BULLHEAD CITY — City Council members will consider placement of advisory signs that would warn people against providing support to panhandlers when they meet on Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., in the City Council Chamber at 1255 Marina Blvd.

Council member Tami Ring has been working with City Manager Toby Cotter on the idea, which is being presented at this point without a specific number of signs to be posted.

Several phrases to print on such signs are being suggested. 

One idea: “It’s OK to say no to panhandlers. Give instead to agencies that help those in need.”  

Another phrase is punchier: “Keep the change. Don’t support panhandling.” 

Ring said on Sunday that homeless men and women asking for money or food would fare better getting help from organizations that focus on assisting people to get off the streets. 

“We need to help them, but not with a handout,” Ring said. “They need a hand up.”

Local signs would be placed in city rights-of-way and, perhaps, on private land near sites frequented by panhandlers. 

Passive panhandling has been ruled by state and federal courts to be a protected form of free speech. The city cannot prohibit panhandling on city sidewalks unless there are safety concerns or trespassing on private property, Cotter wrote in the staff report to council members.

There also are news articles in the staff report describing how other cities have approached similar panhandling issues.

Communities can’t prohibit what is referred to “passive panhandling.” The Center for Problem-Oriented Policing, located at Arizona State University, described that type of panhandling as “soliciting without threat or menace, often without any words exchanged at all — just a cup or a hand held out.”

Aggressive panhandling is soliciting coercively, with actual or implied threats, or menacing actions, also according to POP.

“If a panhandler uses physical force or extremely aggressive actions, the panhandling may constitute robbery,” POP explained.

There’s no mention in the report of specific sites for erecting these types of signs or suggestions about how many of these signs should go up.  

A solution for stinky sewer

City Council members will consider approving the purchase of an odor control system to assist in eliminating sewer odors near the intersection of Lakeside Drive and Riviera Boulevard.

The EG-8.2T Dual Stage Biotrickling Odor Control System for that location from EcoVerde of Tempe would cost $88,4000 — excluding freight and taxes.  EcoVerde is a sole source provider of such equipment.

It would be placed on land at the southeast corner of the intersection. The land is currently leased to the Bullhead City Elementary School District. Council members will be considering a separate motion to enter into a lease for a 30 feet by 30 feet section of U.S. Bureau of Land Management land being leased by the BCESD, so as to install the odor control system.

In other business, the council is scheduled to complete these additional tasks:

  • Hear a report from Cotter with updates about EPCOR, the 2020 Census and city construction projects as well as acknowledge donations of restroom facilities at Gary Keith Park. 
  • Accept Biennial Water Resource Fee Audits for 2014-16 and 2016-18 fiscal years.
  • Appoint two people to serve on the Franchise License Commission and one person to serve on the Planning and Zoning Commission. 
  • An executive session also is scheduled before the meeting. Topics will include obtaining legal advice or consultation about acquiring EPCOR Arizona’s local assets; leases and hotel development near 1300 Silver Creek Road, and two home leases with Catholic Charities.

No action can be taken during the executive session.

(7) comments

paleface

Council might also consider passing a law prohibiting camping within the city limits. I believe St. Joseph, MO. has done so in an effort to keep homeless from creating problems.

The Lady

Good to hear. Maybe one day I can take my little ones to Bullhead City park off highway 95. That is first-class homeless camp.

Vincent L. Guarisco

I would hope we don't lose sight that many folks out there are struggling. That a hand up is better, but a hand out is quicker on an empty stomach. All we really have in this world is each other. Let's not be too hard on those less fortunate. :)

bellman98

What's the City Council have against panhandlers? Embarrassed there are poor people in Bullhead City? Don't like seeing them? Out of sight, out of mind, right? After all "they" don't vote anyways.

wallco1

Don't feed the wildlife, Including people.

deweytom

I simply say "I don't do panhandling" It is quick and to the point. It has worked for me so far.

The Lady

In times like these, people should look out for one another, but not in this sence of going around the city asking general folks for money and especially not to go around from house to house asking for money. These are peoples homes not pandhandling way.

I am glad the City Council is doing something about this.

I come from Los Angeles -just look at all the panhandling going around in CA in general. It makes it easier for lazy people to make a living that way and to purchase their drugs. Skid row is full of people with mental health problems and they do drugs all day because its been made so easy for them to earn a buck. Take a Drive down skid row, which was once the beautiful flower district -now its just scary. Not until you have experience first hand what it is to live uncomfortably, I say no to pandhandling.

Do not bring that over to this beautiful city of Bullhead.

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