by Dan Adams
Tuesday, June 19, I attended a meeting of the ad hoc committee to set priorities for town expenditures on streets, highways, traffic lights, bikeways, etc.
The first order of business was to clarify the committee's thinking that the above was the limit of its interest. The committee (was to) review all possible capital expenditures for the items above, put them in order of priority, and then recommend to the town government which items were of such priority that the town should go into debt to get them installed quickly.
Other needs for capital were not being considered.
In my opinion, this is getting the cart 10 years and several miles ahead of the horse. As I see it, there is one, and only one, reason for the Town of Payson to go into debt water.
When we finally get the projections of the total cost to expand our water system, this cost will be big enough to give second thoughts to the rabid expansionist in town.
My guess is that it will be in the $30- to $40-million range. If anyone has lower, supportable figures, I would like to see them.
I see by the latest T.O.P. (April-June) report that we have already backed away from our projected ability to supply water to 18,300 people and are now projected to exceed safe yield by 2002 with something less than 16,000 people.
The year 2002 isn't very far away, so it would seem to me that all our planning energies and resources should be directed toward:
Where do we get more water?
How do we get approval from an appointed bureaucracy that is hamstrung by the courts, which are egged on by professional "environmentalists?"
How much is all this going to cost?
And when (will it happen)?
This is not a project that can be done efficiently on a step-by-step basis, because, as pointed out above, the source of all our new water lies in the hands of someone else.
Therefore, it seems to me that any rational budgeting for the Town of Payson would be based on the cost to get us to a sustainable water supply for a population of at least 25,000 people.
Any contemplation of debt for any other reason than water, seems to me to be mortgaging our future for frills, rather than necessities. In fact, for several years now, it would appear to me that we have been indulging ourselves with frills purchased with past savings, that we will eventually wish we had available for water procurement.
Be that as it may, I urge everyone in Payson to keep one thought in mind: Water is a necessity.
Nearly everything else that the town is responsible for furnishing is a frill to one degree or another. In all your discussions with town officials make it plain that securing more water is their No. 1 responsibility, and that you want regular reports as to the timing and the costs.
Speaking of the costs, you should also bear in mind that those of us here now don't need this expensive additional water. It is those who are yet to come to Payson that will cause this monumental expenditure. Dialogues should be started as to how these costs are to be apportioned.
Further, there is no real way to dodge the issue by not finding and supplying more water for additional residents or businesses. Once the word gets out, and it surely will, that Payson will reach the limits of its sustainable water supply in 2002, anyone with any business savvy will think more than twice about investing here.
The climate may be great, but who wants to haul their water? So we better get going on developing believable plans for finding and delivering more water. Then we better decide how all this is to be paid for.