Supervisors to be sworn in; plans for 2005 discussed
KINGMAN -- Mohave County elected officials will be sworn in Monday to begin a new four-year term running the county.

District 1 Supervisor Pete Byers and District 2 Supervisor Tom Sockwell will also be sworn in after their election victory last month.

District Supervisor Buster Johnson was already sworn in last week in Lake Havasu City before Judge Randolph Bartlett.

Sockwell said one of his goals is to see the construction of a law and justice center as well as the finishing of the new administration building currently under construction in Kingman.

"The way the county is developing, we still need to work on the economic development, bringing large businesses into Mohave County," Sockwell said.

The Bullhead City supervisor would also like to see the construction of a park in the Mohave Valley area.

Pushing up the timeline for the Highway 95 bypass that would connect Highway 68 with Interstate 40 is another goal.

Sockwell said he would like to see the bypass built in five years not the 15 to 20 years the state is projecting.

A second bridge crossing the Colorado River is another goal. Sockwell said as many as 38,000 cars currently cross the Laughlin Bridge.

Sockwell also hopes to push for improving the county's infrastructure including increasing pay raises for county employees.

Like Sockwell, Byers also hopes to see the completion of the new administration building as well as improving the county's infrastructure.

Byers also wants to address county employee salaries in the early part of the next budget process, possibly in February.

The Kingman supervisor also promised not to raise taxes but criticized efforts by some to cut taxes especially when the county has seen a 10 percent growth rate in recent years.

"To cut taxes in the middle of growth is political suicide," Byers said. "It may sound good but it doesn't take care of the infrastructure. There are not enough cops, jail space, courts."

County Attorney Matt Smith was elected to his first full term after filling in for former County Attorney Bill Ekstrom who retired last year.

Smith said one of his priorities is to continue to work with the recently-hired investigator to look into sex abuse charges in the polygamist community of Colorado City.

Another goal is to initiate a new community prosecution program working with local law enforcement to identity areas of high crime.

A flyer that will be mailed with residents' water bills will include a survey to allow residents feedback to the county attorney's office.

Smith would also like to hire more attorneys to his growing office.

Others to be sworn in are Sheriff Tom Sheahan, School Superintendent Mike File, Treasurer Lee Fabrizio, Recorder Joan McCall and Assessor Ron Nicholson.

Bartlett, a Lake Havasu City Superior Court judge will also take over as presiding judge when he is sworn in Monday.

Bartlett will serve as presiding judge for the county's Superior Court's divisions, taking over for Judge Robert Moon who stepped down from that position.

Moon will also be sworn in as Division 5 judge in the swearing-in ceremony. Moon ran unopposed for his seat on the bench in the recent primary and general election.

Judge Richard Weiss was recently appointed by Gov. Janet Napolitano to serve as a permanent judge for Division 6. An election for his seat will take place in 2006.

Judges Steven Conn, James Chavez and Charles Gurtler also face re-election in 2006. Judges serve a four-year term.
Originally published December 30, 2004