Questions Answered At Bond Forum

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The Committee to Improve Payson (CIP), with the help of volunteers from Citizens for Better Payson Government and the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce, held the first of two forums on the bond issues earlier this month.

Payson voters will receive their mail-in ballots shortly and will be asked to consider three bond initiatives, public works, public safety and parks and recreation.

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Bruce Whiting, former chairman of the Capital Improvement Projects committee, explained to forum attendees the method the 15-member committee used to select the projects that now appear on September's ballot. The second forum and panel discussion on the bond issues is scheduled for 6 p.m., Aug. 20 at the high school auditorium.

The CIP, composed of former members of the Capital Improvements Committee, planned the two forums to educate voters on the issues.

Bob Ware, executive director of the chamber of commerce, served as moderator, reading questions the audience posed to the panel.

Bruce Whiting, former chairman of the disbanded Capital Improvements Committee, led the forum, describing each initiative in detail as well as the process of the committee in selecting what projects would make it to the ballot.

Five other members of the committee participated in the forum.

Here are Whiting's answers to some of the questions submitted buy the audience.

Q: Why were the projects lumped together to make the three bond initiatives?

A: Most communities package projects together. If we didn't, voters would vote on 18 different projects. These separate projects were designed to benefit everyone in Payson.

Q: If the bond issues don't pass, won't the town pay for the projects anyway?

A: The town this year has barely enough money in the budget to maintain the roads we have. We won't be able to afford these kind of projects for many, many years.

Q: Why have the cost estimates gone up?

A: We had to build in inflation so that we can pay for it with dollars that might be spent in five years.

Q: Will the money be spent only on the approved projects?

A: It's illegal to use the money on any other things other than projects approved by voters. Excess money goes back to pay off the bond.

Q: Will the town be using all of its bonding capability?

A: Our bonding limit is over $30,000,000 and we would be using $9,000,000. We would have plenty left for other projects.

Q: Why didn't the committee choose drainage projects?

A: In order to correct the drainage problems we have to start at the American Gulch and work up along the Beeline Highway. That first project was a $6,000,000 project and we thought that was too expensive. All the streets we are building and improving will be built with the new drainage specs.

Q: What is the time frame for upgrading the police and fire dispatch system?

A: The dispatch system would be implemented immediately.

Q: Isn't the new fire station just for the rich people over at Chaparral Pines and the Rim Club?

A: The response times to the southeast portion of Payson are very slow. This includes the Cedar-Sutton and Frontier Elementary school area. The town has been paying the Diamond Star Fire Department to cover that area of town.

Response times should be 4 minutes and now are 7-8 minutes. The connection of Mud Springs Road to Highway 260, one of the street projects, will increase response times as well.

Q: Why didn't the street bond issue include putting a layer of asphalt on existing streets?

A: It was a matter of how much we could afford. It would cost about $10 million to do all the streets.

Q: What percent might the bonds yield?

A: About 4 percent. Bonds can be bought by residents through a financial institution.

Q: Has criteria been establish that defines when the new fire station should be built?

A: There is no set criteria, however, at about the four year mark, the council will deliberate whether the station should be built.

Q: Why would the town benefit from building the West Rumsey Road before repairing McLane Road?

A: West Rumsey will take traffic off of Forest and Longhorn. The new road will go past the side of Wal-Mart and directly to Rumsey Park.

Q: If ADOT is assisting with the cost of repairing North McLane from Forest to Airport Road, why is the project scheduled for the 2005-2006 fiscal year?

A: That year is when we the money will be available from ADOT. If we do the repair sooner, the town will have to pay for the whole project.

Q: Why is the Mud Springs connection to Highway 260 scheduled before the stop light at the intersection?

A: ADOT controls how quickly we can do an intersection. All the infrastructure will be put underground for the Mud Spring - Highway 260 intersection, but the delay is due to ADOT.

Q: Why make the street in front of Frontier Elementary street a major traffic street by putting Mud Springs through to Highway 260?

A: Bonita, St. Philips, and Frontier are all in disrepair and are dangerous. In repairing those streets, they will be able to handle more traffic. The Mud Springs extension should take traffic off some of those streets. We looked at other alternatives to reroute traffic away from the school, but they were not good options.

Q: I live in Payson. Are my property taxes the same as someone who lives in Chaparral Pines?

A: Property taxes are based on the assessed value of a residence. The higher the price of the home, the more property taxes paid.

Q: If ADOT is paying for half of the repair cost of McLane from Forest to Airport, why not fix all of McLane down to the Payson Ranchos?

A: We looked at the cost of repairing McLane from Forest to Houston Mesa and it was $1.1 million. We would have to pay the whole thing. The traffic counts were higher for the southern portion, so we decided to repair that portion of the road but put sidewalks on the portion of McLane between Airport and Houston Mesa.

Q: Will the roof on the Payson Event Center cover just the bleachers or the whole arena?

A: It will cover the entire arena -- the bleachers, bucking chutes and stock pens.

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