The hiring of three additional police officers is included in a proposed budget for next year that won Payson Town Council support Wednesday night.
Council members voted unanimously to proceed with the hiring of the officers, a turnaround of their earlier decision to strike Police Chief Gordon Gartner's request for five new officers and a police sergeant from the proposed budget.
At the first work study budget session June 2, officers and their supporters spoke to the council for two hours, protesting the decision to strike Gartner's request for more officers.
The council voted 7-0 Wednesday to support the requests of police officers and their families to add new patrol officers and cut down on overtime in the department.
At the second and final work study session of the proposed budget, Wednesday, the council also approved a change in the bed tax from $1 per night to 3 percent on transient lodging. The additional revenue from the bed tax, about $64,000, will be used to cover increased costs in the general fund related to relocating and maintaining the rodeo grounds.
Council members also approved inclusion in the budget of other new requests, the allocation of $46,000 for a down payment to purchase hangars at the airport. The council voted 6-1 in favor of the request by Town Manager Rich Underkofler, who said that the 10-unit hangar structure would be self-supporting because the spaces could be rented out.
Council member Jack Monschein voted against the measure, saying "What do we want it for?"
The council unanimously approved adding $50,000 to the $45,000 already allocated in next year's budget for the Green Valley Redevelopment Project.
Dick Wolfe, chairman of the redevelopment project, and Sharesse Von Strauss, the project director, asked the council for the additional $50,000 for seed money for the plan.
Wolfe told the council that without the added money, the plan for the project, which includes loans for businesses, a demonstration project, and money toward matching grants, would go the way previous plans for the Main Street area have gone.
Von Strauss told the council that the big question for the redevelopment committee is how to get the project off the ground.
"There are matching grants available," she said, "but the key word is 'matching'."
Mayor Vern Stiffler said he has some concerns about public funds going into private business, but voted in favor of giving the committee the requested money on the condition that the council has the opportunity to review the projects.
Council member Jim Spencer said, "The benefits to this town (from the Green Valley Redevelopment Project) are huge. I think we need to look at this in the long term."
The Town Council will adopt the tentative budget and hold an expenditure limitation hearing on or before July 20.
Copies of the proposed budget will then be available for examination by the public.
The council will hold a public hearing and adopt the final budget at a special Town Council meeting or work-study session Aug. 5.
Major capital expenditures proposed for 1999-2000
- $1,825,931-Street Improvements
• $1,682,958-Water Supply Exploration & Development
- $1,633,500-New Police Facility
• $705,102-Airport Improvements
• $420,000-Payson North Fire/EMT Substation
- $409,846-Affordable Housing Initiatives (CDBG Grants)
- $400,000-Reserve for New Public Library
- $230,000-Street Department Equ
• $150,000-Town Hall Renovation (Area Vacated by Police)
- $150,000-Replacement Police Vehicles (Lease Purchase)
- $113,000-Rodeo Grounds Relocation
- $110,000-Rumsey Park Capital Project (Development Impact Fees)
- $57,000-Rehab of 1981 Pierce Fire Engine
- $50,000-Relocation Public Works Modular Building to Sky Park
- $45,000-Main Street/Green Valley Area Redevelopment
- $40,000-Town Engineer Records Imaging System
- $40,000-Pave Rumsey Park Roads
• $40,000-Resurface Swimming Pool Decks