New Councilmembers, Mayor Sworn In

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Following the official exit of Mayor Vern Stiffler and a chorus of "God Bless America," Payson's newest leaders Mayor Ray Schum, councilmembers Bryan Siverson and Dick Wolfe, and re-elected councilmember Barbara Brewer were sworn into their respective offices in the opening ceremony of Thursday's town council meeting.

The next order of business was for the councilmembers to elect a new vice mayor and acting mayor. Although Mayor Schum suggested they vote by secret ballot, a vote was not necessary as each position received only a single nomination, and each nominee received unanimous "yeas."

Payson's new vice mayor is Wolfe, who replaces still-seated councilmember Ken Murphy, and its new acting mayor is Brewster, who will take over where Schum left off.

Highlights of their first council meeting:

In a public hearing concerning a rezoning application filed by local property owner Harold Corbin, a zoning from R1-175 to R1-90 (to allow for single family residential lots over 90,000 sq. ft.) was sought on a 14-acre parcel near South Tyler Parkway for conversion into a five-lot subdivision. The request passed unanimously.

Also approved 7 to zero was authorization for an intergovernmental agreement between the town and the state to pay for improvements on Airport Road including widening of the road and the addition of sidewalks and curb gutters from McLane Road to the main entrance of the airport.

The 120-day construction project will cost an estimated $750,000, of which the state will pay 50 percent, Garrett said.

Passed, too, was authorization to award a one-day, $34,545 repaving project to local contractor State Constructors Inc., to improve a "completely failed" 2,648-foot section of Gold Nugget Way in the Rodeo Ranchos subdivision.

Parks and Recreation Director Bill Schwind received just one thumbs-up on his two-issue request that the council approve 1) a special event fee schedule, and 2) an application form. The application form was accepted unanimously, and the fee schedule which the majority of councilmembers deemed too pricey was given a no-go.

The new council's final green light was given to Schwind's request for authorization to pay $6,598 to Fireworks Productions of Arizona, Inc., for Payson's first July 4th fireworks display in two years to take place above the lake at Green Valley Park.

The council came to their unanimous conclusion when Schwind informed them that cancellation is possible if an "extreme fire danger or any other perceived safety problem" exists."

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