Council Split Over Water 'Refunds'

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The Payson Town Council split Thursday night on the question of rebates for new developers who will use less water than estimated.

After some discussion, a 4-3 decision gave the nod to a motion that Public Works Director Buzz Walker be given the authority to adjust water impact fees after two years of actual water use for new developers.

Council member Jim Spencer motioned that Walker be given the authority to true up on charges or refunds after two years of business occupancy.

Mayor Vern Stiffler and Council members Hoby Herron and Ray Schum cast the dissenting votes.

No one on the council objected to a portion of the amended ordinance that dealt with defining an "equivalent peak residential unit." But Stiffler and others objected to the second phase of the ordinance that stated that if the water use is over the estimated amount, the developer would pay the town -- and if under, a refund would be made.

"I look at this change of policy as making an inroad into what I believe is money for water," Stiffler said. "I can't buy this refund at all."

"I don't think we should rebate anyone," Herron said.

The ordinance will go back to Town Attorney Sam Streichman to be re-worded to include giving Walker the authority to adjust fees.

In other business, the council unanimously approved a request by Payson Fire Chief John Ross to award the contract to build the north fire station to Superior Steel Buildings, Inc. for a total cost of $376,070.

Superior Steel's bid was one of six submitted and was $14,000 less expensive than the second bidder, Ross said.

He told the council the fire station should be completed by Sept. 19. A groundbreaking ceremony will be held at the Rancho Road site near the Beeline Highway on April 12.

The council also approved Ross' request to provide lockout services for emergency situations only, beginning April 5. The vote was 6-1 with Council member Jack Monschein casting the dissenting vote.

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