Mayor's argument against airport affordable housing project flawed
On Thursday evening, Mayor Ray Schum and councilmembers Barbara Brewer and Hoby Herron voted against a rezoning request that would have allowed 203 affordable housing units to be built near Mazatzal Mountain Air Park.
Mayor Schum defended his position by presenting councilmembers with a pair of charts showing how much the payments would be for an $80,000 home, and how minimum wage earners in Payson would not be able to afford those payments.
We are alarmed that this opportunity may have been missed for so many families because it was being held up against minimum wage comparisons. This project was never designed for minimum wage earners. There are many middle-income families in Payson whose breadwinners are working for more than minimum wage, but who still cannot afford the average list price of a home on the market today in Payson which is currently $182,250.
They, like many Roundup employees, would jump at the chance to purchase a brand new home for $80,000.
After the council meeting, Schum used entry level teachers, who earn approximately $22,000 per year, as an example of other workers who would not be able to afford the payments of such homes. But there are many teachers and professional workers who, when they combine their salaries with their spouses', would most certainly be able to become first-time homeowners with an affordable housing project such as this.
It is impossible to find the perfect affordable housing solution. But when a project comes along that has merit, we hope those hard-working families waiting in the batter's box will be given more consideration.