Town Oks $3 Million Finance Package

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The 12 acres on the southeast corner of Main and McLane, known as the Garcia property, will belong to the town next month. That is, unless a referendum is filed against the proposal.

At a special meeting Oct. 15, the council voted to buy the land for $660,000, plus purchase the Humane Society property for $210,000. The property is needed to address the American Gulch drainage problems.

As originally proposed, the action to finance the purchase with a $3 million loan was to have included an emergency clause. That would have kept it free of the threat of a citizen referendum to overturn it.

Efforts to include the emergency clause failed in response to a majority of the 19 residents' comments at the meeting.

"The emergency clause circumvents the right to protest through referendum," Mayor Ken Murphy said.

Passed without the clause, citizens can file a petition for a referendum on the purchase during the next 30 days. Should a referendum be successfully put in motion, a public vote on the matter would not take place until May.

The reason for moving forward on the much-discussed purchase at this point primarily rested with the current favorable interest rates.

The balance of the $3 million loan will be used to build a new town maintenance facility and new hangars at the airport. The cost of the maintenance facility is estimated at $750,000. The hangars will cost approximately $385,000.

The loan will be for a term of 15 years and will be paid with sales tax revenues allocated to the town's capital improvements.

There also was discussion about including a full cover for the Payson Event Center in the package, but it failed.

At an earlier special meeting on the purchase, representatives for the Payson Regional Housing Development nonprofit corporation asked about getting about three acres of the Garcia property for its Green Valley Apartments affordable housing project. At the Oct. 15 meeting, Bryan Siverson offered a motion to exclude the land the group wanted from the purchase, but there was no second.

Later, the group's representative asked about including $150,000 in the financing package to pay for the drainage work needed on its Kaibab property site for the project. Town attorney Sam Streichman and finance attorney Fred Rosenfeld cautioned the council about discussing that issue because it was not on its agenda.

Another special meeting was scheduled for 5 p.m. Monday, Oct. 21, to properly bring the matter to the council.

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