Town Manager Settling Into New Position

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Town Manager Fred Carpenter has just completed his first quarter in the driver's seat of Payson government. After a few months on the job, he said he's getting settled in his new office, and just bought a home here.

"Don't you think that's a good sign I plan to stay?" he asked.

The job is meeting his expectations, but also opening new avenues for him.

"I'm doing more media stuff. We have a quarterly newsletter starting at the end of March, which will be distributed by the Roundup," he said. "I have a monthly column in the paper, plus I am starting a little television show (on the public access channel)."

He said he is able to do more managing, as opposed to actual operational work. In other jobs he has held, the town manager also was the airport manager, the personnel and human resources director.

"I have more time to do outreach," he said.

Carpenter said he likes the town and is enjoying his job.

"There are going to be some major problems to deal with, but we will just work through them," he said.

Those problems, as he sees them, are:

  • Fire control. "We're making great strides, but we need the public to participate by creating defensible space around their homes and businesses."
  • Water. "We can expect much stricter water conservation measures to be in place this summer." The new, stricter ordinance for water conservation is scheduled to be heard at the Jan. 30 meeting of the town council, Carpenter said.
  • Money issues. "They will be difficult. But this year it looks fine. There is only about a two-percent drop we are looking at. Next year, starting in July 2003, we are going to have to deal with a $237,000 loss in state-shared income tax. That, plus the reduction (from 15 to 14.8 percent) in state-shared revenue, means we're looking at a large drop. I don't know if more (changes are) coming down (from the Legislature). Let's say, I am guardedly optimistic they're not going to do anything else to us."

Carpenter's work with the council in the future includes the water conservation ordinance; a presentation on a way to finance the construction of hangars at the airport and the new public works building; a fall bond issue; and Focus Future 2.

The work on the town's corporate strategic plan will resume in February, as will the accompanying departmental reviews of policies, programs and procedures.

Carpenter has already held departmental reviews for the water and parks and recreation departments, plus the library.

The recommendations made from the review of the water department:

  • Develop a policy statement about drilling in easements;
  • Do more public outreach;
  • Present more reports on water exploration efforts; and
  • Do a water rate study.

The directives to the parks and recreation department:

  • Look at the fee structure for facility use and activities;
  • Develop a report on use statistics; and
  • Present a detailed look at the staff time and hard costs for special events.

"This (the departmental reviews) has never been done, but in its corporate strategic plan, the council wanted to review all the departments. I have not been involved in one of these in the 25 years I've been in the business," Carpenter said.

Upcoming departmental reviews are: fire department, Jan. 29; community development, Feb. 4; police department, Feb. 5; administration, finance, grants, legal, town clerk and town manager, Feb. 18; and streets, engineering and airport, Feb. 19.

Carpenter said the reviews are at 5 p.m. in the council chambers at town hall. They are open to the public, but because they are in work session format, no public comment will be taken.

He said the corporate strategic plan work will be completed in March, with budget work beginning in April.

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