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Mon, Dec. 09

Is Kingman saying farewell to July 4 fireworks?



KINGMAN - The City Council at tonight's meeting could decide to fund this year's Independence Day fireworks display - but with about 75 days to go, the time to bid out the $35,000 show has all but passed.

The proposed funding is included in the city's tentative budget that won't be approved until next month, but Council members were not in agreement on which fund to use based on informal discussion during a budget workshop earlier this month.

Currently, the funds are slated to come out of the tourism budget, which is funded by hotel, motel and RV park lodging taxes.

Those opposed to using room taxes argue the fireworks show doesn't put "heads in beds." Proponents counter people will spend money to dine out on the Fourth, which falls on a Saturday this year, and make other purchases.

Another obstacle regards the venue. If there is a show this year, it will not be at the Mohave County Fairgrounds.

While fair board Chairman Chuck Cox has not returned a call for comment, it is presumed the fair board begged off due to a lawsuit stemming from a pyrotechnician who was grievously injured in a fireworks mishap that cut short the 2013 show.

City staff, in an explanation published in the agenda, noted the Kingman Boomers nonprofit collected donations from residents and the business community to provide the fireworks shows for the past three years. The nonprofit has been named as a defendant in the lawsuit, as has the fair board and the city of Kingman.

The importer, Huisky Trading Company Ltd., headquartered in Great Necks, N.Y., is also a defendant.

Staff noted the Boomers have disbanded and no other group has expressed a desire to fill the void.

Lawyers for Jeremy Woodrow Lee and his parents and caretakers, Ronald and Raola Lee, seek $12 million. Lee, 42, was an assistant pyrotechnician with Utah-based Lantis Productions when a cake of about 30 fireworks blew up in his face as he investigated a malfunction. Lantis, which carried workers compensation insurance, is not named in the lawsuit.

Lee's injuries were severe and left him permanently incapacitated.

The fireworks show has been held at Centennial Park in the past, but where it might be held if funding is approved has not been discussed. Council members were advised timing is critical because the two bidders may not be available if a decision isn't made tonight.

In other agenda items of interest:

• Members of the Kingman Youth Coalition Beating Up Teen Tobacco, KYC BUTT, will make a pitch to outlaw smoking cigarettes in vehicles carrying minors.

According to the agenda, nine states have adopted similar laws and efforts to do so are going through the legislative process in five other states.

The City Council will be asked to consider an ordinance that would create the ban.

• Mayor Richard Anderson could be authorized to sign documents regarding the potential funding of the proposed Kingman Crossing and Rancho Santa Fe Interstate 40 traffic interchanges. The money would come in the form of a grant awarded through the Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act of 2015, which President Barack Obama recently signed into law.

The act appropriates $500 million and the federal Department of Transportation will decide which projects to fund.

The grants are competitive for projects anywhere in the country that will have a significant impact on the nation, metropolitan area or region, according to guidelines.

The city has applied without success several times in the past for similar federal TIGER grants in an effort to fund capital improvements in Kingman.

If the Council decides to make another effort, Anderson will need authority to sign the paperwork.

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