KINGMAN — Mohave County supervisors once again delved into coronavirus management matters during a special Thursday board meeting after breezing through some routine business. The board first approved a canvas of the recent Democratic Party Presidential Preference election without discussion.
The board also approved the purchase of a Cessna model 414A twin-engine aircraft that will be used by the Mohave County Sheriff’s Office. The supervisors said $265,000 in drug forfeiture funds will be used to buy the airplane from Dante Marinelli of Lake Havasu City.
Supervisors approved a hiring freeze for new employees given the cloud of economic uncertainty and possible negative impacts on the county budget. Financial Services Director Coral Loyd was uncomfortable making any predictions.
“I don’t have a definitive crystal ball,” Loyd said.
It was economic uncertainty that also saw the board suspend any new construction project initiatives not currently under contract over the next 30 days. One suspended project will be renovation to provide office space for Sup. Ron Gould in Lake Havasu City.
Also suspended were two Assessor’s Office projects: a remodel in Lake Havasu and furniture acquisition for Bullhead City.
Construction of the Mohave County Courthouse addition will continue, as will three parking lot maintenance projects in Kingman. A repair and renovation project also can proceed at the Mohave County attorney’s office in Bullhead City where there was a sewer service line breach.
Sup. Gary Watson, as he did earlier this week, expressed concern that residents of other states may come to Mohave County to escape more stringent outbreak restrictions imposed in their states. He said that could bring crowds to county parks, open spaces and the Lake Mead National Recreation area.
Manager Mike Hendrix indicated Board Chairman Jean Bishop has authority to effect measures promoting public health and safety. Social distancing and other directives are options.
“I believe you as chairman of the board have authority over certain things because the emergency was declared for Mohave County,” Hendrix said. “If we believe it is in the best interest of our citizens to do certain things, I believe you have authority to do that.”
Outside of the meeting, Sheriff Doug Schuster said he has concerns that visitors may not be following social distancing guidelines from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey. He said he recently received a disturbing report from a lieutenant in Lake Havasu City.
“She indicated that the Lake Havasu channel under the bridge was packed, 5,000 people down there,” Schuster said. “These mass group gatherings that are not being addressed really minimize everything that they’re trying to accomplish with these directives.”