Mayor Tom Brady said he decided to run for re-election in 2018 because he likes his job.
“The best part is meeting the people, listening to what they have to say about the city, informing them about all the great things that are happening in the city and moving the city forward,” he said.
A Bullhead City resident since 1982, Brady worked for the Mohave County Parks Department, ultimately serving as parks director. After 19 years with the county, Brady retired in 2001 and ran for justice of the peace, where he served for 10 years. After taking a few years off “to do the motor home thing,” Brady ran for and was elected mayor in 2014.
“I’m very proud of where the city has been in the last three years,” Brady said. “I would like to think that some of it has to do with me, but it’s a team accomplishment. We have a lot to be proud of.”
The mayor credits stability and good working relationships as contributors to the city’s positive direction.
“I thoroughly enjoy working with our professional city manager, Toby Cotter,” Brady said. “He’s energetic, he’s personable, he’s intelligent, he’s hardworking, and he uses common sense in getting things accomplished. And most importantly, he’s committed to making Bullhead City a good place to raise his own family. With his expertise and my background and knowledge and history of the area, I think we make a great team.
“I know what my role is as the mayor; I’m not a micro-manager. In my 29 years in county government, I’ve seen good managers and good supervisors, I’ve seen terrible bureaucrats and I’ve seen good, hardworking government employees. And I realize what the difference is.”
Brady cites the arrival of DOT Foods and commercial airline service, the establishment of a Veterans Court, and the new bridge among the city’s recent successes.
“(The bridge is) finally coming to fruition after 17 years,” he said. “It will get built.”
The Neighborhood Street Improvement Program, which allows the city to repair or resurface 20 percent of city streets each year with the work done by city crews, is another success for the city, Brady said.
“When I ran for mayor (in 2014), citizens were asked to approve a $35 million bond issue (for road improvements) that didn’t pass,” he explained. “Through research, hard work and cooperation, we now have a program to hopefully hit all the streets every five years, at a much-reduced cost from $35 million.”
Brady said one of the city’s major challenges is the possible condemnation/acquisition of EPCOR Water Arizona’s Bullhead City assets.
“On Tuesday (City Council members are) going to address the idea of asking the voters to approve us with the November election to buy EPCOR out, if we feel that it is appropriate to do,” he said. “I believe that (Arizona Corporation Commission) will allow the consolidation (of EPCOR’s 11 Arizona districts), they will allow a huge increase in our water bills and at the end of five years when we are all combined, I believe we will see steady increases in years to come. With the potential for the drought that is continuing in the entire southwest, we could see our water bills skyrocket into the hundreds of dollars, which I think would just be devastating for some of the people on lower incomes in Bullhead City.”
Traffic congestion accompanying city growth is another one of Brady’s major concerns.
“We need more arterial roads,” he said. “We were able to complete the Gold Rush to Arcadia Road extension. We’re now out on the Laughlin Ranch Boulevard Improvement District, which will take traffic from the Bullhead Parkway down to near the Chamber of Commerce.
“We got Riverview Drive done — that was a major accomplishment with our team working with (Arizona Department of Transportation). Recently the Laughlin Bridge intersection was a mess; we were able to prod ADOT to get that project done.”
Brady also points to the success of city/community partnerships.
“I am so proud of what the community has done in the way of helping us with our park improvements,” he said. “For example, our Kiwanis club did the Kiwanis Splash Park; Olivia McCormick and her group are now developing Gary Keith Park, and through the help of Major League Baseball and the BHHS Legacy Foundation we have a new three-baseball field complex at Rotary Park.
“Through the Rotary Club, the soccer organizations, and the Legacy Foundation, we have acres and acres of new soccer fields with lights. Those are all things on which the community works with the city and I couldn’t be more proud of the relationship and the cooperation that they give us or that we have with all of them.”
An ongoing challenge the city faces is its limited tax base, Brady said.
The major source of city funding is the 2-cent sales tax.
“The voters in 1985 imposed a moratorium to any tax increases without a vote of the people,” he said. “I’m fortunate; I have financial stability myself, but I realize that we have people living in our town who are living on $600 or $800 a month Social Security checks and even a $10 or $15 increase in their monthly taxes might mean the difference between food or medical drugs. And I always have to weigh that; that is always in the back of my mind. In the time I’ve been here, the city has not hinted or made any effort to increase taxes; in fact, we’ve reduced our fees and I think we’ve done a real good job of living within our means.”