Council Decides To Keep Maintaining Dirt Roads

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For people who live along some 8-1/2 miles of dirt roads the town has been maintaining since 1974, the idea of accepting them into the town's street system was simple enough -- and equitable.

"They've graded them for years," one man told the Payson Town Council Thursday night. "I think you ought to accept them."

And that's what the council tried to do at its March 11 meeting in a 3-2 vote that had town staff scrambling for answers. Council member Jack Monschein said Thursday that the intent of his motion was to accept the roads for minimal maintenance.

Town Manager Rich Underkofler asked the council to clarify its position and suggested another motion be made. The council went into executive session briefly to discuss legal concerns and re-worded the previous motion to direct staff to continue providing minimum maintenance on the dirt roads.

The vote was 6-0 in favor of the motion, which included a provision to direct staff to seek alternatives for maintaining the dirt roads, such as private contractors. Mayor Vern Stiffler was absent.

Buzz Walker, public works director for the town, explained that most of the money the street department uses is from special funds, which are restricted. He said the money to fix the dirt roads to a higher standard of construction that could be accepted by the town would have to come from the general fund, which would take away from other projects.

Town Council member Ken Murphy told the audience, "We're going to adopt them as we can, but we'll continue to maintain them."

Hillside rules delayed
In other business Thursday, the council tabled a decision to amend a section of the Unified Development Code pertaining to hillside development and agreed to send the amendment back to the Planning and Zoning Commission to be re-worked.

Dick Wolfe and Bob Flibotte, of the Planning and Zoning Commission, both talked about their concerns with some of the omissions in the Hillside Development Ordinance and asked that it be sent back to the commission.

Flibotte said he objected to the council removing the density provision without addressing other related items in the ordinance.

"This is basically a Payson IV Exchange ordinance," Flibotte said. "These are the sorts of things that need to go to P & Z."

The council also authorized the expenditure of $3,000 each from the water and recreation departments to pay Harvey Mills Design for irrigation consultant services for the Payson Golf Course.

Town staff is looking at the feasibility of acquiring the Payson Golf Course. The site is irrigated with effluent and the golf course has a contract that extends to 2002, when its rates for effluent are to be re-negotiated with the Northern Gila County Sanitary District.

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