Your Town Council At A Glance

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Feb. 12 Payson Town Council Meeting

The issue: The council unanimously passed a series of emergency ordinances to correct a mistake with the primary election ballots mailed out. Names were not properly rotated in accordance with state law requirements, according to Tom Irvine, the attorney the town retained to remedy the situation.

According to Mayor Ken Murphy, none of the candidates took issue with the order of the names, yet the election could be null and void if the mistake was not corrected.

What it means: A second ballot will be mailed to registered voters. According to Irvine, those who already voted may vote again or not and their vote will be counted regardless. If voters send in two ballots, the second will be counted.

The slip-up is added expense for the town. The costs include re-printing and mailing out a second ballot, legal notices and outside legal counsel.

What's next? Voters will receive a second ballot in the mail.

The issue: The council had a first reading of an ordinance that would create a separate set of codes for buildings within portions of the Green Valley Redevelopment Area.

According to Bob Gould, director of community development, the design review guidelines were compiled by several committees, including the Main Street board and the Historic Preservation committee.

What it means: Businesses relocating to the area have separate guidelines from the town codes, including smaller signage, lower building height, and specific colors that reflect historic America, Gould said.

Those business owners who recently relocated and already had building designs approved are not subject to the new codes.

What's next? The ordinance will have a second reading on Feb. 26 at which time the council will either adopt the new design regulations or not.

The issue: The council unanimously approved a request from Fire Chief Marty deMasi for $29,200 for his department's neighborhood wildland fire risk evaluation program.

The program is designed to assist property owners in developing defensible space by providing a risk evaluation, deMasi said.

"We are going to go out into neighborhoods, assess each property, and give it a grade from low risk to extreme risk," deMasi said. "Then we will provide information to each property owner with the results of the assessment and what they can do to reduce the fire risk."

DeMasi said the money is for the first phase of the program.

What it means: Property owners within the 12 neighborhoods designated to be the highest risk will be the first to have the risk assessment done.

"The priority neighborhoods are on the southern edge of town where there is a lot of fuel," deMasi said. "They are also where the prevailing winds come from."

Property owners will be responsible for taking measures to reduce fire risk on their property. DeMasi said compliance is voluntary, but if need be, there are steps that can be taken to force property owners to take action.

What's next? According to deMasi, this is the first phase of the program to create a defensible space around Payson, part of the Corporate Strategic Plan.

Eventually, deMasi hopes to evaluate every neighborhood in town.

The issue: Parks and Recreation Director Bill Schwind asked the council to accept the community center feasibility study, the document that outlines plans for the $9 million building in Rumsey Park.

Although the action was to just to accept the study, some members of the council, such as Robert Henley, questioned whether the study accomplished what was intended to do -- draw a conclusion on whether a $9 million community center is feasible for the town of Payson.

Councilor Dick Wolfe said he thought the study was well done and should be accepted by the council.

The study was accepted by a vote of 5-2, with Henley and Murphy dissenting.

What it means: Acceptance of the study does not commit the town to the project, town manager Fred Carpenter said. The study will either be a guideline for a center when funding is available, or collect dust in the bookshelves at town hall.

What's next? Schwind said his staff will be researching future funding sources for the community center as part of the Corporate Strategic Plan objectives.

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