violated california laws regarding their PP (Project Phoenix;

      That they played with PP in backroom deals;

      That the public was shut out of making decisions re PP;

      That the Chamber was working with the city behind closes doors with PP;

      That Dan Mintz told Ms. A. Fleck during comments that: “I do no violate the Brown Act;

      That Mintz did in fact violate the Brown Act;

      That Mintz violated the Brown Act twice;

      There is more… would you like to read more?

  3. Larry, If I want to zero in on Ms. Cora I will do so on my own terms. But I will highlight this fact: Ms. Cora goes along to get along. :-(

    Larry, get your writing accurate. I said the city council is a disgrace. I believe that. I stand by that. I posted why they are a disgrace. But, wait, there is much more. Want me to put more reasons why they have disgraced themselves, the city, taxpayers and the public?

    What is amusing about CT critics, is that they always make some sort of stupid remark but never, ever back it up with examples or fact. Funny huh… Conversely, CT bloggers have produce so many facts that it is impossible to overcome.

    Btw Larry are you going to support Danny or Jimmy should they want four more years? C’mon Larry… whatcha think. Even dapper

    Have a happy, dapper Easter.

  4. Sure Larry. But first there has to be some “Quid pro quo” on your part. You want to play fair don’t you? Three times i responded to your queries. Now It’s time for you to bet into the game.

    Will you support Jimmy and Danny? Yes, no, maybe or take the Fifth. :-)

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