When Payson residents receive their mail-in ballot for the Sept. 9 special election, they will have four issues before them, three capital improvement bond issues and approval of the town's general plan.
The Roundup will explore each issue on the ballot individually in a series of articles. The first three issues will be each bond initiative on the ballot: public works, public safety and parks and recreation. If the initiatives pass, the capital improvement projects included in each issue will be funded, and therefore, accomplished.
How projects were chosen
The group of 15 residents chosen for an ad hoc committee on capital improvements met over the course of three months to narrow down a daunting list of projects. They agreed to choose only the projects that had the greatest benefit and impact on the residents of Payson, and had the greatest likelihood of success in the bond election.
The committee announced its recommendations to the town council at the May 8 council meeting.
According to committee chairman Bruce Whiting, the public works projects that consisted initially of 30 priority street projects, was the most time-consuming.
"After countless hours of individual due diligence and healthy debate, our SCORE card helped us identify the priorities," Whiting told the town council. "Working closely with Glenn Smith (chief fiscal officer) and LaRon Garrett (town engineer), the committee members massaged and eliminated projects from the original 30 projects until only 12 projects remained for recommendation."
The public works bond initiative involves the issuance and sale of general obligation bonds of the town in the amount of about $4.5 million for 12 street projects. Bond proceeds can be used only to complete the street projects on the list. Unused funds are applied to retire the bonds.
Nearly half of the street improvements involve the area of Frontier Street, Mud Springs, Bonita and St. Philips and connecting that part of town to Highway 260. The improvements are designed to facilitate traffic flow through what is currently a very congested area of town.
Some of the other projects in the bond initiative are putting in a stoplight on Highway 87 and Airport Road, fixing McLane Road between Forest and Airport and adding sidewalks on McLane to Houston Mesa Road.
The hilly Manzanita Road between Timber Drive and Highway 260 in Payson North also is on the list of street projects. The plan is to flatten out the road and add a sidewalk.
The town will repay the bond for the public works issue through an increase in property taxes.
The required increase in property taxes has been estimated by the committee at about $3 a month for the average Payson family, or $36 a year.
Once the committee was formally dissolved by the town council, its disbanded members, as private citizens, could actively and vocally support the bond issues. They have re-formed into a political action committee called the Committee to Improve Payson (CIP).
The CIP, made up of volunteers from the Rim Country Regional Chamber of Commerce and the Citizens for Better Payson Government, will be holding two forums to discuss the issues on the ballot.
The group will host a panel discussion on the various aspects of the three bond issues, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Aug. 5 and Aug. 20 at the high school auditorium.
The special election will be conducted entirely by mail. The deadline to register to vote is Aug. 11. Ballots will be mailed out Aug. 7.
For further information, call town hall at (928) 474-5242.
Street projects in Bond initiative
Projects scheduled for the 2003-2004 fiscal year:
Mud Springs Road - Frontier Elementary School to Highway 260
Projected cost: $765,000
McLane Road sidewalk - Airport Road to Houston Mesa Road
Projected cost: $182,500
West Wade Lane curb, gutter and sidewalk
Projected cost: $80,000
West Rumsey Road - McLane Road to Highway 87 and McLane intersection
Projected cost: $425,000
Manzanita Drive - Highway 260 to Timber Drive
Projected cost: $515,000
West Country Club Drive sidewalk - Green Valley Park to Vista Drive
Projected cost: $100,000
East Bonita Street - Highway 87 to St. Philips Street
Projected cost: $685,000
Highway 87 and Airport Road traffic signal
Projected cost: $135,000
South St. Philips Street - Bonita Street to Frontier Street
Projected cost: $357,000
Frontier Street - St. Philips Street to Mud Springs Road
Projected cost: $320,000
Highway 260 and Mud Springs Road traffic signal
Projected cost: $225,000
McLane Road - Forest Drive to Airport Road
Projected cost: $1.135 million with $500,000 covered by ADOT - net cost to town $635,000