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.