Town May Join Area Water Plan Partnership

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The Payson Town Council will consider becoming a partner in a group that is seeking water for Northern Gila County when it holds its regular meeting Thursday.

The council will consider a request by Council member Barbara Brewer to formalize its involvement with the creation of the Northern Gila County Water Plan Partnership.

Buzz Walker, public works director for the town, said Payson is already involved with a study group that is putting the partnership together. He said an affirmative vote Thursday would commit Payson to the process and create an alliance that will lend legitimacy to the partnership.

The amended memorandum from Gila County Supervisor Ron Christensen, chairman of the Northern Gila County Study Group that will become the partnership, allows for Payson or any other member of the group to make independent decisions and to withdraw from the partnership with a 30-day notice.

"We still have our own areas of study that we're looking at," Walker said Tuesday.

The partnership document has been recommended to the Town Council for approval and includes provisions for a steering committee which will be comprised of one representative from each of the parties involved. These include Arizona Department of Water Resources, Gila County Board of Supervisors, Tonto Apache Tribal Council, Payson Town Council, Pine-Strawberry Water Improvement District Board, Rim Trail Domestic Water Improvement District Board and Brooke Utilities Inc.

Two at-large members of the steering committee would also be appointed by the Gila County Board of Supervisors, bringing the total number of steering committee members to nine.

The partnership will also consist of representatives from various organizations that will provide technical advice, but will not have a vote in the business of the partnership.

Areas of study include West Clear Creek, East Clear Creek, Blue Ridge Reservoir, the East Verde River, and lakes, rivers, streams, reservoirs and groundwater basins throughout northern Gila County.

Other business on Thursday's agenda includes:

  • Consideration of a request to authorize the police department to go to bid for construction of the new police facility.
  • A public hearing regarding the potential uses of Community Development Block Grants.
  • Discussion of a request by Karen Buchanan, a Payson resident, regarding the adoption of an ordinance limiting the noise from boom boxes in vehicles.

The Town Council meets at 6 p.m. Thursday in the Town Hall Council Chambers at 303 N. Beeline Highway.

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