On The Library, Housing And Growth


There are so many issues confronting Payson that railing against the onslaught of "progress" seems to be as productive as spitting into the wind.

One current "crisis" is the funding of our town library. And it is an issue with difficult choices for it is not simply an issue of whether the Town of Payson or Gila County is responsible for funding the library. The Town of Payson assumed that responsibility by establishing a town library. Gila County retained the responsibility for those unincorporated areas which chose to provide library services. The voters of Payson made that choice, not the voters of Gila County.

But the issue is not that simple. This is 1999, and publicly funded health care -- which was not even a blip on the event horizon a decade or two ago -- has become the eight-zillion dollar burden that all of us who actually pay taxes must bear.

And, again, this is Payson. We consume more public funds than we can ever hope to contribute. Medicare, welfare and retiree payouts -- more than any rational calculation could justify. And as far as income for most of those of us who actually work, the income level is so close to the minimum wage that living in Payson is a choice bordering on economic desperation. So, why are we crying about Gila County actually assessing us for the money they spend for providing us the services that we consume?

And this is the same community that is willing to spend two- to three-million dollars -- and probably at lot more -- on a library edifice that is basically a monument to some person's ego. And yes, there is a name, but it won't go on until the monument is built.

With all the vacant retail space in Payson, is there some reason that a "storefront library" could not provide the physical resource the community needs? And with the money the Town of Payson is willing to spend on this "monument," they could also provide each and every family in Payson a computer and thus access to more information than their new "ego gratification" could ever hold. And on top of that, more people would actually use that access than will ever cross the doors of the "library." Does a thousand-to-one ratio ring true?

Articles about development around Chaparral Pines, continue, but one question sticks in my mind. Why is it that one constant concern about any proposed development even close to Chaparral Pines or The Rim is that it must have an accommodations for low or moderate (is this $300,000 or less?) housing, when none of these restrictions were placed on Chaparral Pines itself?

Why can't we have some of our economically disadvantaged residents abide on the cultivated greens of Chaparral or The Rim? Sounds fair to me! Why doesn't it sound fair to our elected council? If they require other developers to adhere to one standard, why not to their most prominent - and wealthy - neighbors.

My opinion? I think there ought to be a gate fee at both Chaparral Pines and The Rim. Since you and me, the common taxpayers, are not welcome in their walled sanctuary, perhaps we should charge them a "community tax" to exit their enclave. After all, their contribution to Payson is as close to zero as you can calculate - with the possible exception of construction and material suppliers.

Wal-Mart! Gosh, I love that store. What would I do here in Payson without it. They've got what I want, mostly, at prices I can afford. And they have next to no competition here in Payson. It is a long drive to the Valley or Flagstaff.

But I still chaff at where they chose to place their new "superstore". Of all the areas in Payson to clear cut for an asphalt slab! It was a pretty hillside with some nice trails leading to Rumsey Park. But, money talks. And the adjoining property owner be damned.

As so Payson grows.

Thomas R. Craig

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