The $27.5 million proposed budget for 1999-2000 presented to the Payson Town Council by Town Manager Rich Underkofler is full of checks and balances -- checks to be written for expenditures carefully balanced against the town's expected revenues, grant moneys, and savings from the current budget.
The Town Council has yet to formally discuss the proposed budget, and members of the public will have opportunities to comment on it before it is adopted.
But if the budget passes as proposed, town employees will get merit increases on the anniversary of the date they were hired. Promotions and merit pay increases will be offset by a carryover in last year's budget of nearly $300,000 in payroll moneys.
Last year's actual payroll expenditures were under budget because newly hired employees were paid less than their predecessors and not all employees received merit increases.
More than $33,000 would go to hire a new customer service representative in the Community Development Department.
Maintaining dirt roads will cost the town $100,000. Another $35,000 is needed to operate and maintain the new multi-event center.
The current budget assumed that the Community Development Department would be self-sufficient with plan review and building permit fees paying for the department's expenses, but new housing starts did not meet expectations this past year. The department's expenses are expected to exceed its 1998-1999 revenues by more than $75,000.
The Community Development Department will add another $11,000 to its operating budget in the coming year to maintain its new building.
If building permit revenues fail to rebound, town staff proposes to shift funds from the General Fund to the Capital Projects Grant Fund, to defer updating the town's general plan, and to reduce the number of building inspectors by attrition.
The town also plans to establish a separate fund for all airport assets, liabilities, revenues and expenditures.
Acquiring the Payson Golf Course
The recommended 1999-2000 budget would also anticipate acquisition of the Payson Golf Course from the Parsons family and will establish a separate fund for the golf course.
Negotiations for the purchase price will be with the understanding that operation, maintenance, and debt service will be entirely financed by golf course user charges.
In relation to the golf course, the recommended budget assumes the following:
- A $2.64 million acquisition price;
- A $735,000 pledge from the town's water fund to acquire 21 additional acres of land owned by the Parsons family which is adjacent to the golf course. The purchase of the additional property would enable the town to gain access to a potential water supply.
- A $264,000 down payment from the water fund for 10 percent of the acquisition cost. The balance would be financed over 20 years at a 5 percent tax-exempt interest rate.
- Six months of operations under management by the town.
Town may start trash program.
Next year's recommended budget also assumes revenues and expenditures of nearly $500,000 for the town to assume responsibility for collection of residential waste and to enhance recycling. The service is expected to begin at the first of the year by a contract awarded to a private hauler.
Town staff anticipates that the cost for customers will be $1 less per month than current rates from private haulers operating within the town.
Town staff will seek grants from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality for the town's recycling efforts.
Proposed capital projects
Capital projects anticipated in the 1999-2000 Town of Payson budget include the following projects, which are estimated to be more than $100,000:
- $1.8 million for street improvements;
- $1.7 million for water exploration and development;
- $1.6 million for the new police facility;
- $705,000 for airport improvements;
- $420,000 for Payson North Fire Station;
- $410,000 for affordable housing initiatives using CDBG grants;
- $400,000 reserve for the new library;
- $230,000 lease purchase of street department equipment;
- $170,000 drainage master plan;
• $150,000 Town Hall renovation (area vacated by police);
- $150,000 lease purchase of police vehicles;
- $113,000 for relocation of rodeo grounds from Rumsey Park;
- $110,000 capital improvements at Rumsey Park (using development impact fees).
Among the projects ranging from $30,000 to nearly $60,000 are the rehabilitation of the town's 1989 Pierce fire engine; relocation of the public works modular building to Sky Park; Main Street-Green Valley Area redevelopment; and paving Rumsey Park roads.
Town budget process
Work study sessions of the Town Council to consider next year's operating and capital budget will be held at 6 p.m. June 2 and 9 in the Town Hall Council Chambers.
Citizens can present written comments for council consideration at these meetings by sending them to Mayor Vern Stiffler and members of the Town Council, 303 N. Beeline Highway, Payson, AZ 85541.
The work study meetings will be open to the public.
A formal public hearing on the proposed budget has been tentatively scheduled for early July.
The 1999 Corporate Strategic Plan draft, which includes 1999-2000 Budget Assumptions and Priorities, is available for review in the Finance Department at the Payson Town Hall.