Council To Consider Archaeological Protection Program


The Payson Town Council will consider approving an intergovernmental agreement between the town and Arizona State Parks Thursday to establish a site steward program for the preservation and protection of archaeological resources at Goat Camp Ruins. The program would use local volunteers who complete a Site Steward training program for "inventory, stabilization and recordation" functions.

The council will meet at 6 p.m. for its regularly scheduled meeting at Town Hall.

In other action, the council will consider accepting a grant offer from the Federal Aviation Administration for $774,120.

The money will be used to construct T-hangar taxilanes, including drainage, lighting and marking, and to widen the taxiway connector. The town will be responsible for "proper pavement maintenance, both preventative and repair."

At a special 5 p.m. meeting preceding the regular meeting, the council will consider a request by Councilmember Jim Spencer to decrease the hotel bed tax from 3 percent to 2 percent, while simultaneously imposing a new 2 percent tax on restaurants and bars. Coupled with the 2 percent local option sales tax all businesses pay, "this would establish a uniform 4 percent local tax on gross sales of hotels, restaurants and bars," according to the request filed on behalf of Spencer by Underkofler.

The extra revenue generated estimated at about $450,000 a year would be used to help fund a number of projects designed to improve the quality of life in Payson.

Those projects include enclosing the public swimming pool for year-round use, helping to fund a new multi-generational community recreation center, covering the Payson Event Center, beautifying the entrance to Payson and providing the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce with funds to improve business retention and promote Payson as a tourist destination.

According to Spencer, the tax, often referred to as a "bed, board and booze" tax, is a way to "level the playing field, and is in line with what other progressive cities and towns like Flagstaff have done.

"Right now, we're just collecting 3 percent from the hotels, and that's it," Spencer said.

While the amount added to a restaurant or bar bill would be minimal, he said it offers the town a way to have tourists who don't stay in hotels help pay for the services they use.

"The tourists use many of our amenities and they should be paying for them," he said.

While local residents would also pay the extra restaurant and bar tax, Spencer pointed out that eating out usually involves discretionary income.

Besides, he said, at this point, the town council is still gathering information on the proposed tax changes.

Also on the agenda

Resolution authorizing a commercial lease agreement for 501 West Main Street for offices to house the Main Street Office and the Economic Development Office. Monthly rent would be $550.

Request for an expenditure not to exceed $21,800 from council contingency to establish a Main Street project office at 501 West Main Street. Cost includes building improvements, lease payments, utilities estimate and office furniture.

Second reading and public hearing of an ordinance to increase peak water demand limits from 20 to 60 equivalent residential units for affordable housing and economic development projects within the Green Valley Infill Incentive District.

First reading and public hearing of an ordinance to change the zoning of Country Club Ranchos Subdivision from R1-10-MH to R1-90-MH. The change, supported by 84 percent of the 26 property owners in the 75-acre subdivision located south of Sky Park Industrial Park, reduces the maximum number of lots allowed from 200 to 28.

Consent agenda

The following items are considered routine by the council and will be enacted by one motion. If a council member or member of the public requests, the item will be removed from the consent agenda and considered in its normal sequence on the main agenda.

Request to approve an agreement between the town and the Arizona State Parks Board to establish a site steward program for Goat Camp Ruin.

Request for authorization to purchase a thermal imaging camera for the fire department at a cost of $15,662.12.

Request to authorize expenditure of $1,000 for Ray Erlandsen to attend a zoning administration techniques seminar in Albuquerque.

Appointment of Joe Calderone to the Board of Adjustments and acceptance of Jim Ritchey's resignation from that board.

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