Payson building fees, which are slightly higher than the state norm, are putting the pinch on affordable housing here, according to a 17-page report compiled by Payson's Affordable Housing Committee.
The committee will meet with the Payson Town Council during a public meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday to discuss its findings and its recommendations for a community-wide affordable housing plan.
The committee studied the cost of building homes in Payson and how the town's building permit and impact fees affect housing costs. The committee will recommend that the Payson Town Council review the town's fee schedules and regulatory practices for ways to encourage affordable housing projects.
The committee also studied the town's demographics and how that affects local housing demands. It found that in 1996, 30 percent of the households in Payson were earning less than $15,000 a year. During that same year, 50 percent of the wage earners in town were earning less than $25,000 a year.
According to 1990 census information, 12 percent of the town's population lived at or below the poverty level, and 64 percent of those people were women between the ages of 18 and 64.
In its report to the council, the committee recommends that the town should dedicate staff toward engaging the public and other agencies in developing affordable housing in town.
The committee's overall objective is to secure town funding and develop local affordable housing projects for people with special needs.
The council's regular meeting will follow at 6 p.m. and will include a resolution to adopt town policies regarding the sale and exchange of Tonto National Forest land in and around Payson.
If approved, the town will submit the resolution to the U.S. Forest Service for consideration in its Tonto Forest Land Management Plan update.
According to the draft resolution, the elected leadership of the town continues to support the exchange of Forest Service lands within the town's boundaries for municipal, educational and private ownership.
It asks the Forest Service to make land available for sale or exchange in phases -- as new water supplies and financing to develop them become available -- to help the town manage its water supplies.
The town's first priority for exchange is land south of the Payson Municipal Airport. The council may ask the Forest Service to withdraw from land exchanges at the northwest side of the airport due to conflict with the airport's traffic pattern operations.
The council also will consider a request by Parks and Recreation Director Bill Schwind to award a bid for ball field lights at two athletic fields in North Rumsey Park. Competitive bids were opened Monday.
Also on the agenda is a request to award a bid for two sets of bleachers for the new rodeo grounds. The added bleachers would provide seating for 840 spectators. Schwind said Tuesday that he received no bids for the bleachers.
Both the affordable housing meeting and the regular council meeting will be held in the council chambers at Town Hall, 303 N. Beeline Highway.