Council Plotting Strategic Course

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The Payson Town Council has a tripleheader scheduled for Thursday evening with three consecutive meetings beginning at 4 p.m., 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. at Town Hall.

During the first session, the council will review the funding plan for the Year 2001 Corporate Strategic Plan, which guides the preparation of the town's annual operating and capital budgets.

Funding for the goals in the strategic plan, which include a variety of projects, including the construction of a multi-purpose field at Rumsey Park and a Country Club Drive and Doll Baby Road improvement project, is based on the following assumptions:

The town maintains an annual non-appropriated general fund reserve equal to 9 percent of the estimated revenue for the upcoming fiscal year.

The growth in the town's operating budget expenditures is restricted to 86 percent of the increase in ongoing revenues.

The council authorizes local improvement district bonds for street improvements in areas where property owners are willing to accept assessments for 50 percent of the debt service cost.

Payson voters are given the opportunity at the next primary election to ratify general obligation bonds for an accelerated street improvement program.

The council also will look at a prioritized list of 19 proposed expenditures that will be implemented if funds are available.

They range from a top priority of $30,415 for increased operating expenses of the new library, down to the 19th-rated priority appropriating $35,256 for a second dispatcher to handle emergency medical calls.

Another list the council will look at prioritizes spending requests that will be considered in future years. At the top of that list is $33,557 for a new water system operator to perform duties mandated by groundwater disinfection and radon removal regulatory requirements.

According to Town Manager Rich Underkofler, the council will be looking at some parts of the document for the first time. "One thing is for sure," he said, "there will be more requests for spending than there is money."

Underkofler said the council will review the final draft of the entire document at a meeting on April 26, with a final public hearing and possible adoption scheduled for the regular town council meeting on May 10. Once adopted, he said, the strategies become objectives and benchmarks by which town government performance can be evaluated.

Following the strategic planning meeting, the council will reconvene at 5 p.m. to hear a presentation by Brad Ryan, northeast division manager for Arizona Public Service. Ryan is expected to update the council on the energy situation in California and the possible implications for adjoining states especially this summer during periods of peak demand.

"California is not an isolated island," Ryan said. "The 11 Western states are all interconnected in a grid. As long as supplies remain tight, the potential is there for an impact on Arizona."

Councilmember Jim Spencer, who is the manager of the Payson District of APS, said Ryan is making similar presentations throughout the northeast region, which includes Holbrook, Winslow, Snowflake and Tuba City.

"From what I understand, California can expect some rolling blackouts this summer," Spencer said. "The presentation will deal with the challenges we are going to face this summer, and how we intend to deal with them."

Following Ryan's presentation, the council will reconvene for its regular meeting at 6 p.m. Highlights from the agenda include the solicitation of competitive bids for the sale of additional lots in the Sky Park Industrial Park, the awarding of a construction contract for the reconstruction of Doll Baby Ranch Road from Greenfaire Circle to the Northern Gila County Sanitary District, and the acceptance of a grant to fund a household hazardous products collection event, scheduled for May 5 at Wal-Mart.

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