By All Means, Let's Get Our Priorities Straight


by Bill Michaelis

co-chairman on behalf of the citizens awareness committee

In response to comments by Al Christianer (May 18 Roundup) and James Hill, regarding the Citizens Awareness Committee:

The Citizens Awareness Committee is not the big bad guy against the progress of the community as these articles portray. The Door Stop proposal, as analyzed by the CAC, represents a poor business proposition based upon information received at this time.

The lease/purchase contract of $397,485 is for the Town's land over a 10-years period with only $40,000 down and minimal monthly payments, which cover only 62 percent of the contract amount, resulting in a $150,000 balloon payment due at the end of 10 years. The projected annual payroll of these jobs is not "millions of dollars" but a mere $875,000, if full employment is maintained.

Based on our own financial analysis of the Door Stop proposal, the discounted rate of return to the Town over the life of the lease/purchase contract calculates at less than 1 percent.

Meanwhile, town management has not completed due diligence inquiries to determine the credit worthiness of Door Stop, namely, requiring credit references (such as Dunn & Bradstreet), nor certified financial statements, nor future business plans from Door Stop of their proposed operations in Payson. These are all normal requirements and reviews that a prudent lender would require from any borrower.

In the interest of the town and its taxpayers, why hasn't the town council and management asked for this information in order to base a responsible credit evaluation? Mr. Hill's operation has had three corporate names: Door Stop, Western Cabinet and most recently Chilton, LLC. Why?

Which one is the Town contracting with and what is its credit worthiness? Mr. Hill's company has had a similar deal with a private company in Chandler $40,000 down and an $840,000 lease/purchase agreement.

According to realty listings, the property is up for sale at a sizable profit to Mr. Hill. Why is Mr. Hill leaving Chandler? Perhaps the answers to all of these questions might be positive, but then why hasn't the town asked them? Hence, there is a need for a role of a group, such as the CAC, to oversee the effectiveness of town management on behalf of the citizens of Payson and the overall betterment of the community.

There currently are above-average paying jobs for the "working class" in Payson, if one has the required training to meet the job qualifications. Examples are in the construction trades that appear in the Roundup help-wanted ads in every edition. Payson is a small town that cannot expect to provide unlimited employment opportunities and the conveniences of a large metro area such as Phoenix. With limited natural resources, growth, as expressed in terms of economic and population growth, should expand only within the ability of the town's infrastructure (namely, police and fire protection, water and sewage treatment and delivery systems, etc.) to support it.

The comments that the "CAC" have put the word out to all companies interested in moving to Payson that they must pay, that the "CAC is nonprofessional and uninformed and lacks leadership" is a total falsehood and unsubstantiated.

The CAC membership has individuals with advanced college degrees in law, accounting, education, arts and sciences and business management. Most importantly, many possess sound management and life experience.

Equally important, the CAC does support the advancement of the "quality of life" in Payson in all aspects, but adheres to the proposition that a responsible and "common sense" approach must be attached to new initiatives that encompass such advancement.

As to the question raised in Mr. Christianer's commentary as to what is the town's most important need, the answer is water. The priorities of the majority of the present town council members and town management fail to recognize the results of the 1998 study prepared by the Southwest Ground-water Consultants and the most recent update by Town Hydrologist, Michael Ploughe. In effect, with continued population growth and increased rates of water usage, Payson will be drawing more water beginning in the year 2002 from its wells than that being replaced through nature and re-charge activities.

These reports should no longer be allowed to linger in the desk drawers of town management. An action plan is needed that covers all aspects of obtaining new water sources, water conservation, funding, timeline objectives and the establishment of town council and management accountability for the successful implementation of the plan.

Without future adequate water resources and infrastructure, Mr. Christianer's request for new industry and jobs, community centers, low-cost housing, etc. will all be for naught.

By all means, let's get our priorities straight.

As to the CAC, the group meets every second and fourth Monday of the month at 2 p.m. at the Womans Club on Main Street. All citizens are invited to attend, including town council and management, Mrs. Hill and Christianer.

(Editor's note: The lease/purchase agreement referred to above is no longer on the table. The Door Stop and the Town Council are now considering an outright purchase of the land with no economic incentives.)

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