After a half-hour of discussion Thursday night, the Payson Town Council voted 5-2 to approve a six-month contract extension and a raise for Barry Cardinael, the man hired by the town last summer to coordinate the relocation of the Payson Rodeo Grounds to the multi-event center site at the south end of town.
Cardinael's original contract ended March 31, 1999 --the date set by the council in February 1998 as the deadline for the relocation. Cardinael said a shortage of funds and problems with the weather were partially to blame for the missed deadline.
In his presentation to the council Thursday night, Cardinael pitched his contract extension and explained his reason for requesting a doubling of his salary. Cardinael said that while his original contract called for him to work only 20 hours a week, he was actually putting in closer to 55 hours a week, making telephone calls, writing proposals to potential benefactors and coordinating the volunteer effort that has been doing the actual hands-on work at the 36-acre site.
At his new, higher salary of $1,000 a week, or $26,000 for the length of the new contract, Cardinael explained that for the hours he was actually putting in on the project, he would be averaging only about $12.72 an hour.
"At $1,000 a week, you then subtract 30 percent for the value of sick days, holidays, vacation and health insurance," he said. "That cuts it down to about $700 a week, for 55 hours of work, and you get roughly $12.72 an hour."
In addition to the proposed increase, the contract also adds $3,000 for various expenditures, bringing the new contract total to $29,000.
"For $29,000, my goal will be to bring in to the town $292,329 in cash donations by Sept. 31," he told the council, "and another $300,000 in donations of in-kind labor to complete this project."
The council set a new deadline of Sept. 30 for relocating the rodeo arena from Rumsey Park to the multi-event center site.
Cardinael told the council there was a 98-percent probability that the new facility will be 80- to 90-percent complete by then, and only a 70-percent chance that it will be entirely done, based on the types of delays he's been dealing with.
Responding to Cardinael's proposal, Payson resident Ruby Finney told the council Thursday she wasn't buying the sales pitch. She said the $29,000 could go a long way toward solving some of Payson's more pressing problems by hiring another police officer or putting it toward the library building fund.
"I object very strongly to this," she said. "We should stop this boondoggle right now."
Mayor Vern Stiffler agreed.
"Two and a half years ago, we were told that the rodeo relocation could be done at no cost to the town," he said. "In the past three years, we've spent $300,000 and just added another $150,000 out of the council contingency fund to the project." Stiffler said he objected to the extension since Cardinael failed to meet two of the goals outlined in his original contract -- raising $395,000 by Oct. 1, 1998, and moving the arena by March 31, 1999. Stiffler, an early opponent of moving the rodeo grounds, was joined by Council member Hoby Herron in voting against the contract extension.
After further debate, Council member Ray Schum earned a round of applause from most of those in the audience -- many of whom were Payson ProRodeo Committee members -- when he summed up his feelings about the project.
"This project has been in the planning stages for years," Schum said. "Now, we're just six months from completing it and we're talking about bailing out?"
Council member Barbara Brewer added that to not extend Cardinael's contract, which could jeopardize the completion of the relocation, would be a "slap in the face to all of those who have worked so hard out there."
In the end, Cardinael had the votes he needed to continue his mission through September.
In other action, the council approved a rezoning of two lots at the Rim Club subdivision to allow for access via South Tyler Parkway instead of Highway 260. As part of the agreement, the Rim Club developers must repair the wear and tear they have put on Granite Dells Road and maintain it throughout the rest of their construction.