Board Of Supervisors Meet In Rim Country

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The Gila County Board of Supervisors held its weekly meeting in Payson, Tuesday, providing an opportunity for residents in the northern portion of the county to participate and watch the proceedings.

Supervisor Ron Christensen and his two counterparts, Supervisors Jose Sanchez and Cruz Salas from southern Gila County, along with County Manager John Nelson, addressed issues of economic development, funding for the Northern Gila County Historical Society, displaced workers and homeland security.

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Supervisors Ron Christensen (left) and Cruz Salas discuss the importance of a unified county. "Decisions that affect one part of the county affect the whole county," Salas said.

Scott Flake, director of the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation, gave a presentation briefing the supervisors on what the corporation does.

"Our mission is to enhance the economy of northern Gila county," Flake said.

Flake summarized the objectives of the corporation and it's efforts to recruit new businesses as well as retain existing businesses in the Payson area.

"A few high-tech firms have expressed interest in relocating to Payson," Flake said, but would not elaborate because of confidentiality concerns.

Flake also told the supervisors that a telecommunications assessment was being done to investigate the possibility for high-speed Internet and broadband access.

Salas praised Flake for PREDC's accomplishments.

"This board is aware of what you are doing," Salas said. "We want to thank the Payson area for their openness to progress."

Salas went on to address the issue of a unified county rather than a politically divided one.

"We've not always had cooperation between the North and South, but it's necessary," Christensen said. "The board and town officials need to be able to adjust and change if we are going to be competitive."

Also on the meeting agenda was a plan for improving the streets and dust problems that have plagued East Verde Estates. The board appointed Public Works Director Steve Stratton to the task of selecting an engineer who would evaluate what work needs to be done. Stratton agreed to come back to the board at a later date with recommendations.

Terror at home

Christensen introduced the topic of terrorism and homeland security and referred to the country's heightened state of alert as well as recent threats such as the targeting of the Palo Verde Nuclear power plant.

"We need to be vigilant and observant," Christensen said. "We must understand that we are not totally immune."

Emergency Services Director Carmen Corso provided an update to the board on actions taken to increase security in and around the Gila County Courthouse in Globe.

Although his briefing primarily addressed the security of the Globe courthouse, Corso said he is looking into security at the Payson courthouse as well and would come back to the board with his assessment.

Christensen concluded the proceedings by promising more meetings in Payson in the future.

"We will have more meetings here and at some point, we will have one in Young," Christensen said. "It gives people in more remote areas an opportunity to see the board and address problems specific to the area."

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