Council Crashes Airport Board

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After an extended debate of more than 30 minutes, the Payson Town Council voted 5-2 to abolish the Airport Advisory Board at its meeting Thursday evening.

Mayor Ray Schum, who submitted the proposal, said, "Most of the time at board meetings is consumed hearing and discussing complaints from airport critics that should be handled administratively by airport management staff."

He assured pilots that their views and those of other constituent groups would still be considered as part of the decision-making process.

Gordon Holm, chairman of the Airport Advisory Board, said he agreed in principle with the mayor, but said the alternative does not include the public.

Holm told the council that the airport is severely limited by its size.

"Most airports have 300-plus acres. We have 83.7. We have no way to acquire any more land, so we better start looking at things that are practical."

Delay of public comment

In other action, the council narrowly approved the mayor's request to move the public comment portion of meetings to the end of the agenda. "The length of time consumed by public presentations to the council has become longer since we began to televise meetings on our government access channel," Schum said. "It's becoming a public forum for advocates to promote and secure support for special interests and personal agendas."

Ruby Finney, a member of the Citizens Awareness Committee who frequently addresses the council during the public comment portion of meetings, accused the mayor of not caring what the people think.

"This seems to be part of a situation that's been coming to a head for the last several months," Finney said. "It's aimed at one group of people, namely the Citizens Awareness Committee. The opposition has every right to oppose what the government does and to make their statements."

Councilmember Ken Murphy, who along with councilmembers Bryan Siverson and Hoby Herron, voted against the mayor's request, agreed.

"This is not my meeting," Murphy said. "This is not (Vice Mayor) Dick Wolfe's meeting. This is your meeting, and I think changing it is just a way of shutting people up."

Rezoning eliminates multi-family housing in Payson Pines

Multi-family housing is no longer part of the plan for Payson Pines subdivision.

The town council unanimously approved a rezoning request for Payson Pines Unit 2 Subdivision to allow 22 homes to be built on a 4.33-acre site formerly designated for 8 eight-plex multiple family residential units.

The Planning and Zoning Commission recently endorsed the change and recommended it to the council with some conditions. Community Development Director Bob Gould pointed out that the change would reduce the allowable density by about one-third.

Bond election to

accelerate street improvements

Payson voters will be able to move up the timetable on several street improvement projects in the voting booth next year.

The Town Council passed a resolution to hold a special election on March 12 in conjunction with the primary election to authorize the sale of $3.8 million in general obligation bonds to accelerate street improvements on Manzanita Drive from Highway 260 to Timber Drive, McLane Road from Forest Drive to Airport Road, South Mud Springs Road from Highway 260 to Frontier Drive, and on various streets not accepted by the town for maintenance where property owners are willing to pay 50 percent of the cost.

Phoenix golf ball company's move to Payson on track

Some 40 new jobs are on their way to the Rim country.

The town council finalized the sale of five lots in Sky Park Industrial Subdivision to Phoenix Golf Ball Company. The golf ball manufacturing and distribution company is planning to build a 20,000-square-foot manufacturing, warehouse and distribution facility on one of the lots, which together total 2.04 acres, and use the others for parking and future expansion.

Under the terms of the deal, the company agrees to employ at least 20 people and complete construction of its initial facility and be in operation within one year. Selling price for the combined lots is $159,000, with $62,200 to be paid in cash prior to close of escrow, and the balance of $98,000 secured by an interest-free, three-year note.

Co-owner Bob Russo, who addressed the council briefly, said that while the events of Sept. 11 caused sales at airports to drop slightly, the company is still doing well and looks forward to moving to Payson.

Low-flow fixtures

for high water use

businesses available

A pilot program approved by the town council to install low-flow plumbing fixtures will be targeted to high-volume water-use businesses like fast food outlets, restaurants and service stations.

Public Works Director Buzz Walker said the $20,000 program is "a baby step to show we can do it in Payson."

Walker estimates that 30-40 commercial toilets can be replaced this fiscal year.

The initiative also provides for distribution of free water conservation kits for homes. The water department originally sold the kits for $5, but response was not enthusiastic. Under the new program the kits, which include a low-flow shower head, faucet aerators, a water-saving toilet flap ball, and water conservation information, will be provided free to customers of pre-1991 homes upon request.

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