There has been much printed regarding the request to the U.S. Forest Service by the Town of Payson for permission to drill some forty plus wells in the Mayfield Canyon area just east of the Town limits. This is, in fact, an open letter to the Citizens of the Town of Payson to explain the motives behind the organization, "Diamond Star Citizens' Action Coalition."
First, and foremost, we are not a "no growth" group. We firmly believe that wise growth is the backbone of a successful community. The lifeblood of all growth is the availability of water. It is also the lifeblood of the present residents living in the upper regions of the Mogollon Highlands. Wise growth must be held within the limits of the "water budget" which is metered out on an annual basis by a much higher authority than any Coalition or Town Council.
To continue to rely on underground water for a Town the size Payson is now, and certainly to grow to the limits set by the Town Council, is absurd. This area is now, with its present population, drawing more from the underground resources than is being recharged by annual precipitation. This is, in part, why the Diamond Star Citizens' Action Coalition was formed. Our scope, while presently focusing on Mayfield Canyon, is to redirect the Town of Payson to alternative sources and conservative usage of water. One of the biggest mistakes the Town of Payson made was selling their Central Arizona Project allotment to Scottsdale when it could have been traded to take advantage of surface water and given the time frame, that water would now be available for usage.
The second focus of the Diamond Star Citizens' Action Coalition is one of "no encroachment," The request for drilling in Mayfield Canyon has much more behind it than "40 scientific holes." Certain factions in Town have had their eyes on Mayfield Canyon as the next big development. We are aware of developers that were "quite surprised" that the USFS "blindsided" the drilling operation and forced the project into perhaps two years of additional studies and mitigation. Be advised, any attempt in annexation or land trades east of the present Town limits will be met with an even more forceful stance by the Coalition than the drilling issue.
Why does the Water Department tell us, "... it's only 23 wells in Mayfield Canyon." when they knew from the start it was forty plus wells? Why did they make a big showing of eliminating three wells closest to Diamond Point Shadows when they told at least two people from the Coalition at the USFS comment meeting that they actually moved the wells into the area of the other twenty?
Creditability of elected officials is almost non-existent throughout our Nation and Payson is certainly making a concerted effort to live up to the trend. Lies by commission or omission are still lies. There was a time that the leadership of Payson would tell it straight, not what they wanted the citizens to believe so that individual and collective agendas could be advanced.
I have had individuals in Town tell me to my face ... "We have enough money to buy any seat on the Town Council we deem necessary" ... and I've watched it happen!
The Diamond Star Citizens' Action Coalition will continue to grow. It welcomes the support from the hundreds of citizens of the Town of Payson who have come forward in support. We will work to protect land and resources east of town but it's up to you, the voting public within the town limits, to clean up the control of special interest groups that now control town government. We promise you our support. We can't vote, but we can campaign!