by Gordon Metcalf
We should be careful what we wish for, because if our wish is granted, it may not be what we hoped for.
A group of people in Payson wish to have all growth stopped, and the town size returned to several decades ago. I have mixed emotions about this group's efforts.
My first emotion is, "I wish them luck in stopping growth." As a small land speculator, I buy and sell property in the county outside the Town of Payson. The high impact fees, and antiquated building codes in the Town of Payson have increased the value of my property in the county and decreased the desire to buy property in Payson. Eventually, potential businesses that would like to locate in the Payson area will take advantage of lower impact fees in the county.
My second emotion is, as a homeowner in the Town of Payson, when growth stops, and no new businesses move to town, and some move to the county, property taxes on my home will increase. I understand, approximately 50 percent of our tax base comes from businesses in Payson. For every percentage point of tax lost by the loss of business, the town will have no choice but to add the property tax on the homeowners in Payson.
My third mixed feeling is, there are many retired people living in Payson on fixed incomes. Some of them have been hit hard by increased property taxes and have been forced to sell their homes and move to communities with a lower tax base. With home construction and lot sales depleted to zero activity in Payson, the value of existing homes will increase considerably, and the tax assessment will increase property taxes accordingly. This will force more retirees to sell their homes and move from Payson.
To completely stop growth in Payson will be an economic disaster. Controlled growth will be a better path to take. We should encourage small businesses, with low water consumption and who pay high wages, to locate in our community. We should also encourage developers to build low-cost housing for our teachers and young people who are trying to start a family and have a future in Payson.
We should support Mayor Ray Schum and Vice Mayor Dick Wolfe in their effort to review the town development fees and town codes, which increase the cost of new business and manufacturing facilities attempting to move here. The impact fees and town codes are also a detriment to development of low-cost housing.
We need controlled growth to keep Payson the friendly place where we want to live. I believe that is what we all wish for.