Town Must Accept Responsibility For Long-Maintained Dirt Roads


After reading a report on the maintenance of dirt roadways in Payson compiled by the transportation administrator, that took nine months to complete, I have concerns about the area that includes East Canyon Drive and Graham Ranch Road.

The indication is that the town is now considering these to be private roads and will reduce or cease maintenance.

I researched a court decision that ruled that "dedication is the intentional appropriation of land by the owner to some proper public use."

The town's use of a right-of-way on these roads, dedicated to public use, to participate in residential development and collect fees, while, at the same time (in the past as well as the present), assisting in the creation of a public nuisance (fugitive dust), has established a de-facto acceptance by the town of the original owners' dedication of these as public roads.

This is further evidenced by the fact that they have been collecting property taxes on a public unimproved roadway for over 20 years and have made no plans for improvements over the next 20 years. The people have also been paying their regular property taxes (which the town shares in), gasoline road taxes, town taxes on utilities and sales tax. Taxation without representation.

The town's theory seems to be "the longer we can collect, the longer we can neglect"!

During the 1970s the town paved several miles of dirt roads each summer and also applied dust suppressant to problem areas. Whatever happened to this public service?

The town can spend money to improve conditions on public roads but it seems their objective is to declare them private roads and wash their hands of all responsibility. They want to put the total burden of paving roads in this category on the people, when the town was a partner in creating the problem. They have an obligation to accept their share of the burden and take the initiative in solving the dilemma.

Paving is the ultimate solution, especially for an incorporated town and its citizens. This appears to be a long way off without town help and cooperation. An indication that this is not available at this time is an extreme reduction in road grading in this area. This decision must have been made by someone in authority and can cause hazardous road conditions.

If a town wants to do something, they can find a hundred ways to do it, but if they don't want to do it, they can find a thousand excuses not to! The town's multitude of resources allows it to take either direction, while the public that disagree with the selected path are left to combat Goliath with a slingshot loaded with a B.B.

An example of a fairly recent aggravation of a public nuisance is a water line that was installed on Canyon Drive and a part of Graham Ranch Road to service the Graham Ranch Circle subdivision. After it was in place the dust generated in a certain area was twice as bad as it was before. This has been reported more than once, but received no attention. Does this type of situation benefit our air quality? Is a reasonable quality of life one that includes suffocating clouds of dust?

Part of the town's mission statement says that it is "dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for our citizens by providing a superior quality of service."

A good place to start would be the application of ground asphalt dust palliative, which can be very durable, and would greatly reduce the need for grading, and if properly applied, would mitigate dust pollution.

Today's town officials must find solutions to yesteryear's deficiencies that have been neglected far too long.

Jack Jasper

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