Council candidates outline vision for Bullhead City

July 28, 2020 GMT

BULLHEAD CITY — The Mohave Valley Daily News asked the seven candidates for four seats on the Bullhead City Council three questions ahead of the Aug. 4 election. Here are their responses:

Daniel J. Alfonzo

Daniel J. Alfonzo describes himself as a staunch conservative and is a U.S. Air Force veteran, with a juris doctorate degree in law. He is no longer a practicing lawyer as he has been retired for five years.

During his 46-year career he was house counsel, negotiator, arbitrator and consultant to numerous major corporations and government agencies specializing in government contracting, procurement, claims and appeals, intellectual property, import-export, domestically and internationally. Besides professional training and experience he has been a corporate owner, writer, publisher, author, member and president of many national organizations.

1. As the new composition of the city council begins its work, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the city and why?

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The underlying foundation to a viable city is a strong infrastructure, improving and maintaining basic systems, water, sewage, transportation and technology that benefits all citizens. Along with law enforcement, fire and emergency services, health care, education, water and sewage. Without these basic services we do not have a city that could properly function and serve its constituents.

Ongoing need to promote the city to bring in new small, large and light industry to Bullhead City. The need for this type of growth is vital to our economy and tax base. We need the infusion of revenue to grow our economy. Small business is the backbone of our nation and our town as they play an important role in our success. New businesses mean new jobs along with the need for ongoing education resulting in additional revenue.

Encouraging tourism is another essential priority. Our overall economy is predicated upon money spent in our city by visitors. Even though Bullhead City is somewhat a bedroom community with a worldwide attraction, the Colorado River and local casinos. People from all walks of life come here to enjoy the recreational opportunities we have to offer. We have to continue to offer the best any city could provide in recreation, shopping, dining, safety and medical services for our guests.

2. What one action would you change that the city council has taken during the past year and why?

I would not have waived license fees to Dot Foods in the sum of $173,000. Dot is a multi-million dollar corporation that previously received adequate consideration when establishing themselves in Bullhead City. The money could have been used for various programs in town to help people who need it. This could have been a tax write-off instead of adding to the corporate profits.

3. How do you think local government can best help those citizens at the bottom of the economic ladder?

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By bringing in new business that would hire local talent. Insist upon additional education whether trade schools or mentorship programs. The biggest problem today is the impact of COVID-19 and its resultant damage to local business, which does impact employment. The unemployed face a longer time frame due to the pandemic. Assistance from the federal and state government is always welcomed. I would research ways to expand and seek opportunities and look for help in growing our economy.

Kathy Bruck

Kathy Bruck been a resident of Bullhead City since 1998 and has had family here since 1970. Bruck is the widow of former Council Member Franz Bruck. He died in 2006 and Bruck was elected to the council in 2007. She has been a council member for a total of 12 years. For the past 15 years, Bruck has been the volunteer SHIP counselor in Bullhead City. She also serves on the Mohave County Board of Public Health, Bullhead City Meals On Wheels board, Western Arizona Council of Government advisory councils and is a member of several other community organizations.

1. As the new composition of the city council begins its work, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the city and why?

Police: They are the most important part of the city. We must support them and fund them to keep our city safe. These members are the hardest working people I know and without them, I don’t even want to imagine.

Roads: We need to keep the focus on our roads. We have made great progress in the past few years and we need to keep it up. Our roads are what tells people about us. If we have good roads, people know that we care. If not, it shows we don’t care. And we do care.

Infrastructure: We need to watch and keep a careful eye on the city services that are used by all of our residents. The sewer, water and trash are the most important of these services. The city has done a good job on the sewer. We are currently trying to take over the water service to be able to deliver water to our residents at a reasonable rate. We are also mindful of our trash service. We have been working with Republic and have been able to get a small reduction in our monthly costs. It could have easily been a huge increase, but we were successful and came to an agreement for a small reduction.

2. What one action would you change that the city council has taken during the past year and why?

After reviewing the actions of the city council for the past year, there is nothing I would change. We have had to make some difficult decisions, but they are all made keeping the best interests of our residents in mind.

3. How do you think local government can best help those citizens at the bottom of the economic ladder?

I think the city council should continue to do all we can to keep the costs of city services as low as possible, such as sewer fees and trash fees. We are continuing our progress to obtain EPCOR so that we can deliver the water at reasonable costs. We all know that EPCOR has again requested a rate increase and full consolidation. Those increases will again affect our low-income residents as well as all of our residents in a major way. I know they cannot afford these increases. We will continue this fight for the good of all of our residents.

We should also continue to support those organizations that are feeding our community as well as those that are assisting our residents with home repairs, etc. We are always trying to obtain grants to help our residents in any way possible, but times are tough and financing is at a premium. But that shouldn’t divert us away from doing all we can.

I know what a lot of our residents are up against as I work with a lot of them. I appreciate everyone who is helping and we need you and the rest of our community to help in any way that you can. We are one community and we need to help each other.

Norma Brummett

Norma Brummett is a seasonal employee with H&R Block and throughout the year she volunteers or supports an array of civic groups as well as Bullhead City’s Fire Board, Planning and Zoning Commission, and Franchise License Commission. She attended Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, Washington, and was the owner of a grocery store and two restaurants there. She also served on the Mount Vernon City Council for 16 years and as Skagit County auditor.

1. As the new composition of the city council begins its work, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the city and why?

Public safety: One foundation of successful communities is being a place where citizens live peacefully in their homes, raise and educate their children, work to support their family and live without fear. The new council will be in charge of hiring a police chief to replace retiring Police Chief Brian Williamson, not an easy task because Chief Williamson has been with Bullhead City Police Department most of his career. He has held many positions in the department as he rose through the ranks to become chief. The new police chief should possess the same high level of experience and knowledge.

Infrastructure: Traffic plans, street maintenance and sewer capacity. This is the second piece of the foundation that must be in place to support future growth, economic development and prosperity.

Economic development: Bullhead City must continuously diversify the economic base by participating with local area chambers of commerce along with business expos in Los Angeles and Las Vegas to promote and develop new business opportunities. This is very important to provide citizens more opportunities for employment, to shop local and help the community grow and prosper. I suggest looking for new ways to expand our search for new opportunities to promote economic development such as light manufacturing.

2. What one action would you change that the city council has taken during the past year and why?

The Holiday Inn Express May 19, 2020, decision. Here’s why: In 2012 the original proposal included a water park along with the conference center to be built on city-owned property. In 2017, the city council’s 4-3 vote approved an agreement with Lamont Companies to build the hotel and conference center. The agreement included a 50-year lease with another 50-year option without council approval. A 100-year lease? In lieu of rent, only in-kind services that include use of the pool and limited use of conference rooms. I don’t believe the city should be a partner in any project of this type. What are the city’s responsibilities if the project is not completed? What if it’s not successful because it can’t compete with the casinos? I would support the city selling the land to the developer. At their May 19, 2020, meeting the council decided against auctioning off the city’s land underneath the Holiday Inn project and opted to rewrite the lease agreement that will allow Lamont an option to purchase the land at a future date.

3. How do you think local government can best help those citizens at the bottom of the ladder?

Jobs: We must continually promote our community showcasing our quality of life, low taxes, available workforce, and thriving economy to entice more new businesses. Each business is unique. If necessary, we must offer incentives to enhance their decision to come to Bullhead City. This requires comparing the up-front cost of the incentive to the long-term gain for our community in creating jobs.

Education: Mohave Community College is a very important partner in helping our citizens with educational opportunities for success. Not every student must attend a four-year college. Mohave Community College offers more than 80 different degrees and certificates with a diverse curriculum including general studies, career, technical, and allied health and nursing.

Mark R. Clark

Mark R. Clark is seeking a fourth term for the city council. His first election win was in May of 2009, and was re-elected in 2012 and 2016. He has served twice as vice mayor of Bullhead City, from July 2012 to June 2013 and July 2017 to June 2018.

He also represents the city on the Mohave County Water Authority, is a member of the Arizona Water Banking Authority Commission and is a member of a variety of other interest groups. Clark earned his master’s degree in business administration at Indiana University. He is president of QPC Inc., a water and wastewater resource management and land development consulting company. Clark was the manager of the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District and until recently sat on the Mohave County Airport Authority. He is licensed as a certified cash manager.

1. As the new composition of the city council begins its work, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the city and why? (Clark highlighted four areas of importance)

Even with new people on council, I see the top priorities remaining the same: Public Safety, Streets, Parks and Water. These priorities keep the city safe and help provide a good quality of life for our residents and visitors.

Public Safety is critical to any community.

Streets are a critical infrastructure. We need the streets to be in good condition for commerce and residents’ enjoyment.

Parks provide relaxation for residents as well as a way for locals to exercise. They also provide revenue to the city by having events like soccer tournaments, softball tournaments, etc., from October to May of each year. The players and their guests spend money at Walmart, Sams, Safeway, restaurants, gas stations and hotels. This provides jobs for residents and helps the local community.

Water is the next priority. Without water we would not be here. Central Arizona (Project) is still trying to raid the river for water for their economic development. I have been fighting for our water for 20 years now.

2. What one action would you change that the city council has taken during the past year and why?

I do not have any items that I think should be changed. I voted for the bridge and it passed. I voted for the Dot Foods expansion and it passed. I led the city to oppose the water transfer from Cibola to Central Arizona. I also led the council to oppose the transfer of water from the Mohave Valley Irrigation and Drainage District and Quartzsite to Central Arizona.

3. How do you think local government can best help those citizens at the bottom of the economic ladder?

The city is assisting the homeless shelter by providing some one-time funding to help it get started. We work with many organizations like the food bank and the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Colorado River to assist them in providing services. The city’s best way to help is to continue to bring job opportunities into the community. This would include employers like Dot Foods, Harbor Freight, Ashley Furniture, Landry’s Call Center and others. We need to remain vigilant to opportunities and bring them in.

Eva Corbett

Eva Corbett is a retired California state humane officer as well as retired owner of an insurance, home resale and financial business. She has been a local property owner since 2005 and moved here in 2009. Corbett also is District 2 captain of the Mohave County Republican Central Committee, sits on the city’s Franchise License Commission, is on the Bullhead Area Chamber of Commerce and a co-founder of the H20 Committee as well as the No-Roundabouts on 95 Committee. Corbett graduated from Lamar University with an associate’s degree for becoming a doctor’s assistant. She is a former board member of the Colorado River Republican Women’s Club, has been involved in the Committee to Stop Transfer of Mohave Water to Phoenix, the Heritage Park Task Force Project as well as being a member in the Colorado River Women’s Council, Colorado River Historical Society and Toastmasters International. Corbett has a deep interest in the welfare of animals and is the Friends of Mohave County Sheriff’s K-9 Unit’s fundraising director and a volunteer with We Care for Animals, the city’s animal shelter, and started an off-site pet adoption program.

1. As the new composition of the city council begins its work, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the city and why?

Purchase Bullhead City water districts from EPCOR. Upgrade the BHC water district’s water delivery system. Why? Bullhead City must control our Colorado River water and protect our ratepayers. And Bullhead City would not be under control of the Arizona Corporation Commission.

Complete the connector bridge between Bullhead City and Laughlin. We must have an alternate bridge. Why? Safety. Both the Laughlin Bridge and Avi (Veteran’s) Bridge are old and will fail or need to be closed for repairs.

Upgrade the Bullhead City Animal Shelter — This building is one of the oldest in the city and it stinks. The shelter codes need to be changed so that the decision to euthanize an animal is made only as the last resort. Why? Our community deserves an animal shelter we can be proud of. A safe, clean home for lost and homeless animals to be cared for while they are waiting to be adopted. $700,000 has been budgeted this year 2020-2021 for the Bullhead City Animal Shelter.

2. What one action would you change that the city council has taken during the past year and why?

Closing the parks and beaches. Why? Bullhead City is a vacation destination. That is the reason most of us live here. We love our beautiful Colorado River, it is the lifeline of our community.

3. How do you think local government can best help those citizens at the bottom of the economic ladder?

Identify those in need and give them “a hand up” not “a handout.” Every person deserves respect. Assign a task the person can do in the community. Then the person feels that they have contributed to their community and this will improve the person’s self-esteem. It’s called empowerment. And then that person will pass that experience on to their family and friends.

Gerald Ross

Gerald Ross is running for a seat on the council to represent you, he explained: The whole idea of democracy is that you vote for the person that you believe will vote the way you would — if you were there and have to make the choice. You know the streets are not being paved correctly. You know where the floods happen when it does rain. You know something must be done about the traffic on Highway 95. You know there is a vast difference between the way people on one side of Highway 95 live compared to the other. You know the city must get new major employers and encourage the young people here to create businesses of their own. Bullhead has crossed the tipping point of being a small town in the desert, to a growing city. We must prepare today so that our city thrives tomorrow.

1. As the new composition of the city council begins its work, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the city and why?

Keep the city’s debt under control.

Find a new way of properly paving the roads.

Get the city prepared for tomorrow, because no one knows what will happen and we must be ready.

2. What one action would you change that the city council has taken during the past year and why?

Bullhead is a good city. But everyone can think of one thing they want different. I have been to most every council meeting and there were a few things I would have voted differently on. But none of those issues would be considered major.

3. How do you think local government can best help those citizens at the bottom of the economic ladder?

New employment that brings respect to the people doing the job. Treat others the way you want to be treated. Change comes from within. When someone who has been down, but is ready and wants to improve their life, they will find there is already an entire city ready to help. Bullhead is full of good people that do not kick when someone is down. I have seen so many people here who “pay it forward” and that improves life for all of us.

Waheed Zehri

Waheed Zehri describes himself as an independent conservative. He has been a Bullhead City resident since 1995. An internal medicine physician for the past 24 years, he said that he has gained a deep understanding about the concerns people in the community face and wants to make improvements in the city based on real issues that trouble citizens most. He founded Tri-State Youth Internship & Leadership to provide internship opportunities for the local youth and to cultivate youth development and educational experiences. He also founded the Mohave Health Coalition, a healthcare committee to ensure collaboration among local healthcare organizations.

1. As the new composition of the city council begins its work, what do you think are the three highest priorities for the city and why?

Economic growth: The COVID pandemic has not only affected our health and our lives but also our economy, especially small businesses in rural areas like Bullhead City. As a city, we need to rebuild our local community and that starts with supporting and stimulating the regrowth of our small businesses, as they are the backbone of our community.

Homeless reformation: Unfortunately, we have a large homeless population in Bullhead City, and this number has been projected to increase due to the mass unemployment rate from the current pandemic. Fortunately, a new homeless shelter spearheaded by the local Catholic Charities, the Guardian Foundation and The Rivyve Rehabilitation Center is projected to be open soon, and as a city, we need to collaborate with these organizations. This will help to facilitate the prosperity of our homeless brothers and sisters and help them find a place they can call home. From streets to shelter, shelter to rehabilitation, and rehabilitation to a stable job. I have also collaborated with local organizations to help promote the livelihood of our homeless population.

Grant writer: Our city relies on a limited source of income, and consequently the city is constrained by its available funds. To mitigate this, having a designated position responsible for acquiring grants to bring additional revenue into our city will not only help to expand our current establishments but also to create new opportunities for further growth.

2. What one action would you change that the city council has taken during the past year and why?

Living in the current pandemic, maintaining the safety of our community should be our highest priority. Bullhead City is greatly increasing in the number of COVID positive cases and COVID-related deaths, which is leading to further closure of our businesses. I think one of the reasons for the recent rise in COVID cases is related to the delayed closure of our beaches and parks.

3. How do you think local government can help best those citizens at the bottom of the economic ladder?

We can best help them by creating jobs by streamlining business permits and reducing licensing fees. We can also make deals with new businesses to help support their growth. Through expansion of existing businesses and establishment of new businesses, this will help with economic development.

In addition, we can also help those citizens by creating affordable housing. We can partner with developers to waive permit costs or by making city-owned land available for housing.