Q: Are we still selling water to the casino, and will the new hotel the casino wants to build be approved? It seems to me that water consumption would be very high at a hotel, and since the casino doesn't pay sales taxes, we will once again be asked to sacrifice for the casino.
A: According to Payson Town Manager Rich Underkofler, not only does the casino not pay sales taxes, it doesn't pay property taxes either. But the Tonto Apaches are the town's largest water customer and pay the same rates as any other customer.
The agreement the town had with the tribe, which has expired, contained consumption limits. While negotiations proceed on a new agreement, the tribe is still paying its water bill and its rate of usage is still less than the old limits. Other than whatever consumption limits might be negotiated into a new agreement, the town has no control over whether the tribe builds a hotel.
"It's my understanding, however, that the tribe doesn't want to get involved in a large building project until there is a new gaming compact with the state," Underkofler said.
Q: They're pulling out trees and clearing land across the street from the Half Moon Inn on the north edge of Pine. What's going on?
A: According to B.J. Fletcher, lead person at the Arizona Department of Transportation's Payson maintenance yard, left and right-hand turn lanes are being added just north of the Half Moon Inn to allow easier access into the Strawberry Hollow subdivision.
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