More Bleachers, More Land Top Council's Agenda

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Thursday evening's Payson Town Council meeting may finally bring an end to a pair of long-running mini-dramas.


The subject of additional bleachers for the August rodeo grounds has been tabled several times over the past few months as councilmembers tried to decide whether the answer was to purchase, lease, or rent-to-lease the seats. At the last meeting, the council finally approved the expenditure of $14,000 for bleacher rentals which would bring the total seating capacity to 3,330.


From whence will they come? That answer may arrive Thursday, as Parks and Recreation Director Bill Schwind files a request concerning bids for bleacher procurement.


Another debate -- this one three years in the making -- will be rekindled by Town Manager Rich Underkofler as he seeks to authorize an application under authority of the Town Site Act for the town to acquire the SR-87 right-of-way -- as well as approximately 20 acres of land west of SR-87 that the Tonto Apaches have proposed to acquire from the National Forest in a land exchange with the U.S. Forest Service.


The land in question is adjacent to and south of the Payson-owned site of the new multi-event center.


According to Underkofler, the tribe intends to seek federal trust status for the land it acquires in this exchange -- exempting the land from state and local laws including zoning, taxation, public health and safety laws.


Policies of the National League of Cities and the Arizona League of Cities and Towns not only oppose the creation of additional trust land, Underkofler's request states, but also suggest that Native American-owned land should be treated like land held by private corporations.


Underkofler's request, he said, will preserve a "level playing field" between the Tribe and the town.


In another request before the council Thursday, Public Works Engineer LaRon Garrett writes, "Now that the new police station is almost complete, we are ready to start some minor renovations to the existing Town Hall."


Spragins & Hinshaw Architects have completed plans for these changes, Garrett reports. While the bid amount for construction was not available at press time, the amount budgeted for the project is set at $150,000.


The Payson Town Council meets in its chambers at town hall, 303 N. Beeline Highway, beginning at 6 p.m.

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