Council Trips On New Rules


After council members and others raised a host of questions, the town council tabled a proposed document setting forth guidelines for conducting future meetings.

The 22-page document, titled "Rules of Procedure for Town Council Meetings," will be brought back to the council once rewritten to address some of the concerns expressed.

Among those raising the most objections were councilmember Ken Murphy and Payson resident Lew Levenson. Both Murphy and Levenson suggested wider distribution of council agendas, notices and information packets prior to meetings as a "cheap way to make the public more aware of what's going on," as Levenson put it.

Murphy also questioned a provision allowing the mayor to use "unanimous consent" on all but main motions.

"It's a tool that can be used so you don't have to take a formal vote ... for (things like) proclamations and selection of officers like vice mayor and acting mayor," Town Attorney Sam Streichman said.

Also placed under scrutiny was a provision banning applause at council meetings. Murphy questioned whether a blanket ban on applause was wise considering it is readily allowed for proclamations and some other council acts.

The mayor, who defended the document as simply a way "to put (existing rules and procedures) in writing for our new council people," added, "the presiding officer ought to be given credit to have some common sense as to what's a good business meeting and what's not."

Levenson also recommended allowing public comment twice during the meeting, adding an additional period early in the meeting where people would be allowed to speak who could briefly state their case in 45 seconds or less.

During the 5 p.m. special meeting to discuss the town's corporate strategic plan, the council balked at revenue-raising options presented by Chief Fiscal Officer Glenn Smith. Rather than consider a property tax increase or revisit the bed, board and booze tax, the council opted to maintain about the same funding level as the current fiscal year, Interim Town Manager Kelly Udall said.

On Murphy's suggestion, the council decided to discuss the acquisition of the Garcia property in open session. The council then voted 6-1 to maintain its backup position to purchase that property while the Garcia family works to clear the title.

The Garcia property, which the town wants to purchase for $660,000, and the Payson Humane Society property are the first of a group of properties the town plans to use for housing development, commercial office development, open space, public parking areas, or even a possible hotel.

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