While the rest of the world takes a look back at the end of the millennium, we'd like to train our editorial eye on the future of the Rim country.
Ten years from now, we'd like to know a Payson where government is still approachable and responsive to its citizens; where crime rates are still on the decline; where town leaders have the guts to plan for the future and the gumption to forge the way.
The town we envision has a well-established multi-event center that has grown to become the focal point of the Rim country's entertainment industry.
Our Payson of the future enjoys a plentiful water supply, discovered by ingenious leaders who are equally as forward-thinking as ourselves.
Teenagers relish the time they spend with friends at a local recreation center. Family values have made a miraculous return; church attendance is at an all-time high; respect is not just the title of a song, but rather the basis for every personal and professional relationship.
On the business front, Payson has returned to its roots, with a burgeonning Main Street district, flavored with an "Old West" theme reminiscent of Old Town Scottsdale. Residents have a wide range of shopping choices, from quaint little shoppes to Home Depot and Target.
The town has solved its affordable housing problems, and low-income wages are a thing of the past, giving parents the opportunity to raise their children here and providing business owners with a deep labor pool.
Residents are involved in their community. They vote in every election, participate in public debate and don't put up with any shenanigans from their elected officials.
And families enjoy weekly trips to the movies -- not to Phoenix or Flagstaff -- but just across town. In the future they won't have to worry how far they'll have to drive to see a movie, but which of the local theaters they want go to.
In the more immediate future, however, we hope you all have a happy New Year and a safe Y2K.