BULLHEAD CITY — Bullhead City Council members made no commitment Tuesday — but expressed interest — in assessing a $5 fee to personal watercraft businesses for each consumer advisory form they hand out to customers.
The rental businesses likely would pass the cost to their customers to help pay for the river safety program operated by the Bullhead City Police Department and Contemporary Services Corporation.
City Manager Toby Cotter pointed out that “nothing of this magnitude doesn’t come without controversy.”
However, Mayor Tom Brady said he was in favor of it because the businesses “are making a lot of money.”
He talked about recently seeing a business charge about $300 for a personal watercraft, though he noted that many charge only about $65.
Mohave and Clark counties haven’t expressed interested in contributing to the safety program, which does such things as require renters to view a water safety video and sign the form before taking rented equipment out on the Colorado River.
Lifeguards from CSC help patrol the river’s busiest areas and, to a lesser extent, work alongside officers on police boats.
Council member Tami Ring said that she hoped rental business owners would “accept this as part of doing business.”
The concept was first introduced during a council workshop in September.
A final council vote about the fee and necessary code changes would occur in February or March.
Council members decided to seek legal services from three law firms known for involvement in opioid litigation that aims to recoup money spent by government and tribal interests from “producers, distributors, and other parties responsible for contributing to the current opioid epidemic and its economic effects on the city.”
The vote was 6-1 in favor of taking action, with Council Member Steve D’Amico opposing.
“This country has gotten too lawsuit happy,” D’Amico said.
He explained that he wanted to see physicians and people who misuse opioids exercise more personal responsibility for the country’s overall current opioid crisis.
“We have a lot to lose doing nothing,” she said.
The city will work with three law firms: Andrews & Thornton, in Newport Beach, California; Robins Kaplan L.L.P., which has an office in Los Angeles along with other locations across the United States; and Fennemore Craig P.C., which has six offices in the West including Arizona locations in Phoenix, Tucson and Nogales and an office in Las Vegas.
The city won’t pay the firms if no money is paid out but the firms will receive a percentage of money if their legal efforts are successful.
In other business:
- Resident Jamie Starr talked about traffic issues around the city that she found concerning, including at the location of a recent accident on Highway 95 near Terrible’s, and other unsafe situations on Sterling Road. Cotter responded by pointing out that Starr’s concerns are beginning to be addressed. For example, plans to redesign the intersection of East Sterling and East Corwin roads are nearly complete.
- The city still is talking to Nevada-based officials about plans for a second bridge while staff is putting together a plan to ensure that Anderson Auto Group Fieldhouse is accessible by the planned Feb. 28 grand opening, which would require some paving as well as grading of surrounding earth.
- Allowing four more years for the developer of Laughlin Ranch to apply for building permits for four parcels: 1495 Riverport Drive and 2651, 2701, and 2571 Laughlin Ranch Boulevard. Plats for the sites were established in 2004 and a zoning map change was made in 2005. The first building permit deadline was established for 2007. Other extensions have been allowed in 2008, 2009 and 2013, according to the staff report. A new fire station has been planned at Laughlin Ranch in the future.