Council Advised To Spend More On Streets

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The Payson Town Council needs to commit $450,000 a year for street capital improvements, according to a report presented by the Surface Transportation Advisory Committee Thursday evening.

Former Payson mayor Craig Swartwood, who made the report, told the council the committee had identified two "innovative" alternatives.

Besides finding money to finance improvements through the general fund, the committee recommended forming an alliance with other incorporated communities in Gila County to try and procure a portion of tax money collected from a one-half cent sales tax approved by voters in 1994 for roadway improvements.

"I told the committee, ‘I must be pretty stupid, because when I voted for that I thought the town of Payson would get part of it and we don't," Swartwood said. "It all goes to county roads."

Swartwood estimated the county collects "approximately $1,375,000 annually" from Payson residents through the tax. The county wouldn't budge on the subject during a recent meeting with town officials, according to the report.

Other funding options the committee considered, but rejected included:

• Federal appropriations:

Such appropriations are made to the states, which divvy them up.

"The trickle-down effect doesn't go quite far enough to reach Payson," Swartwood told the council.

• Arizona Department of Transportation:

Federal funds received by ADOT are distributed through the various councils of government, including the Central Arizona Association of Governments. The town of Payson has received more than $1 million from this source in the last five years, with an additional $900,000 allocated for the next three years.

"It looks to me like we apply for projects with grant matches that are more expensive than most of our fellow members can afford," Swartwood said.

• Bond issue:

Two street improvement bond issues were recently turned down by the voters, and Swartwood believes another bond issue would meet the same fate. The committee recommended a long-term, ongoing voter education program be executed before another bond issue is attempted.

• Sales tax:

Based on the results of recent bond issues, the committee opposed asking voters to approve a new sales tax dedicated to street reconstruction.

"Our conclusion was the same we reached with the bond issue -- that it's not the proper time nor the desire of the public to raise their taxes to improve streets," Swartwood told the council.

In his report to the council Swartwood said the diversity of his committee led to a very innovative approach to the issue.

"Because of the nature of our committee, we were able to think within the box, outside the box, and sometimes we tore the box apart and started over again," he told the council.

Road projects to be considered for improvements

1. Mud Springs Road -- Frontier Elementary School to Highway 260

2. Rumsey Road -- Highway 87 to McLane Road (or Payson Parkway)

3. St. Phillips -- Bonita Street to Frontier Street.

4. Bonita Street -- Highway 87 to St. Phillips Street

5. McLane Road -- Forest Drive to Airport Road

6. Manzanita Drive -- Highway 260 to Timber Drive

7. Malibu Drive -- Easy Street to Manzanita Drive

8. Longhorn Road -- Payson Parkway to Green Valley Parkway

9. Phoenix Street -- Highway 87 to Sycamore Street

10. W. Frontier Street -- Highway 87 to McLane Road

11. McLane Road -- Airport Road to Houston Mesa Road

12. Mud Springs Road -- Canyon to Alpine Heights (Briarwood Alignment)

13. Vista Road -- Country Club Drive to Airport Road

14. McLane Road -- Main Street to Green Valley Parkway

15. Green Valley Parkway -- Green Valley Park to Highway 87

16. Park Drive -- Mud Springs Road

17. Sutton Road -- Cedar Lane to Granite Dells Road

18. Granite Dells Road -- Highway 260 to Mud Springs Road

19. Granite Dells Road -- Mud Springs Road to Sutton Road

20. Green Valley Parkway -- Green Valley Park to Airport Road

21. Mud Springs Road -- Phoenix Street to Frontier Street

22. S. Rim Club Parkway -- Sutton Road to Rim Club Pass

23. Manzanita Drive -- Bonita Street to Highway 260

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