After losing the last two mayoral elections, Diane Sexton has decided to run for town council this time around.
Sexton, whose family owns the Beeline Cafe, Sexton Pest Control and Beeline Heating and Cooling, says her decision was based on what voters were telling her.
"They're not settling for the experience I've had in life, and I respect that," she said. "They want me to go up through the ranks; that's what I'm understanding."
Sexton said not running was an option she never considered.
"I have a passion for it," she said. "How many people would run and lose and keep going.
"I think I can really make a difference."
Sexton said her primary concern is people, and that the current town staff and council could use a few manners. In fact, she believes the current discord could have been avoided.
"So many people have complained about the rudeness, and that's not necessary," she said. "They (both staff and council) work for us.
"We get a bad taste in our mouth when we are treated disrespectfully in any area, and our defenses come up and nothing good comes out of our mouths."
Sexton also believes the council needs to challenge the town staff.
"Not that we can't believe the department heads, but they need to go out and get their own information, make a phone call, and act according to (the desires of) the community, not according to one person," she said.
Sexton said residents pay too much in taxes, and that closer scrutiny and better control of the budget is part of the equation.
"We are in a very high tax bracket," she said. "I think our budget needs to be gone over with a fine-toothed comb.
"I have never liked the fact that town departments can (spend) up to $24,999 without it going before the people."
She doesn't believe the recent round of town staff raises was appropriate.
"I don't think we needed the raises," she said. "We are our own community (and shouldn't be compared to others).
"It would be different, if we were getting things done, if I could see the town of Payson was really listening to us and working for the majority."
The condition of Payson's streets is another problem Sexton says she will address.
"We can't keep putting Band-aids on," she said. "It's going to be expensive.
"I don't like that they can come up with X amount of dollars when they have to, but yet when we want something done they don't have the financing."
Sexton believes the town's decision to take water from Star Valley to fuel its own growth is a done deal, but she believes it was not only wrong, but also handled poorly.
"We voted in 2003 to find water wherever we could find it, but we should have fine-tuned it," she said. "We should have said, ‘Find water, except for here, here, here and here.'
"That's why we pay people -- to fine-tune things."
Sexton believes the town of Payson should be allowed to drill for water in the Tonto National Forest. She blames "the environmentalists."
"The reason the Forest Service isn't giving us free rein to look for water in the forest is that they don't want to deal with the environmentalists," she said. "The environmentalists are a thorn in the flesh of most of us.
"We need to go out in our forest and bring (the water) in and not bother anybody else -- not cause a family feud."
In past elections, Sexton's residence has been an issue, but she produced a letter from local attorney John Franklin stating she meets the qualifications to run for town council.
Sexton will be available to meet with voters from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. every Monday in January and February at Denny's restaurant. She can also be reached at (928) 474-9110.
She does not accept campaign contributions.
This is the fifth in a series of articles about the candidates for the Payson Town Council. At the conclusion of the series, the Roundup will compare the candidates' views side by side on a number of issues our readers tell us are important to them.