Town Council Endorses Mayor's Plan

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The county redistricting plan proposed by Payson Mayor Ray Schum is the only one that gives northern Gila County the chance to gain a second supervisor, the Town Council was told Thursday evening.

The mayor's plan, referred to as Plan 1, would create two "urbanized" districts the Payson and Globe areas and a third rural district made up of the rest of the county. The other two plans chosen as finalists, and a fourth plan recently brought before the committee, would, according to Schum, split Payson into two separate districts or otherwise dilute the Rim country's voting strength.

"The other plans do not give us the opportunity to have more than one supervisor from up here," said Jim White, who made the redistricting presentation on the mayor's behalf at the council meeting.

Plan 2, the one favored by southern Gila County, takes Precinct 2 from the middle of Payson and "moves it to Globe-Miami 85 miles away," White said.

"They have nothing in common," he said. "They have no reason to vote in that district."

Star Valley residents would stay in District 1 with Payson, under the mayor's plan.

The council unanimously approved a resolution endorsing Schum's plan that emphasizes its adherence to "the major principles for redistricting," including keeping "cities, towns, school districts and other governmental jurisdictions whole within a district."

The county is required by federal law to draw new supervisor electoral district boundaries within 10 percent of one another in population, based on the results of the 2000 census. Those results indicate that the existing District 1, which encompasses most of the Rim country, now has 21,844 residents, while Districts 2 and 3 to the south have only 13,778 and 15,713 residents respectively.

Schum and White are making redistricting presentations to civic organizations, church groups and other organizations throughout the community.

The council also received a final report from the Ad Hoc Debt Management Committee, a body charged with prioritizing street capital improvement projects to be potentially accelerated through debt financing. The committee recommended that voters be asked whether bonds should be issued to speed up the following projects:

$1 million for Manzanita Drive from Highway 260 to Timber Drive.

$1 million for upgrading various neighborhood streets not accepted by the town for maintenance where property owners are willing to pay 50 percent of the cost.

$975,000 for McLane Road from Forest Drive to Airport Road.

$785,000 for South Mud Springs Road from Highway 260 to Frontier Drive.

The committee further recommended a second bond proposition be presented to voters with two years to accelerate improvements to East Bonita Street, Airline Road, East Frontier Street and St. Philips Street.

Other recommendations included shade covering for the Payson Event Center paid for by user charges and bed tax revenues, and the creation of a permanent special water resources committee to make recommendations on water issues.

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