Poll Workers Needed for General Election

Lake Havasu City, AZ – The Mohave County Elections Department is seeking poll workers for the November 8th General Election. According to Supervisor Buster Johnson, signing up as a poll worker is a great opportunity for folks who are interested in learning how the Election process works. “The Election process is the backbone of American society,” Johnson stated. “Part of what makes America great is the people’s right to choose their leaders and the people’s right to be involved in the process,” Johnson continued. For the 2016 Election, the Mohave County Election’s Department has consolidated all the Precincts in Mohave County to just 24. For Lake Havasu City voters, there will be six options on Election Day and 1 polling place for those in the Desert Hills area. According to Supervisor Johnson, there are 4 locations for Lake Havasu South and 2 for Lake Havasu North. “Due to the consolidation of the precincts, the Elections Department is seeking 12 to 14 poll workers per polling site to ensure a fast and smooth process for voters,” Johnson stated. Each polling location is made up of an even split between Republicans, Democrats and individuals from another party affiliation such as a Libertarian or a Green Party Members. For those interested, the job is an all-day affair usually lasting from roughly 5:30 a.m. until possibly 9:00 p.m. Poll workers are compensated for their time and will receive $105. Those hired as Inspectors will get $120. In order to receive compensation, poll workers are required to attend a local training session prior to the election as well as participate in election set up the day prior. Anyone who is interested in becoming a poll worker should call the Mohave County Elections Office at (928) 753-0733, option 2, and ask for Nancy Krahulec.  

National Association Names Johnson Vice Chair of Cyber Committee & Adopts Johnson’s Public Lands Sponsored Resolutions

Long Beach, CA. – The National Association of Counties (NACo) held their Annual Conference this month in Long Beach, California.  During the conference, NACo members adopted a new American County Platform, passed resolutions, and announced their 2016/2017 Leadership and Steering Committee Appointments.  Supervisor Buster Johnson was named as one of the Vice-Chairs of NACO’s Information Technology Standing Committee, and also had two resolutions adopted as part of NACo’s national American County Platform along with one resolution on Uranium Mining being accepted.  According to NACo, their County Platform is their permanent policy documents whereas resolutions must be written and adopted every year. NACo’s IT Standing Committee, originally called NACo’s Cyber Security Task Force, was launched in 2012 as a public/private partnership to protect county government networks and residents from online computer crime.  “With today’s advancing technology, it is important that county officials understand the importance of cyber security,” Supervisor Johnson stated.  “Counties are a crucial resource when it comes to public information and information sharing which makes it so important for counties to ensure the taxpayer’s information is secure and safe,” Johnson continued. Supervisor Johnson is also a member of NACo’s Public Lands Steering Committee and sponsored two resolutions dealing with Public Lands.  The first resolution he sponsored was in support of the Historic Routes Preservation Act, which is a bipartisan bill that would provide an administrative means for the federal government to confirm rights-of-way on public lands administered by the Departments of Interior and Agriculture. NACo’s National County Platform has always taken a stance on supporting the maintenance and enhancement of public access to public lands.  Instead of adopting the resolution, NACo included the language for the resolution in their overall County Platform.  “This is a major accomplishment,” Johnson stated.  “Not all resolutions end up apart of the overall County platform.  By adding into the platform, it shows that the overall voice of counties throughout the nation support preserving our historical right of ways,” Johnson continued. Another resolutions sponsored by Supervisor Johnson, which passed unanimously during the Conference, was in support of uranium activities.  In 2012, the Secretary of Interior, withdrew one million acres of the nation’s highest grade uranium ores from mineral entry in Northern Arizona.  According to a report by the American Clean Energy Resource Trust, this was a $29 billion hit to local economies in Mohave County and in Southern Utah.  “This ban took away much needed jobs from our area.  Uranium mining would have brought in nearly 1,078 new jobs to the Arizona strip area with a $40 million annual payroll,” Johnson explained. Included in the NACo platform was also language requiring full coordination with locally affected interests when it came to national monument designations and full funding for the Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILT) program.  “Without full funding for PILT, Arizona counties will be forced to shift federal responsibilities to local tax payers or drastically cut essential services such as education, law enforcement, and road maintenance,” Johnson stated.  During FY15, Mohave County received roughly … Continue Reading →

Press Release: Unisource Drops Demand Charge Proposal for Non-Solar Customers

Lake Havasu City, AZ – In Lake Havasu City this past month, hundreds of individuals spoke out against Unisource’s Rate Proposal Case that would have implement demand charges on all residential electric bills. A proposal Supervisor Buster Johnson said could have raised residential bills by more than $30 a month. In response to the overwhelming opposition, Unisource has released a statement that they will not continue to pursue demand charges on non-solar customers. “I want to thank everyone who came out against this proposal. It is obvious that they have heard the voices of Mohave County residents,” Supervisor Buster Johnson stated. “While Unisource is dropping demand charges for all customers, they are still intending on asking the Corporation Commission for an increase in the base charge fee and to implement demand charges on new solar customers,” Johnson continued. Unisource Energy serves about 90,000 customers in Mohave and Santa Cruz County. In their proposal, they are asking the Arizona Corporation Commission to allow them to raise the customer base charge from the current $10 a month fee to $20. “This ten dollar increase would equal $900,000 more a month for this utility company,” Johnson stated. “We cannot be just satisfied with them dropping the demand charges. This increase is still left in their proposal and is still not justified or warranted. I still encourage people to file opposition against their proposal, and let them know that Mohave County residents do not want any type of unjustified increase,” Johnson continued. While non-solar customers won’t see demand charges implemented, new solar customers will see demand charges if Unisource’s proposal is approved. New solar customers would also see a change in net metering. Currently, UniSource solar customers get paid the full retail rate for excess power their solar panels send back to the grid. The proposal would drop the rate by about half, down to the rate the utility pays to purchase power from large-scale solar arrays. Mohave County’s overwhelming “no” on Unisource’s proposal was also heard by the Arizona Corporation Commission. Both Commissioners Doug Little and Bob Burns wrote letters earlier this month asking the parties involved to provide other options aside from demand charges. “Lake Havasu City is a retirement community for thousands of senior citizens and a second home to several winter visitors from across the U.S. This extra high charge will be almost impossible for residential ratepayers to control,” Supervisor Johnson said to the Commission during testimony earlier this month. Unisource’s revised proposal will still need final approval from the Corporation Commission. A decision is expected this coming June.

ADWR Approves County Request to Make Northwest Basin Planning Area a Top Priority

Lake Havasu City, AZ – Supervisor Buster Johnson would like to inform the public of a recent letter sent to the Mohave County Board of Supervisors by the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) approving the County’s request to have the Northwest Basin Planning Area listed as a top priority under the State’s current water initiative. “Mohave County has some of the largest groundwater aquifers in the State, and ensuring that the Northwest Basin is a top priority in Arizona’s Strategic Vision for Water Supply is crucial for future sustainability,” Supervisor Johnson stated. Governor Doug Ducey’s Water Initiative for the State involved ADWR identifying and prioritizing 22 planning areas across the State. The Mohave County Board of Supervisors sent a letter to Director Thomas Buschatzke in February asking for the Northwest Basin Planning Area to receive immediate action by the State. ADWR’s reply to the County stated that after review they have determined that the Northwest Basin Planning Area will be included in the first year of work under the Initiative. According to the letter, ADWR staff will begin working on development of a stakeholder list and have the first stakeholder meeting to initiate the Planning Area process this summer. “These meetings will help everyone involved to find ways to refine water supply and demand components and identify strategies to meet future water demands,” Johnson stated. Arizona’s Strategic Vision for Water Supply Sustainability provides a comprehensive water supply and demand analysis for Arizona. Recent studies have identified the potential for a long-term imbalance between available water supplies and projected water demands over the next 100 years if no action is taken. The Strategic Vision creates the framework for the development of potential strategies to address the projected imbalances. It provides context for maximizing the effectiveness of these strategies to address the needs of multiple water users across the State. For more information on the Water Initiative please visit: http://www.azwater.gov/AzDWR/Arizona_Water_Initiative/index.htm

Treasurer’s Office Must Find Solutions for Closure of Satellite Offices

Lake Havasu City, AZ – Supervisor Buster Johnson would like to make the public aware that the Treasurer’s Office has decided not to open the two satellite offices in Lake Havasu and Bullhead City as previously planned for collection of tax payments.  Mohave County Attorney Bill Ekstrom advised Treasurer Cindy Cox that not accepting cash payments at the satellite offices was a violation of 1 U.S. Code § 5103 that states that United States coins and currency are legal tender for all debts, public charges, taxes, and dues.  “Cash payments have been accepted in the past with only one staff personnel at each location,” Supervisor Johnson said.  According to Treasurer Cox, an additional $200,000 of needed security and personnel would be needed at each satellite office before cash payments could be allowed.  “While different options were laid out for ways residents could still pay their tax payment in person without having to drive to Kingman or mail it in, the Treasurer still decided to shut down both locations for the time being,” Johnson continued. According to Johnson, there are solutions out there that should be looked in to.  “We are here to serve the people, and if they want to pay their property tax bill in person they should be allowed to,” Johnson stated.  “An example of a no cost solution for county taxpayers is to mirror what Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office has done for over 10 years and that is partner with a bank branch,” Johnson suggested.  “Maricopa County partners with Chase Bank to allow constituents who want to pay with a check the option of going to any Chase branch in the state with a check and their tax payment coupon.  With Chase’s system, the bank is able to directly import the tax payer’s data and payment information to the Maricopa County Treasurer’s Office electronically with very little paperwork and no risk of information getting lost in the mail,” Johnson explained.  “They have partnered with Chase specifically for the past five years with no cost to county taxpayers.  This is just one example of a solution for local residents.  We need to be looking for solutions not just closing the doors,” Johnson continued. Johnson suggested a low cost solution the Treasurer could consider is to partner with another county department already located in Lake Havasu and Bullhead.  “The Treasurer could agree to pay half of an employee’s salary and benefits from that department, and along with that employee’s everyday duties, they could also be available to constituents year round who want to pay their taxes in person,” Johnson said.  Supervisor Johnson stated that prior to 2014 his office collected payments year round from residents who wanted to pay with cash or money order.  “I have never heard of an issue arising regarding security and the collection of tax payments at the satellite offices,” Johnson said.  “My office gladly accepted the payments until we were told we were no longer allowed to,” Johnson continued. Johnson also stated that a … Continue Reading →

La Paz County and the Arizona Association of Counties Files Amicus Brief In Support of Mohave County’s Fight for Planet Ranch Water Rights

Lake Havasu City, AZ –La Paz County along with the Arizona Association of Counties (AACo) have filed a joint amicus brief with the Arizona Supreme Court in support of Mohave County’s standing in the Planet Ranch water rights case.  AACo represents Arizona’s 15 counties across the state and over 331 elected officials.  “I want to sincerely thank AACo and La Paz County in supporting our standing on this issue.  Their support shows the importance of Arizona counties being allowed to stand up and participate in matters important to their jurisdiction,” Supervisor Buster Johnson stated.   In AACo and La Paz County’s joint amicus brief, they explained the importance of Arizona counties being allowed to participate in matters pertaining to the use, consumption, conservation and transfer of water resources within their jurisdiction.  One of Mohave County’s argument against the sever and transfer of water rights at Planet Ranch was that they were not involved in settlement agreements nor notified in a timely matter.  “Mohave County’s concerns were never heard and we were completely left out of negotiations when it came to the drafting of the Bill Williams River Water Settlement Act,” Johnson stated.  “This amicus brief shows support of our standing from an outside organization that does not have a direct relation to this case.  By AACo filing this brief, it gives Mohave County a stronger voice,” Johnson continued.   Maricopa Superior Court Judge, Crane McClennen, ruled back in June that Mohave County has the right to object to Freeport McMoRan’s proposed water rights transfers within its jurisdiction on behalf of its constituents.  According to Johnson, the water rights transfer would take about 10,000 acre feet of water away from Mohave County citizens.  “This large amount of water amounts to roughly 3.26 billion gallons which is enough to provide water to well over 20,000 homes,” Johnson said.  Freeport filed an appeal in regards to Judge McClennen’s ruling to the Arizona Supreme Court who agreed to hear the case in the beginning of this month.   The Supreme Court will now decide if they will accept the amicus brief into the final record.    

Johnson’s Comments on the Passage of the Bill Williams River Water Settlement Act of 2014

Lake Havasu City, AZ – Mohave County Supervisor Buster Johnson is deeply disappointed with the actions of Congress and the Arizona delegation for their approval of the Bill Williams River Water Settlement Act of 2014, HR 4924 and S 2503, which are supposed to design a fair and equitable settlement of numerous claims within the Bill Williams River Watershed.  Among the parties involved are the Hualapai Tribe, U.S. Dept. of Interior (acting for themselves and the Tribe), Arizona Game and Fish, and Freeport McMoRan Minerals Corporation. “This is an extremely complicated issue in which HR 4924 attempts to conjoin two separate settlement agreements in an attempt to satisfy various interests in the Big Sandy River/Planet Ranch Water Rights settlement agreement and the Hualapai Tribe/Bill Williams River Water Rights settlement agreement,” Johnson said Friday. “It is unfortunate that our Congressional delegation, including the sponsors Senator Jeff Flake and   Congressman Paul Gosar, who represent Mohave County in Congress, ignored local concerns in favor of single constituent legislation which will benefit a special interest group.”  Gosar has hailed the passage of HR 4924 as a trigger for good paying jobs and additional tax revenue associated with continued use of the Bagdad Mine.  Gosar also claimed that his legislation was scored by the Congressional Budget Office as revenue neutral for the federal government. “It’s absolutely mindboggling that Congressman Gosar did not heed the concerns of Mohave County Assessor Ron Nicholson,” Johnson said.  “He provided a complete background report on this proposed settlement demonstrating significant negative impacts on our tax resource base in Mohave County.  It’s also a shame that Congressman Gosar ignored the public stance of the coalition of Mohave County Chambers of Commerce as well as the documented history of Mohave County government in opposing this rip-off of Mohave County resources.  The water and lands are in Mohave and La Paz Counties but neither was asked or allowed to participate in their own futures,” Johnson explained. “The Mohave County Board of Supervisors has communicated their deep concerns on previous occasions to Congressman Gosar but it appears he is unwilling to consider the concerns of Mohave County, and instead favors the corporate interests of Freeport McMoRan and the Bagdad Mine,” Johnson continued.  “At a time when Congress cannot pass let alone balance a budget, fix immigration or address healthcare, our delegation finds time to contact every member of congress for their support on stripping Mohave County of its natural resources.   These same Congressmen who lamented ‘Generational Theft’ have stripped Mohave County’s ability for economic growth.  It is a sad day in our state when our elected federal officials choose to favor special interest groups over the well-being of those taxpayers living in the area.  We did not send them to D.C. to be puppets for the mining company Freeport McMoRan or any other special interest group,” Johnson stated. Johnson closed by noting, “It has always been a hallmark of Republican orthodoxy that deference should be paid to priorities established by the level of government … Continue Reading →

Mohave County Prepared for Ebola Outbreak

Lake Havasu City, AZ – Supervisor Buster Johnson attended several meetings this past week with healthcare providers, emergency management personal and local law enforcement from around the county to discuss what an Ebola outbreak would look like should one arise in Mohave County.  “Although every city has a plan in place for a disaster, if an outbreak of Ebola were to occur the statutory responsibility would automatically be transferred to our Mohave County Health Department Director Patty Mead,” Supervisor Johnson stated.  “The County’s Health Department and Emergency Management Division have practiced many times for a pandemic, but an Ebola outbreak would involve many key players from around the county,” Johnson continued. According to Johnson, the meetings put together by the County’s Health Department involved first responders, hospital staff, doctors and the county’s Emergency Management Division.  “These meetings brought everyone together to update them on the latest information from the Center for Disease Control and the Texas incident and also to review our plan,” Johnson stated.  “With a virus like Ebola, health officials have to worry about more than just treatment of the patient.  They also have to protect the general public along with putting protocols in place to ensure the safety of our first responders so they can continue to provide service to the community,” Johnson explained. The Mohave County Health Department has plans in place for the quarantine along with plans to ensure the security and personal needs of the quarantined individuals.  “These individuals have to be secured inside away from human contact.  If they need food or household supplies, it is going to be our responsibility to provide them,” Johnson explained.  According to Johnson, the Health Department is prepared to provide guidance to healthcare partners regarding laboratory testing and case management, to provide specialized clean-up crews and to interview and watch all individuals the infected patient may have come into contact. According to the Arizona Department of Public Safety, no known cases of Ebola have been suspected or confirmed in Arizona or Mohave County.  “Ebola is a very serious virus with no known cure,” Johnson stated.  “Informing the public about this deadly virus is just as important as stopping it.  Our health department will immediately inform the public and provide as much information as possible along with continual updates should a case occur in Mohave County,” Johnson ended. Ebola is transmitted through direct contact with people who have Ebola, or through contact with their body fluids.  Symptoms of Ebola typically include: weakness, fever, aches, diarrhea, vomiting and stomach pain. Typically, symptoms appear 8-10 days after exposure to the virus, but the incubation period can span two to 21 days. For more information on Ebola, please visit: http://www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/ To receive future updates and information regarding Mohave County, please sign up for our monthly newsletter or press release list at www.busterjohnson.com

Board of Supervisors Lease Office Space to Local DAV Chapter

Lake Havasu City, AZ – During today’s Board of Supervisors meeting, the Board voted to approve a one year lease of a 168 square foot portion of the county’s Lake Havasu City Complex to the Disabled American Veterans (DAV) Chapter 27 of Lake Havasu City.  Supervisor Buster Johnson, who placed the item on the agenda, stated that he knew that the current office space leased by the DAV was limited.  “When the space at the county became available I approached them to see if they were interested,” Johnson stated. According to Johnson, the County was previously using the space as a janitorial closet.  “I brought the item before the Board because I felt that letting the DAV’s lease that space would be a better use for it,” Johnson continued.  Johnson stated that the DAV will use the space for administrative purposes as well as assisting veterans with transportation needs to other cities.  The lease agreement will begin on November 1st and conclude on October 31, 2015.

Mohave County Passport Program

Lake Havasu City, AZ –Supervisor Buster Johnson would like the public to know about a fun contest. “In conjunction with the International Route 66 Festival and the hosting city of Kingman, the County has initiated the Mohave County Passport program. This program is a chance for residents and visitors alike to see some of the beautiful assets our county has to offer,” Johnson explained. The object is to obtain at least six of the eleven participating locations’ stamps listed in the Passport Booklet; however, you are encouraged to visit all 21 locations. To obtain a copy of the booklet on the internet go to www.passport.mohavecounty.us in the upper right of the screen. Print the booklet and stamp collection sheet and begin a fun journey through Mohave County. Once you have completed your journey, cut out the stamp collection page, complete the information on the back and return it to the City Manager, City of Kingman, 310 N. 4th Street, Kingman, AZ 86401 by September 5th. The grand prize is $1,000, second prize is $600 and third prize is $400. The winner will be drawn at the Mohave County Fair on September 13, 2014. Winner need not be present to win. “The “Passport” is a fun way to see Mohave County and I want to thank Unisource Energy and Frontier Communications for contributing the cash prizes to this program,” Johnson stated. ###