Council Adopts Record Budget

$39.8-million fund includes aggressive street program

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With only a small handful of residents present, Mayor Ray Schum opened Thursday's special Payson Town Council meeting by noting an oddity: Of all the little issues that normally pack the seats at Town Hall, here was a biggie the adoption of a record-breaking town budget amounting to almost $40 million that seemed of little public interest.

The session was required under state statutes to adopt the final budget for the coming fiscal year. In July, the council adopted the tentative budget.

Chief Financial Officer Glenn Smith opened his presentation by saying that there were minor errors in the budget figures previously released, which he had calculated before the budget was adjusted in July.

"I corrected all of the data right after the meeting," he told the council, "but I forgot to give (the town clerk) a corrected memo."

The town's actual estimated budget for the coming fiscal year is $39,880,117 about $300 more than previously announced which includes an expected $5.3-million carryover from this year's budget.

Included within the total budget is $8 million for a water fund that may or may not be used.

"If this wasn't built into the budget and you found water in the forest, you wouldn't be able to do anything with that water," Smith said.

Two public hearing items on the council's agenda concerned the primary and secondary taxes.

The primary tax is expected to provide $336,800 in revenues, at a rate of $0.3355 per $100 of assessed value up from the originally released rate of $0.3167. The secondary tax is set at $0.1210 per $100 of assessed value. Both are scheduled for adoption by the council at this Thursday's regular meeting.

Allocation of funds

The big ticket items on this year's financial sheet include the library building project and what has been tagged as the town's most ambitious street budget ever a $5.4 million step toward the council's goal to eliminate all dirt roads within town limits. That program will begin with the paving of Doll Baby Ranch Road from the Payson Golf Course to town limits near the sanitary district.

The overall street budget includes $959,000 to rebuild McLane Road from Forest to Airport roads, and $750,000 to improve Airport Road from McLane Road west to the airport. About 50 percent of the latter project will be funded by a grant from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Still, Smith has said, the fiscal year's spotlight project will be the new library building at Rumsey Park, which will receive about $2.24 million or two-thirds of the capital project fund's $3.096 million.

The budget also includes money to hire three full-time firefighter/EMTs for the Payson Fire Department, an airport manager and a full-time grant writer.

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