What will the Town of Payson look like in 20 years?
About 110 citizens are gathering today at Eastern Arizona College-Payson to provide some input on the course they believe the town should follow in the years ahead.
Of those in attendance at the all-day Payson 2020 Town Hall Meeting, 85 are residents who applied to participate and were selected to approximate the town's demographics in terms of age, sex, how long they've lived in Payson, and other characteristics. The remainder are town council members and resource staff who are interested in getting a better understanding of the direction their constituents believe the town should take in the future.
Participants were carefully selected from the applicants by a third party to be a cross-section representation of the town, according to Administrative Services Director Kelly Udall.
"We used information from the census to try to create a mini-town of Payson," he said. "We actually came out pretty well on the demographics. We did really well on the age balance. In fact, the only category where we didn't hit our target was females between the ages of 33 and 45."
One group that is well represented and plans to voice its viewpoints at Town Hall 2020 is a watchdog organization known as the Citizens Awareness Committee.
"We love the town, and we want to maintain our quality of life," said Bill Michaelis, vice chairman of that group's steering committee. "That does not mean we are anti-growth; it means we are for managed growth. No growth in Arizona is an oxymoron," he added.
"The town is moving along, but we believe moving too quickly can get you in trouble," Michaelis said.
By the end of the day, both the town and the Citizens Awareness Committee should have a pretty good idea where the rest of the community stands.