Although it was not formally presented to the town council Thursday during its regular meeting, Councilmember Ray Schum announced that the Payson Economic Development Corporation was ready to cough up $30,000 to buy bleachers for the new rodeo grounds, as long as the town was willing to chip in another $30,000.
Schum said PEDC was concerned with the reduction of seating capacity at the new arena --from its present 32,000 seats to 1,600 at the new rodeo grounds. That reduction, Schum said, could have an adverse effect on the town's economy during rodeo and festival seasons.
"It's a good proposal," Mayor Vern Stiffler said Tuesday morning. "We had envisioned putting an additional two sections (of bleachers) out there, at least that was my feeling. With this proposal, we should be able to put up three sections."
Stiffler said, however, that no decision would be made on the proposal until the Jan. 27 council meeting.
In a rare move by the council, an ordinance amendment up for consideration last week was thrown out, paving the way for people to continue parking their cars along roadsides with "for sale" signs in the windows.
The issue was initially raised by Councilmember Barbara Brewer. Brewer said she became concerned about the issue when she learned that on Oct. 30, 1999, the day Payson Police Officer Allen Dyer was shot, at least one other officer was delayed to the scene because he was responding to a report of a private vehicle parked on a public lot for sale.
"It is the lowest priority call we get," Police Chief Gordon Gartner said. "Sometimes, we would never get to them, and that bothers the individual officers because they see that as not getting their work done."
The proposal before the council would have taken the responsibility of enforcing the existing ordinance out of the officers' hands, and placed it with the building department. It further would have put the onus on the vehicle owner to make sure he or she had permission from the property owner.
"If the council is hesitant to do this, then in an informal sense, we will clearly communicate to our staff that this is the absolute lowest priority activity that we can be called to," Gartner said. "If we don't get to it for two or three days, or whatever, than that's OK."
"I don't see what would fall apart if we don't do this," Stiffler said. That led the charge to dump the amendment. In the end, the council voted unanimously to leave the present ordinance in tact.
An ordinance that did earn council consent was a measure that prohibits "engine braking," a noisy method of deceleration commonly used by truck drivers.
Apparently, Stiffler said, the noise created by engine braking has been the source of tremendous annoyance for a number of residents. This ordnance, similar to ordinances approved by many communities throughout the state, would establish a maximum $1,000 fine to truckers who violate the ordinance.
"How do you handle it if I were driving a semi-rig down Highway 87, and some kid darted in front of me, and I had to use my jake brake to stop?" asked councilmember Jack Monschein.
Chief Gartner said that would be a case when the spirit of the law would override the letter of the law. Gartner said public safety should always take precedence over minor annoyances.
The ordinance was unanimously approved.
Another item approved by the council Thursday night will enhance the town's summer concert series.
Town staff was given the go-ahead to purchase lumber and materials from Lumbermen's to put a roof over the state at Green Valley Park. That stage was built last summer, and was immediately put to use for the town's summer concert series.
Lumbermen's outbid the estimate by Foxworth Galbraith, and threw in a $2,000 donation to the town, making the total cost $6,306.34.