Mayor Schum's presentation against the "affordable housing project" last Thursday, prior to the voting by the town council, was irresponsible, thoughtless and totally off the mark. One does not need a degree in economics to know that a minimum-wage earner, or a teacher making $22,000 per year, cannot afford an $80,000 home.
Mayor Schum must not have felt the pulse of the community before he pronounced the "affordable housing project" dead. There are many families with two wage earners in Payson who can afford an $80,000 to $100,000 home, but they cannot afford the average list price, which is currently $182,250.
It is Mayor Schum's responsibility to present the true facts to the council and the town's people, not the uninformed, biased opinion he presented last Thursday.
Councilmember Barbara Brewer's reason for her "no" vote was low wages in the community. Unless we retain our middle-income families, who are the vital support engine of our community, it will be very difficult to urge light industry and other businesses with higher paying jobs, to locate in our community.
Councilman Hoby Herron's "no" vote was not a surprise. He previously stated he is against any development which would entice more people to come to Payson. In a recent article in the Roundup, June 27, 2000, Mr. Herron was asked, "Why Payson?"
He answered, "When we came here 24 years ago, it was a small mountain town with few problems and friendly people. That is no longer here. I have been robbed of what I moved here for."
Perhaps Councilman Herron wants to stop all progress in the Town of Payson. I moved here three years ago because Payson is a small mountain town, and the majority of the people are very friendly. Has Mr. Herron also lost touch?
Councilmembers Dick Wolfe, Ken Murphy, Jim Spencer and Bryan Siverson should be commended for considering the needs of the community as a whole, and not just a few with special interests. It is their type of leadership and thinking that will lead Payson to a future with economic opportunities for all its citizens.
Gordon Metcalf, Payson