Town Manager Defends Council's Actions

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by Richard Underkofler

payson town manager

Mayor Ray Schum asked me to respond to a guest commentary in the June 20 edition of the Roundup by A.W. Pike.

Mr. Pike offers examples of instances in which he believes the Mayor and Town Council have been unresponsive to needs of the "majority of the townspeople."

His first example is a proposed intergovernmental agreement with the Arizona Department of Transportation for the town to share in 25 percent of the cost of an intersection improvement at SR-87 and SR-260. Mr. Pike suggests this improvement is "not needed except on weekends when the people from the South arrive."

Perhaps Mr. Pike is not aware of the congestion that occurs at this intersection during weekdays since he resides in the southeast part of town.

According to Tom Foster, ADOT Prescott District Engineer, this intersection had 63 accidents over the period May 1, 1995 through April 30, 1998. These accidents resulted in one fatality and 18 personal injuries. The accident rate is in the top five of all accident locations within ADOT's Prescott District.

Mr. Pike is critical of the Airport Road Improvement Project, which will be financed with the assistance of a $370,454 ADOT grant. Mr. Pike says this project "won't benefit anyone except the dozen or so pedestrians who may walk this stretch over the period of maybe a year. It's to impress the big money people who fly into Payson in their planes and corporate jets."

Again, perhaps Mr. Pike is not aware of the traffic on this road, which serves as the main route into town for hundreds of persons who reside west of the airport.

Mr. Pike suggests there is a higher priority need for sidewalks on Bonita Street between the school campus and SR-87 and on Frontier Street between St. Phillips and Mud Springs Road.

The Town Council recently awarded a contract to install sidewalks on Bonita. The project should be completed before school resumes this fall. Sidewalks are programmed for Frontier Street next year.

The Town Council gives priority to projects for which additional sources of financing can be obtained to leverage and maximize the local investment such as state or federal grants, street development impact fees, developer exactions and special assessments.

Finally, Mr. Pike is critical of the town's storm water run-off management. He suggests that we should not let persons build on hillsides above existing homes without measures to protect downhill property. Uphill property owners have a common law right to direct storm water to natural drainage ways provided the quantity and rate of flow is not increased.

Mr. Pike didn't disclose that his land is located in a natural drainage way.

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