After a brief adjournment to confer with legal council, the Payson Town Council voted Thursday night to extend Barry Cardinael's contract as relocation coordinator through the completion of the new arena entrance and sewer projects.
At a salary comparable to what he's receiving now to oversee these two stages of the rodeo arena relocation project, Cardinael will be paid a flat fee of $5,000. Those two tasks are expected to take about five weeks to complete, depending on weather, said Town Engineer LaRon Garrett.
Cardinael's last contract extension with the town ended Jan. 8. Two items before the council this week addressed his continued employment with the town as rodeo relocation coordinator.
The first proposal by councilmember Jim Spencer, Jack Monschein and Vice Mayor Ken Murphy, would have extended Cardinael's contract to May 31, at $1,000 a week. The second proposal, filed by Garrett, suggested a shorter extension that could keep Cardinael on the town payroll on a limited basis.
Speaking against both proposals in what former mayor Cliff Potts called a "campaign speech," council candidate Ruby Finney reiterated her previous objections to the contract extension.
"Websters New World Dictionary says a 'boondoggle' is 'a pointless expenditure, especially one financed with public funds,'" she said.
"Let our town employees complete the rodeo arena only," Finney said, "and let's get out of show business and get back to town business."
In his comments to the council, Potts said it was crucial when considering a new contract that council keep an eye on value.
"This has taken shape on a pretty narrow budget for a project of that caliber," Potts said. "The town has received a lot of value on that. I would like you to take a look at that as you move forward, not how much it's cost but the value you've received.
"For my tax money, I'd just as soon see the contract extended for the next five or six months to make sure it's done all the way."
After adding a few amendments to the original motion, the council approved the revised extension at a cost of $2,000 now, with the remaining $3,000 to be paid to Cardinael at the completion of the entrance and sewer work at the rodeo grounds.
Cardinael said after the meeting he was honored to be able to continue working on the project for another five weeks.
In another controversial item on the agenda, the council discussed the proposed purchase of property along Main Street from Kaibab Industries. If purchasedat a cost of $190,214, the land would eventually be used to build a connector street from Main to Aero Drive and off-street parking for the proposed Sawmill Crossing Shopping Center.
Objecting to the purchase, Stiffler said such a proposal should be considered and prioritized along with the rest of the capital improvement projects.
Gordon Whiting, vice president of Kaibab Industries' property management division, said this land purchase was somewhat time-dependent because Kaibab needed the money as part of its financing package, and also as a show of commitment to the entire Main Street redevelopment project.
"Also, the theater business is somewhat of a seasonal one, and if we start construction in March, we can have the theater complex completed prior to Thanksgiving. We'd like to have it completed sometime in October," Whiting said. "If you miss the November-December season, it really hurts the profitability of the facility."
If it will help get a theater built faster, Vice Mayor Murphy said he was all for the land purchase.
"In 5 1/2 years I've been on the council, I have not been asked by more citizens for any single thing than a movie theater," Murphy said. "Most have been from my mother."
After some debate about government subsidization of private industry, the council narrowly approved the Kaibab purchase, with the mayor and councilmembers Jack Monschein and Hoby Herron dissenting.