Re: Council needs to step up and do right thing, guest comment -- Payson Roundup, March 4.
I had to laugh at Stan Brown's guest comment Tuesday. He speaks of the citizens that "rose up" to build hospitals, roads and libraries.
In the next breath, he touts Main Street grants for helping to continue that tradition. I am certain the pioneers that "rose up" to build the town did so with much less than the people now seeking grants. They also didn't have a board telling them what their building had to look like. My great grandparents and other relatives had businesses on Main Street in the early days; some of their buildings are still in use.
I "get the matter straight" -- that this grant money that will go other places if we do not take it. However, it costs us approximately $110,000 a year for the Main Street Coordinator, her office and assistant to pass out $100,000 worth of grants a year. If we eliminated that office and forewent the grants, we'd save several thousand dollars annually. Remember, at the current 2 percent sales tax rate, over $5,000,000 a year in new sales must be generated to recoup the $110,000 expense. This doesn't take into account the waived impact fees and incentives offered to new Main Street businesses.
The American Gulch project should include the drainage only (if this is indeed necessary). Let's use the rest of the money for street repairs and other necessities. The plan includes spending $197,000 on sidewalks and bike paths. Why not build these on currents unimproved streets that our children use daily to ride and walk to school?
While some tout a "renewed Main Street," at the same time they plead for a south to west bypass. Isn't that detouring tourism away from the proposed new oasis? Additionally, if we continue to ignore the current infrastructure, there will be no streets left to get people to the downtown area.
Finally, Stan Brown speaks of the revitalization of "Old Payson." The plans I've seen are for another "River Walk" or "Downtown Sedona." Once again, Stan is rewriting history his way.
Vernon Randall, Payson