Bond Initiative Small Price To Pay For Safety

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Voters will soon decide the fate of the three bond initiatives on the ballot. We feel each of the capital improvement projects for public works, public safety and parks and recreation will have immense benefits for our town at a minimal cost to residents. These projects are not superfluous luxuries. They are imperative remedies to an outdated, neglected infrastructure and will be necessary sooner or later.

Before going to press on Tuesday and Friday, a reporter checks in with the police department, the sheriff's office and the Department of Public Safety to see if any last-minute stories need to make it into the paper.

On Tuesday, Lt. Don Engler could not access that information because, once again, the 12-year-old computer system was on the fritz.

Basically, our safety teeters precariously on a communication system that crashes every couple of weeks. It's not comforting to hear that our emergency dispatchers have had to resort to scribbling the details of a 911 call on yellow sticky notes when their screens go blank.

The inadequate communication system not only puts citizens at risk, but also the officers or firefighters in the field. The LEADS system is what officers rely on for background checks when pulling a motorist over or going to a residence on a call. Knowing whether this person is a wanted criminal who is armed and dangerous certainly makes a difference in how the officer proceeds.

This September, residents of Payson have an opportunity to approve a bond initiative that will overhaul the system.

While $1.4 million may seem like a hefty debt for the town to take on, the slight increase in the sales tax will cost the average family between $1 and $2 a month -- not a high price when it comes to safety.

When the Capital Improvement Projects committee sifted through the list of high-dollar projects to recommend for the ballot, the police and fire department communications overhaul appeared to be a no-brainer. In simple, yet accurate terms, there are two questions before voters: Are you willing to pay up to $2 more a month for your safety and that of your family? Are you comfortable with your life potentially hinging on a yellow sticky note?

Human life is unquantifiable, as is peace of mind.

It's a bit like that Mastercard commercial: "A cup of coffee ... $1.21, a magazine ... $3.50, a flight to Vegas ... $80, feeling safe in your community ... priceless."

For more information on the initiatives, we encourage voters to attend the two forums from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the high school auditorium on Aug. 5 and Aug. 20. The forum will include panel discussions on the issues.

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