City manager warns of further increases in water rates

April 3, 2019

BULLHEAD CITY — City Manager Toby Cotter said Tuesday that EPCOR Water Arizona, Inc., customers should prepare for another possible rate increase next year.

This is because the Arizona Corporation Commission told the water company last month it has until May of 2020 to file for permanent rate changes when the ACC allowed local rates to increase from 27 to 34 percent in an interim rate case, Cotter said during Tuesday’s Bullhead City Council meeting.

Cotter said the city’s goal is purchase of EPCOR’s local assets to provide the water service to ensure future rate stability long-term.

Or, if needed, he said, “we also have the right to condemn those assets.”

He again said that a consultant will determine the value of EPCOR’s local assets. This will help city officials decide how to proceed.

Two EPCOR Water Arizona districts containing residents of Bullhead City provide more than 18,000 customer connections. Two others serve other Mohave County residents. The rest of EPCOR’s 11 Arizona districts are in the Phoenix area.

Contents of the council’s executive session about EPCOR weren’t discussed during the regular meeting.

Cotter also reminded residents that the first of two recycling education forums will be today at noon in the City Council Chamber, 1255 Marina Blvd.

He emphasized that no specific change in the recycling program has been decided on at this point.

Areas of discussion include the changes in the recycling industry that have increased costs and Republic Service’s proposed recycling plan for Bullhead City.

“I understand there will be pizza (today) because it’s at lunch,” Cotter said.

The other forum on Thursday, April 11, will be at 5:30 p.m., also in the City Council Chamber.

People who come to that meeting “will be on their own” for dinner plans, Cotter added.

In other business, council members:

Approved updates to the general plan for the Colorado River Historical Society Museum. Mayor Tom Brady asked whether the museum could afford to erect a fence like that around the Moss Mine head frame, which has several layers of brick below metal fencing. Dave Heath, the parks and recreation superintendent, replied that the society has raised money for the new fence. It is seeking help from the city for the addition of sidewalks, however. The society wants to do such things as bring some outdoor exhibits from its old location near Davis Camp.Approved acceptance of public utility easements to reach sewer lines in Marina Plaza so sanitary sewer lines can be connected for properties on Georgia Lane. The shopping center, anchored by Safeway, is in the 1700 block of Highway 95.Declared Saturday, April 13 as “BATS Free Ride Day,” and the month of April as both “Fair Housing Month” and “Autism Awareness Month.”Explained that social media reports about Bullhead Parkway are false and probably were an April Fools Day prank. Someone wrote on Facebook that the city was going to turn the parkway into a toll road. Council member Steve D’Amico said it also wasn’t true that he wanted to increase the parkway speed limit to 75 mph.