For several years, members of Payson's business community have been sounding an alarm an alarm that, until recently, fell on deaf ears at Town Hall.
They've been saying that the pricey development fees enacted by Payson's previous administration to slow residential growth would hurt the town's economy and sour our community's quality of life. And now, those hard-working folks are lining up outside Town Hall to say, "I told you so."
As proof, they can point to sluggish home sales and flagging commercial development. Businesses that were thriving just a few years ago closed up shop last year and others are struggling to stay open this year.
Talk to any property owner who's tried to build a house or add a deck or pave a driveway in Payson during the past few years and they'll likely chew your ear off about the town's unreasonable requirements and restrictions, the ridiculous amount of time it took to get the right permits and approvals and the outrageous price tag our local government made them pay for the aggravation.
And with a downward turn in the stock market, unexpectedly slow holiday retail sales across the nation and widespread concern over the national economy, Payson's economic margin for error is rapidly shrinking.
Payson's economy has always been a magnified reflection of the national economy. If the community is to survive the whims of Wall Street, swift, decisive action must be taken by our local leaders right now. Lengthy delays will be costly and more businesses will die.
Fortunately, our leaders are already taking steps that could turn things around, or, at least, minimize the damage.
Mayor Ray Schum and Vice Mayor Dick Wolfe will ask the council next week to increase the size of the building advisory board from five to seven members so the board can review the town's development impact fees and devise a plan to discard town codes that unnecessarily increase the cost of development.
We urge everyone who cares about our town, its economy and our quality of life to storm Town Hall at 6 p.m. Thursday to tell our leaders loud and clear that we want things to change.