Muddying The Water

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If there's one thing most everybody can agree on, it's that water isn't a simple issue.

Among the items on the town council agenda last Thursday was discussion of a petition submitted to the council last October calling for "a moratorium on any new subdivisions or land divisions until such time as the town has an adequate supply of new water available for use."

The petition circulated by the Citizens Awareness Committee was signed by 1,476 local residents.

The council accepted the petition in October, but then more or less stonewalled the issue until conservative Councilmember Hoby Herron insisted it be aired out on Thursday's agenda.

After hearing all the arguments and counter-arguments, you can see why the town council was reluctant to dip its collective toes into those chilly waters.

Herron set the stage with this cheery message: "We not only don't know how to make water," he said. "We have no idea exactly where it is, how much is there, how long it will take to get it, and how much it will cost to bring it into town."

The discussion ran downhill from there. Community Development Director Bob Gould explained in great detail what a complex process new subdivisions are put through before the first house is erected, and Public Works Director Buzz Walker detailed how it all depends on what formula you choose to use and how much simpler Kenosha, Wis. has it because they can actually watch the lake going dry.

Then the public joined the fray.

After a temper or two flared, Mayor Ray Schum decided he'd heard enough and mercifully gaveled the meeting to a close.

It was an interesting exercise in small-town democracy, but not a whole lot new was learned about how Payson's water supply is holding up.

In the end, what happened at the beginning probably made the most sense.

When Pastor Todd Arnold gave the invocation, he prayed for rain.

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