The Payson Town Council has set aside the entire capital budget for an emergency.
Chief Financial Officer Glenn Smith projects $603,292 in excess funds for capital improvements in the 2002-2003.
At a budget meeting June 20, the council decided to put the entire amount into the contingency fund. It will be available in the event of an emergency until after the fire season.
When the danger of catastrophic fire has passed, the funds can then be used for capital improvements. The projects given priority in the town's corporate strategic plan were: pavement preservation; cover the south side of the event center; and purchase of the Payson Humane Society property.
Updating the council on the Rodeo and Chediski fires, Police Chief Gordon Gartner reported the middle school was being prepared as an evacuation center for residents of Heber and Overgaard who had just been given notice to leave their communities. He said the Payson Ranger Station's fire management team was staying in town, should the need for their services arise.
The Payson Police Department was planning to do a foot patrol of the areas in town where transients frequently camp, in an effort to eliminate the risk their campfires, Gartner said. He told the council the emergency services personnel are about as prepared as they can be at this point.