Tuesday June 30, 2015
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Woven here and there through I do not know how many strings over the past few years there have been two persistent questions about RCEA: "Who is" — or are if you don't mind bending the language a bit — "the Rim Country Educational Alliance? And who stands to profit from the plan other than local business?"
Here's one place you can go for partial answers:
You can see who is serving on the board of directors and read a short bio of each member; see who is serving on the several committees RCEA has created and read about each of them; read the goal statement; read the FAQ section and get answers to some commonly asked questions; and more.
As to the board members and the committee members, they certainly look like straight-shooters to me. In fact, I would say that some of those folks have more than just highly admirable backgrounds, they have backgrounds they have every reason to be proud of, not just where success is concerned, but in what they have chosen to do with their lives.
I can, however, see why some people still feel edgy about the Alliance. There's a disconnect that needs to be addressed. What is it? The Alliance seems to have appeared as if by magic out of nowhere.
Here we have many fine people who have gotten themselves involved in what could turn out to be a very good thing for Payson, but it's readily obvious why some people are nervous about it. A couple of questions are still hanging in the air.
They are not questions posed for the purpose of digging into areas where the public does not belong, areas where the premature release of key information would do more harm than good. On the contrary, they are questions which if answered could summon more support for RCEA.
First and foremost, what is the human element involved? To be specific, whose idea was it? Who first proposed it? How did he or she go about contacting all the others we see on the board and the committees? When and where did they all meet?
Secondly, it would be childish in the absence of a clear cut statement to the contrary for anyone to imagine that profit is not part of the overall RCEA plan. Just generally then, and without revealing a single word that would lessen chances of success, why not give the people of Rim Country answers to the who, what, when, where and why? No names. No specifics. Just a ballpark outline of the overall commercial target.
Why? To clear the air. To get rid of the conspiracy theorists. To garner informed local support, something that would benefit everyone. Right now many people are reticent to back RCEA because they are not really sure who RCEA is.
How about it? A few clarifying answers? A guest column in the Roundup?
Could do a lot of good.
Do me a favor, will you? Go here and read what you find.
Then come on here and tell us what you think of what you saw.
Tom, I read it. Some of it gives me great concern> See my concerns in ( )
From their web site>>>
Role of the RCEA
Rim Country Educational Alliance
A Separate Legal Entity
A Separate Legal Entity (SLE) is a stand-alone political subdivision of the State of Arizona. SLEs typically are formed for specific governmental functions and ordinarily include a county, city, town, or school district. (So has the Town ceded it's authority to the SLE for all plan decisions?)
Rim Country Educational Alliance (RCEA) is an SLE formed in 2011 by an intra-governmental agreement between the Towns of Payson and Star Valley, AZ (Members) for the specific purpose of engaging in activities that further the concept of higher or advanced education, and economic and workforce development in Arizona’s Rim Country. The Towns can grant the SLE any powers they share in common and the SLE can do the same things that the Member municipalities can do within the purposes identified. (A Big Red Flag for me, what powers are shared in common?)
RCEA is governed by a Board of six Directors which functions in much the same way as the Town Councils of the Member municipalities. The Board governs all activities within the “footprint” of the land owned by RCEA. RCEA has no powers over persons or entities that reside and/or do business outside of its limited enumerated boundaries. (What power does the Town (s) have over the footprint land and it's development decisions?)
RCEA has specific powers that include:
•Make and enter into contracts, leases and other transactions with one or more of the Members;
(potential for huge conflict of interests and nepotisim)
•Employ agents, employees, consultants and advisors, and contract for professional and other services;
•Acquire, hold, encumber, lease, and dispose of real and personal property; (Any Town approval?)
•Acquire, construct, manage, maintain, operate, and lease buildings, works, infrastructure and improvements;
•Incur debts, liabilities, and obligations; (Red Flag> Are the Town and it's taxpayers exempt from liability of decisions by RCEA)
Alliance questions from their web site Part 2:
•Issue bonds in accordance with ARS §11-952-02; (Red Flag>are these private investment bonds or public issued liability bonds)
•Sue and be sued;
•Accept grants, gifts, and donations of real and personal property and funds;
•Exercise, in the name of the entity, any common governmental and/or proprietary powers of its Members;
•Engage in electrical generation and transmission activities, but not distribution;
•Pay development fees; (Red Flag>Is there any Town/Taxpayer obligation protection?)
•Invest funds. (Does the town have any authority/input as to where the Public College funds are invested?)
RCEA cannot pass debt along to Members; nor can RCEA engage in or contract for services that would compete directly with Gila County Community College. (Red Flag>sounds like they exempt themselves from any bad financial decisions they make, who pays for the debt obligation?)
RCEA can create Variable Interest Entities (VIEs) to accomplish a single purpose; i.e., academics, housing, research, energy, etc. The VIE takes full control of the purpose assigned to them by contract but reports to RCEA on their status and progress in accomplishing the purpose.
The creation of RCEA sets the stage for a unique public/private partnership in Rim Country. In this case, RCEA’s mandate to build a 6,000 student college campus in Payson will increase access by Rim Country students to a university education in a rural setting and at a lower tuition rate. (Red Flag>No clear public statement as to the obligations/responsibility/authority for the Town as a legal binding partner? Scary!)
The accomplishment of this project will not only educationally enrich our communities, but attract businesses, create jobs, generate revenues, lower the tax base for our citizens, and stimulate overall economic development. (No specific examples or projections?)
Don, I don't have answers for most of your concerns, but I can comment on a couple or three of them. Hope this helps.
"RCEA cannot pass debt along to Members; nor can RCEA engage in or contract for services that would compete directly with Gila County Community College. (Red Flag>sounds like they exempt themselves from any bad financial decisions they make, who pays for the debt obligation?)"
"who pays for the debt obligation?"
In this context, the term "members" is defined as the Towns of Payson and Star Valley, and so the debt obligation cannot be passed off to the towns.
"RCEA has specific powers..." "(Red Flag> Are the Town and it's taxpayers exempt from liability of decisions by RCEA)"
Happily, the towns are exempt; that's why it is called a "separate" legal entity.
"•Issue bonds in accordance with ARS §11-952-02; (Red Flag>are these private investment bonds or public issued liability bonds)"
Reading ARS §11-952-02 ought to answer that.
The Towns can grant the SLE any powers they share in common and the SLE can do the same things that the Member municipalities can do within the purposes identified. (A Big Red Flag for me, what powers are shared in common?)
I imagine that the phrase "any powers they share in common" refers to powers that the towns share in common. Beats me what those are. I would suppose they are the powers granted to them by the state, along with any others they have self-defined.
Beyond that, I'll leave it to wiser heads to comment. Maybe Barbara Rasmussen knows something about it; she always seems up on such things.
Tom and Don: I have researched and researched and researched some more. I have not been able to ascertain exactly what the statement "any powers they share in common" refers to either. The answers must be out there somewhere but are beyond my scope of knowledge. Is the land considered an "island" within the Town of Payson? If one could find out this, a lot of questions could be answered as far as who or what would have the ultimate decision over plan decisions. Again many unanswered questions and lots of Red Flags ! Sorry that I am not of more help if any help at all. This one has me stymied as well.
The first I heard of it, the Town Council would have final say. This was told at a council meeting if I remember it right.
Don, good questions. Let me try and answer some. While you have just about everything concerning an SLE, we must remember the foundation of this plan. The official name of this SLE is Rim Country Education Alliance. It was formed for one major reason, to protect the towns involved and their taxpayers from any liability.
Paragraph 1: “(So has the Town ceded it's authority to the SLE for all plan decisions?)”
Yes. The towns don’t have authority over the SLE. No authority, no liability.
Paragraph 2: “(A Big Red Flag for me, what powers are shared in common?)”
The SLE can set it’s own tax base for the specific piece of ground or, if they desired, start their own police or fire department.
Paragraph 3: “(What power does the Town (s) have over the footprint land and it's development decisions?)”
The towns will not have any power over the footprint. Certainly, they will have input.
Paragraph 4: “(potential for huge conflict of interests and nepotisim)”
I believe you are confusing the word “members” with the board members versus the towns who formed the SLE. It allows the SLE to contract with the towns for fire, police, sewer, etc.
“(Any Town approval?)
No, it is not the towns property.
“(Red Flag> Are the Town and it's taxpayers exempt from liability of decisions by RCEA)”
Yes, that is exactly why the SLE was formed.
Paragraph 5: (Red Flag>Is there any Town/Taxpayer obligation protection?)”
No obligation. Just think of the SLE as it’s own town.
“(Does the town have any authority/input as to where the Public College funds are invested?)”
No, the town does not have authority over the SLE.
Paragraph 6: “(Red Flag>sounds like they exempt themselves from any bad financial decisions they make, who pays for the debt obligation?)”
Again, you are confusing members of the board and the towns who formed the SLE.
Paragraph 8: “(Red Flag>No clear public statement as to the obligations/responsibility/authority for the Town as a legal binding partner? Scary!)”
The towns are not legal binding partners thus, they have no obligation. The one of the primary reasons they formed an SLE was to protect the citizens/taxpayers of the towns.
Paragraph 9: “(No specific examples or projections?)”
Over the years, we have been swamped by projections on this topic however, they are projections. Personally, I believe your final paragraph is a given. The region as a whole will prosper.
I just went on the website again and the things I wanted to see said oops page not found or some other dumb thing. It will not show the names of the people on the board.
Maybe it is just me but I tried it before and the same thing happened.
Here's the link:
When you get there click on the name and it will give you a short bio.
Steve Drury, Chairman of the Board of Directors
Mary Kastner, Vice Chairman of the Board of Directors
Jim Lyon, Secretary/Treasurer of the Board of Directors
Honorable Dean Martin, Member of the Board of Directors
Judge Ronnie McDaniel, Member of the Board of Directors
James Scott Scheidt, Member of the Board of Directors
Thanks, John. That answered a LOT of questions. I felt sure that the towns were insulated from liability by the the fact that RCEA is a separate legal entity. That's the way everything reads, but it's good to have verification of that fact.
If you click on the link John put up it will take you to the page for the Board of Directors. If you click on the link I put up it will take you to the same site, but to the home page. I'd go see one or the other if I were you. It's an education. I was VERY impressed with the people I found there.
To be honest, I was surprised when I found that site. I don't know if it was announced some time ago, but it seems almost certain that it must have been. And yet I didn't know of it. That's one reason I put up this string. There's a lot of information out there, and the answers to a lot of questions. I figured that considering the amount of time I spend searching the net, if I didn't know about that site there were probably a lot of other people who didn't. Nothing makes you feel more comfortable about something than information.
Thank you Tom,
Do all of these people live in the area? And are they investors in the college?
Mrs. Randall, I will answer as I'm sure Tom doesn't know:
We have covered most of the information here in the Roundup, including who was on the board of the SLE. Actually an impressive group of volunteers, none have children who will benefit or a dog in the fight except to better our community. They are not paid except with headaches of dealing with the bureaucracy.
The only non-resident is former State Treasurer, Dean Martin.
None have a financial interest in the project.
I have looked at this site and while I see Su Connell's name on the site as she serves on one of the volunteer committees I do not see Mayor Evan's name or picture associated with RCEA. Is he not involved with the the whole process other than being the Mayor of Payson? Not being negative in any way I am just wondering since he does a lot of speaking about the college and the plans. Also I would have one other question: As mentioned in Paragraph 1, 2 and 3 the Town has no authority or control over it who will be doing the inspections and such on the buildings once they have plans sent in for approval. Will it be under the control of the County or State? Also another about the tax base mentioned in Paragraph 2. Will they be able to set taxes without an election? This will ultimately affect all property owners in the area or at least I would think it would.
How do you know none of them have a financial interest if that information is not available to the public?
I understood Evans was doing all the negotiating from what he has said at council meetings and all the pictures of him in articles in the paper about talking with people from ASU.
The property is in the town limits or was unless Evans took it out, so I would think town regulations would be the same for it as any other bldgs. and landscaping.
Su Connell is a volunteer as a citizen, not as a town counsel member. There are dozens of volunteers helping wherever needed in this effort.
Mayor Evans is not on the RCEA board. He is certainly involved and is a spokesperson as he started the whole thing. Once the board SLE was formed, ultimate decisions are made by the board. Do they have assistance or input? Of course, but final decisions and contract negotiations are that of the board.
I have no idea who will be responsible for inspections. I would assume the county as the SLE is in the county. Will the buildings be inspected? Well of course.
There can be no election because no one lives there. I've tried to explain that the property owners, citizens, taxpayers, etc. will not be affected in any way shape or form. The SLE can only tax what is on that specific acreage. The taxes collected on that site will benefit and be used for that site only.
1. Because I know them all.
2. It was not town property before, it will not be town property when sold. It is it's own "town."
It is inside the town limits, so wouldn't the town have some say about what is being done and be responsible for inspections etc.
It would be under town jurisdiction if the land had been traded to someone who wanted to subdivide it and build houses wouldn't it?
Mr. Naughton": So it will be an "Island" within the Town? What taxes will be collected on the site? Perhaps in the bookstores and food courts that are on the campuses of many universities? So my question is this then. If taxes collected on this site benefit only the site how will that help out the Town of Payson since the sales tax revenue is down so much? I knew that it was property of the Forest Service before.
If the Forest Service traded the land to someone to subdivide for houses it would be a part of Payson.
This is not a part of Payson, it is its own "Town" when Star Valley and Payson agreed to form a Separate Liability Entity allowing in essence a new "Town." Key word here SEPARATE.
Some entity will inspect the buildings, probably the county. Who inspects new buildings in Pine, Strawberry, Mesa del, etc.?
How about you perform your magic and research the issue. Perhaps, a call to the county or the town would be in order then we'd know for certain.
Mr. Naughton: If you are referring to me, I do not need to perform any "magic". I have gone through the Arizona Revised Statutes and found answers that I was looking for. Also it is extremely difficult to get anything out of the Town. They are not "user friendly" especially when one questions what they are doing and why! They will not give clear or concise answers. I have other sources that I rely on that are extremely reliable and knowledgeable.
Barbara, sorry it was not intended for you rather, Mrs. Randall just above your post.
I can't answer for how the town reacts to your questions.
Taxes collected on the site have never been intended to help Payson.
Taxes collected from sales off site certainly will be a huge boom.
Mr. Naughton: thank you!. I do not mean to sound as if I am against the University/college coming to our town. The sales tax will be greatly welcomed to improve our economy. i am one of the people who just like to research the facts and try and post correct comments and answers on here. I appreciate this forum and the people who post on here. A lot of information is brought to light.
How will the tax be collected and where will the money be held? What will be taxed?
If you look at the card the county sends out on taxes on your home or business it shows where the tax money goes.
Schools, library, fire districts and so on.
Thank you for your information and patience.
Actually, I have no idea.
My assumption would be that retail taxes will be collected at point of sale just like everywhere else. The retailer sends tax receipts to the state, they keep their portion and then send the town what is owed them. In the case of Payson that would be 2.12%. I don't know if the SLE will have the same rate as Payson or not.
I would think the taxes collected will be kept in a bank?
Surely, the county will send a little card for property taxes.
Sorry to keep asking you the questions but you seem to know most of the answers.
You said it would not be part of the town so why would Payson get any of the tax money collected on the property for sales that belongs to SLE and not part of Payson?
In an earlier post you said, taxes on the site have never been intended to help Payson.
Hope you understand the question. I know what I mean. (:
As I read this thread, one old saying comes to mind: "No good deed goes unpunished". Thank you John Naughton and Rex Hinshaw for your gentlemanly behavior and your patience and restraint!
Thanks, John. I don't think I have ever before seen anyone field so many question so well and in such a short period of time. My congratulations. If there was anything bothering anyone before about the Alliance there sure as hey isn't anymore.
And folks, I think we can safely allow John to put his crystal ball away for the time being. The question of who is going to mop the floors in the school buildings, empty the trash, or wash the windows are probably best left to the future, don't you agree?
I just did a little homework, and it's as plain as the nose on your face that the State of Arizona has created a legal firewall with its Separate Legal Entity legislation whose purpose is to allow towns and cities to foster good things without burdening their taxpayers with a lot of fiscal concerns.
If I were you and I had any more detailed questions, I'd do something I should have done a long time ago. It would have answered my questions. So go do what I just did: Go read AZ 11-952 - Intergovernmental agreements and contracts, AZ 11-952.02 - Separate legal entities; joint exercise of powers, and AZ 48-805.01 - Separate legal entities; joint exercise of powers.
Really. It's all in there. Go read it. You'll enjoy it! It's a comforting feeling to know the state covered all the bases.
Here are the links:
Barbara asked " If taxes collected on this site benefit only the site how will that help out the Town of Payson since the sales tax revenue is down so much?" I replied "Taxes collected on the site have never been intended to help Payson. Taxes collected from sales off site certainly will be a huge boom."
Bottom line, the Separate Legal Entity developed by Star Valley and Payson allows the SLE to keep the taxes generated on that piece of ground only to benefit that piece of property only.
If Papa John's Pizza opens a store on the site, the SLE gets it's portion of sales tax collected. If they open a store across the street out side the boundary of the SLE site, Payson would reap the sales tax.
Good morning Mr. Naughton,
I thought this whole thing was going to be for educational purposes, but I guess that's what happens when someone thinks or hears something and misunderstands.
Who will decide what is built on the property and who will do zoning and inspections?
Ok, remember this: The board of an SLE works much like a town council. They will make the final decisions as they have the power to contract, they have the power to zone, etc. The SLE will, in concert with a university, will figure out what is needed for a 6000 student 4 year university to operate. As reported on numerous occasions, there are plans for a conference style hotel and business park. The SLE will collaborate with the developer of the property on what goes where. I'm uncertain on zoning but would assume it will be zoned multi-use/commercial and, as I said above, probably the county will do the inspections.
Now, just curious, why is it important to know who does the zoning and inspections?
This is a multi-million dollar project, it's not someone sneaking an addition on their house. Certainly, you don't think all that construction will go without inspection.
To put a little different "spin" on it, if I may be so bold. The property at issue was US Forest Service property, ie. US Department of Agriculture, ie. Federal Government ie, "We the People". Now that property will become " It was not town property before, it will not be town property when sold. It is it's own "town." A "new" town is going to be formed in the midst of two other existing towns, and the true "owners" of that property will receive only ancillary benefit from the "new town" without having had any direct input into the whole transfer of "Public Property" to a "for profit entity" ie. "the new town" and the impact said "new town" will have on the surrounding region. Starting to feel a little bit helpless about this whole situation? Welcome to the club. Remember while this all unfolds, that it is all in your best interests, done on behalf of those duly elected to serve you, in concert with some who could care less about your interests, only theirs. At least in Mr. Naughton's case, he is at least forthcoming with a lot more answers/explanations (those he has) , than Payson's elected leaders.
Did you get a chance to read the links I put up? I made them rather special so they would be especially easy to read. They aren't just links to Arizona statutes; they are links to Arizona statutes where someone (me) has set things up so that the result of clicking on them brings up those statutes with the important words in bold face type.
Now that I have taken the time out to read the statutes very carefully I have come to the conclusion that they are not only a work of art, they are a work of genius. They allow two town (or other entities) to come together to promote their common welfare, but they create a mile high firewall that protects the citizens of those towns from any type or kind of liability. What an incredible piece of legislation!
If you haven't already done it, go read the links. You will enjoy them.
I'm going to put up a second post so that we can all step back, review how and why all this has come about, and put matters back in their proper perspective.
Reading the initial discussions it is easy to see that the goal was to brighten the future of the Rim Country. We needed a way for the Rim Country to grow in a direction which would would ensure an economically sound future without charging its character.
Consider why the current plan came into being:
In recent decades the Rim Country has enjoyed two major industries: growth and tourism. Growth cannot last forever. Tourism requires something to enjoy and roads to bear the traffic. Although tourism and growth can live together, they put pressure on each other, and neither is a good single-source economy.
It could easily be seen at the time that allowing the Rim Country to grow without the addition of some kind of third industry was a recipe for disaster. The slight downturn in the economy that has put so many companies out of business and has turned our growth related construction industry into a disaster, clearly demonstrates the truth of that.
Something had to be done, but what? The answer was to find a large piece of as-yet undeveloped land and put something on it which would enhance our future. But it had to be something that would improve, not degrade, the quality of life, that would take into account the need for water conservation, that would fit the space, that would create jobs that did not rely on tourism or growth, and that would — if at all possible — put this area on the map.
That's a challenge! And a greater one was finding some way to do all those things without spending one nickel of tax money, and without making the people of the Rim Country liable for any future expenses.
Fortunately, Arizona Senate Bill 1497 had created just such a solution in the "separate legal entity" concept. With that in mind, the planners were able to begin searching for a way of meeting our goals, which were:
• Find a viable, recession-proof anchor industry (the school).
• Find ways to enhance the current tourist trade (the hotel and convention center).
• Find private industries to share cost of development (several are interested).
• Increase employment opportunities (all three above).
• Target low water use. (the top three do that).
• Promote construction of new homes (higher employment = more homes).
There are other goals which will have to be kept in mind, such as maintaining, and in fact enhancing, the positive image of the Rim Country, but the beautiful thing about the separate legal entity concept is that it allows the members (Star Valley and Payson) to retain control over events without engendering any type or form of financial responsibility. And yet, the SLE, while it is legally separate, is under the firm and permanent control of the two towns involved.
Perfect! No one could ask for more. We are in control, we don't have to spend a nickel, we can do nothing but gain, and there is no way for us to become financially liable.
I'd like to meet the geniuses who wrote that legislation.
I read John's last reply to Pat, wrote my posts, and only then discovered your post. I suppose that now that you're read what I said you can see that your worries come to nothing, but just in case....
Specifically, any worries about, "A "new" town is going to be formed in the midst of two other existing towns, and the true "owners" of that property will receive only ancillary benefit from the "new town" without having had any direct input into the whole transfer of "Public Property" to a "for profit entity" ie. "the new town" and the impact said "new town" will have on the surrounding region," is specifically put to rest by the language of the statutes. Incase you haven't yet read them, here are the applicable parts:
the control of RCEA is covered by 11-952.02.B.
"The governing body of a separate legal entity formed pursuant to this subsection shall be composed of officials elected to one or more of the governing bodies of the public agencies that are parties to the agreement, or their designees."
In plain English, it is Payson and Star Valley which select the board members and tell them what they will or will not do. Not to worry, Payson and Star Valley are in firm control. Not a problem. And it can never change.
When I took my masters in administration SLE's were discussed for about ten minutes, I think, if that. They were mainly used by corporations to create small separate units that ran under the control of the main company, but were separated for purposes of liability and whatnot. I had never heard of such a thing in the public venue until it was mentioned up here. A great concept!
Before I start on your sites. Does anyone find it strange that Suzanne Cummins a law professor from ASU was asked to resign from the RCEA by Mike Vogel then he resigns and moves to Arkansas?
I just finished reading your sites for the third time. It seems worse every time I read it.
One sentence really jumped out at me. "The SLE will collaborate with the developer of the property on what goes where." Isn't Rim Country Educational Alliance the developer?
I understood the money was already being donated. (: A deal was already made with ASU.
So many things have changed since the first announcement was made about it at a council meeting.
In my opinion this has been in the works for several years and more or less a done deal before the people living here heard about it.
I still don't know what state agency this all comes under but will give up for now until I talk to an attorney.
OK, change the word developer to construction guy.
Other than that, mainly because it's been a long week and I have more important worries,
I give up. You win.
Tom & John,
All I can say is "GOOD GRIEF" and TGIF =)
That's one for me. (:
Thanks for all the time and information you have given us.
First of all, Pat, I congratulate you on the way you thanked John for all the time and information. That's the Pat Randall I know so well.
"Isn't Rim Country Educational Alliance the developer?"
Pat, I think I can clarify things a bit for everyone by touching on some basics.
First of all the name. The Rim Country Educational Alliance, the "alliance" we all keep talking about, is an alliance between Star Valley and Payson. People sometimes talk as though other people are members of the "alliance." They aren't. A businessman who sees what a good thing it is and offers to build here will sign a contract with the alliance, and he will work with the alliance toward a common goal, he will "partner" with the alliance, but he will not be a member of the alliance.
About the pros and cons of the financial arrangements:
It can greatly benefit a city or town to have some new industry arrive. Sometimes the industry is a manufacturer, sometimes a conference center, sometimes a pro team, sometimes a college or university, sometimes a military base, sometimes something else.
When a city or town sees a chance to bring in something new it has two basic choices; it can either use tax money to do it or it can fiind another way.
For example, down in the Valley I have seen cities that wanted the additional revenue that would derive from having a pro team in town, and so decided to use taxpayer money to build a stadium or arena. That does two things: It costs the taxpayers money, and it puts the town or city on the hook should anything go wrong.
The way we are doing it — with an SLE — no taxpayer money is spent, the towns involved benefit from the new facilities that are constructed in many ways, and if anything goes wrong they are not left holding the bag. The concept is brilliant, legal, and uncomplicated. Those who stand to directly benefit can put up the money, or the SLE can if it wishes issue revenue bonds, but no matter what happens there is a legal separation between the SLE cities or towns that entered into an alliance to create it. The SLE is on the hook, but the cities or towns are not.
Where extension college sites are concerned there is a cheapo method of trying to attract a school to a small town. It's the "use an empty building," or "store front," method. It has been tried, and in a few cases it has more or less worked, but as often as not the deal falls through because the facilities are woefully inadequate. What is envisioned here is something quite different — new, well build facilities designed for the specific purpose for which they will be used.
In a second post I'll talk about tax revenues.
Finally, the tax revenue question.
As the newly acquired land is built on, and as it is occupied, Payson and Star Valley will gain new tax revenue, but do not expect it to be the direct result of a new school being here. Tempe gains nothing in taxes from the operation of ASU itself, but it certainly gains a lot from all the peripheral businesses that ASU attracts. That is why Tempe is the recession-proof star of the Valley.
If Payson or Star Valley wanted to use tax money for the direct purchase of the land, and additional tax revenues to build on that land, passing bonds that you would have to pay for in taxes, then Payson or Star Valley would collect any and all taxes that were paid by some private enterprise that, in addition to the school, built on that property. But no taxes would actually come from operating the school, would they? We don't make a nickel in direct taxes out of GCC, do we? And even if Payson were to buy the land up front with your tax money and sell some of it to private businesses does anyone honestly believe that each and every person in Payson would receive a return equal to what he spent in taxes paying for the bonds? I don't think so. Do you?
But all those people who do the construction have to live somewhere. They have to eat. They have to shop. So do all the students. So do all the teachers, clerks, administrators, and staff. So do all the people who own or work in any shops or other facilities.
I'll put it to you this way: Suppose Pine, Strawberry, and Star Valley — all of which are outside the town limits of Payson — did not exist, would that hurt the economy in Payson? See? Makes sense now, doesn't it?
And as to whether or not the new property purchased will be a "new town" and will always be outside Payson and Star Valley, I ask you to consider the law that enabled the creation of the SLE. Who, under the law, is in complete control of RCEA? Who, under the law, will always be in complete control of RCEA — including how long it exists? What does that say?
Hope this helps.
I guess from all this information, the high school in Payson must be a separate town as the property was bought from the forest service for a school. That was after we paid lease money on it for years. Had a smart school board back then too.
I have learned quite a bit from your explanations...unfortunately for some...there's no hope.
Thanks, Rex. I started this string in hopes of clarifying what RCEA is and how it will work. The reason? An alliance between two or more public agencies, creating a separate legal agency, was a new idea to me, just as I am sure it was to almost everyone. It is a unique solution, not something seen every day. It didn't help that two very unfamiliar terms were used almost interchangably: "alliance and SLE." Natural questions arose. Who is the "alliance?" What is the significance of a "separate legal entity." I myself was unclear about the details and I thought that maybe others were too.
Well, I think we have leaned a few things:
I was definitely unclear about exactly who was part of the "alliance." I am very clear about that now.
I knew that there was a financial firewall between the towns and RCEA, but had not read and absorbed all the details. I Have now. The law is beautifully written.
I wasn't sure how much most people really understood about the plan and whether or not they needed to know more. I am now certain that most people were at least as confused as I was, and that this discussion has cleared up several points of confusion.
Just like anyone else with two eyes and two ears, I saw the recession lingering far beyond the time when we were told it was over. I felt that a four year college would be a good recession-proof anchor industry for the area, one that would add to the quality of life here. I am now firmly convinced that in the short term the construction phase will inject new life into local businesses, and that in the long term the school — not to mention other uses for the land involved — will be the key to healthy, long lasting economic growth for the area, and that the resulting growth — along with Blue Ridge water — will in future years be spoken of in hallowed terms by those who enjoy the result and realize that they came at a turning point in the history of the Rim Country.
I am confident that when all this occurs those who still have not quite grasped what a great thing this is for us will be very pleased indeed.
I have been out of State and just popped on as I have some time now. Thanks to Mr. Naughton, Garrett, and all, for the info. I am a little skeptical on the (Island) tax concept as described. I have been to some University Campus'. From my observations, other than the text book store and an allowed food franchise, I don't see how much University owned operational tax income can be generated. I see expensive tuition fee's paying for the routine operations and staff. I doubt seriously that if and when an ASU campus starts up, it will have sufficient funds to have it's own police, fire, and medical response services. Those will come from Town of Payson. I hope that the college will pay for the extra personnell and equipment for those services, and not take away from the Town needed services or cost the taxpayer more to pay for them. I am not so naive as to believe that this plan is not tied to outside the "island" development plans that are probably already drawn up and the Town is aware of. I am not against this plan for and ASU campus or other college. I just want all the costs current and future projections to be up front for us little people. Nothing against them, but I have been informed a majority of the Alliance Board reside in Chappie Pines. If so, a little concern that they may not really reflect the average Paysonite demographics. But, I appreciate their volunteer efforts on our behalf thus far. Back home soon.....
There is hope for anyone who questions. Only when you quit is the time there is no hope. (:
I started to respond to some of your questions...then realized that I did not know. I feel some of your questions are justifyed. I don't want to live in a retirement community.
I think that the introduction of a new econimic engine will be benificial to Payson . Tom has answered many of the legitimate questions.Keep asking the questions.....but keep an open mind.
Having read all that I don't think there is anything to add right now.
Amazing, isn't it? :-)
Don, I'll be brief.
From day one it was reported that ancillary businesses would be incorporated on the site. A conference style hotel being one. Did you know that NAU has a hotel on it's property? ASU Tempe is planning a hotel complex on university property there. Wonder where they got that idea.
This is one of the ways the plan was to move from expensive to inexpensive tuition would be accomplished. After all the delays, that remains to be seen.
It has been reported that water and police and fire protection will be provided by the Town of Payson for a fee. When you get back to town, I'd be interested in your thoughts on your statement "I am not so naive as to believe that this plan is not tied to outside the "island" development plans that are probably already drawn up and the Town is aware of."
Two of the six SLE board members reside in Chaparral Pines.
It's easy to see what is going on in some people's minds. Because they have seen under the table deals in other places they are suspicious of almost anything they see, here or elsewhere. But they fail to see the obvious: When there is some kind of under the table dealings it isn't part of the opening statements made by the people involved. In this case the whole idea was laid right out for all to see: A joint public/private effort.
In the case of RCEA it was announced right at the beginning that there would be a coming together of business interests with RCEA, creating a win-win situation for both public and private interests. That is very different from what we see when someone is quietly trying to slip something through under the radar.
Frankly, I fail to see how either Star Valley or Payson could come up with the money up front to finance something like a four year college, even if they joined together in the effort to do it. So this is a great solution. How could it be anything else? A large plat of land that gains us nothing now will become income producing. The Rim Country will gain a four year college. Businesses we need will come here. The population will grow in a very positive way — through greater employment. And it won't cost us a nickel.
How could it be better?
What if some large company had come up with this idea? What it neither of the towns were involved at all? What if the company came in, worked a purchase of forest land for the purpose of building the facilities for a four-year extension college? What if the plan included ancillary businesses?
I'll tell you "what if?" We'd all be doing a dance.
So what's the difference?
The difference is that this is even better. The alliance between Payson and Star Valley leaves the two towns in control instead of on the sidelines. I fail to see how things could have been handled any better.
Great to be back home now. John, did you know that ASU was just (trust) gifted the historical La Posada Hotel in Winslow? The owners had put $12 million into renovations to upgrade it, but current value is only worth $10 million. I have no idea what ASU intends to do with it. Sell it? Use it for? I don't think it's on any University Island. Lol...Good for them. My comment "I am not so naive as to believe that this plan is not tied to outside the "island" development plans that are probably already drawn up and the Town is aware of." What I mean by that is, I choose to believe that "Outside the University Island" commercial / residential developers already have at least conceptual plans drawn up contingent on the campus being all approved, funded, and building at least started. Further, that I choose to believe that the Town is privy to some of these possible projects, but the Town is keeping them under wraps until it's a for sure done campus deal. That would then start zoning approval, plat plans, permits etc. for various private projects. (Ex. restaurants, services, stores) that would derive a majority of their business profits from the students/campus. I am all for making a buck, just want all the players to be upfront, especially the Town and SLE on the impact and quality of life to our community. If the SLE have all the funding they need (?) I say get it done, and they will come.
You all keep dreaming. (:
Go back to the first Town Council meeting when all this about ASU was announced by the mayor.
Goes along with the by pass that was announced many years ago to connect into what was Tyler Parkway and is now Rim Club Parkway, largest man made water fall in Ariz. Malibu St to be put thru by Walmart and on and on.
Welcome home Don.
I understand that La Posada was gifted to NAU versus ASU. It is amazing the amount of money that is donated to universities and their alumni associations. ASU's Sun Angel Foundation, which supports the athletic department, is loaded. We reported some time ago that an ASU alumnus would gift a large ranch under the Rim should ASU be the university for the Payson project.
While I can't confirm (honestly, I don't know) that off-site businesses have an interest in coming to Payson in conjunction with this project, I certainly wouldn't doubt it. I can understand, for competitive reasons, etc., why businesses want to keep their plans low-key however, we will do our best to keep the public informed.
I truly believe, and it sounds like you do too, that the quality of life will be enhanced. It seems every time one of the "economic" style magazine put out their best places to retire surveys small towns across the country with a college presence are at the top of the list.
You're right about La Posada, of course. It was gifted to NAU. Saw something about it in the Flagg news." I've never seen La Posada, but I've read quite a bit about it in one book or another about Arizona. Always makes me think of the Harvey Girls and the old days of the railroads. I remember the movie "The Harvey Girls" well. (Don't remember one word of the plot, just the singing and dancing.) It played the summer I first worked at Ocean Beach in New London, which was a dream job for a teenager; worked there four summers. That was 1946, so I'd have been 14. It had — let's see — Judy Garland and (forget the rest) in it. That's where the song "The Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe" came from. I don't think La Posada is very big, is it?
As to the businesses and the new land we're acquiring, I'd a whole lot rather it was done this way than the way the cities down in the valley build stadiums — out of taxpayer money. Bring it on!
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