Needs Must Be Placed Ahead Of Wants On Town's Priority List



Local roads and air quality are deteriorating because of long-term neglect.

The road conditions and lack of sidewalks in many areas are a visible and recognizable commodity. As they are health and safety factors, they should receive the attention they deserve.

Some of the less deserving roads are getting million dollar improvements because, it seems, they have a relation to economic and growth issues. In the meantime, the worst ones get nothing but more neglect.

As for the reduction in air quality which was once among the very best, it is an invisible commodity that cannot be recognized with the naked eye. The town has been in violation of P.M. 10 air pollution standards for over five years and the air quality monitor is not located where it can measure air quality in the eastern part of town. There are about 8.5 miles of dirt road in Payson and many of them produce severe pollution, most of them on the east side.

Air quality and infrastructure don't seem to qualify for high priority in our local government. But they do have a program on the table where existing citizens are asked to give a 50-percent grant to help with needed infrastructure improvements. It seems that this is a morally irresponsible way to provide for citizens' needs.

The over-used statement that there is only "so much money" cannot be disputed, but the way too much of it is being used on new projects, that seem to be tied to growth and economic development, surely can. The long-term neglect is very obvious to those who pay attention and a new course must be charted.

The local chamber of commerce has a lifestyle/visitors guide magazine in circulation that appears to be propaganda literature intended to sensationalize Payson's attractiveness, regardless of any drawbacks such as future water availability.

Also, on page 16 it states that "Payson's air is as clean as it was a century ago!" Of course, years of increased traffic, in and through town, a great loss of big trees, and unpaved road dust play no part in this false assessment! The person or persons responsible for material like this should have no credibility at all, especially when it comes to making recommendation to town council about any decision on projects that affect its citizens.

It seems that every technicality in state law or local ordinance is being used to insulate the town from its prescribed responsibilities to its current citizens. All the while, these same methods could be used to provide for their needs.

No town should allow so many roads to deteriorate for so many years. Allowing fugitive dust to impair its air quality for so long is unacceptable. All dirt roads must have some type of pavement or chemical stabilization to mitigate this problem now the government must see to it and not allow any exception to occur.

On the long trip for improved conditions, the wants must ride at the rear of the bus until all the needs arrive at their long-awaited destination!

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