Town Council's Inaction Lacks Foresight

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The behavior of the town of Payson over the issue of Diamond Star incorporation just gets more curious.

At the regular town council meeting last night, that body opted to do absolutely nothing about an issue that will have major reverberations throughout the Rim country.

Even more curious, Public Works Director Buzz Walker didn't even attend the meeting, and Town Attorney Sam Streichman and Town Manager Fred Carpenter contributed little to the discussion.

The council was left to flail around aimlessly, asking Diamond Star Water Coalition spokesman Randy Roberson questions he couldn't possibly answer, punctuated by awkward glances and silences.

It may be an unfair judgment, but based on the strange behavior of both the town staff and council, one is left to wonder whether one of three things is happening:

  • For whatever reason, town staff is not giving the council the tools it needs to adequately assess the issue and render a judgment, or...
  • The council knows exactly what it's doing -- stonewalling the coalition in the hope that the water will start flowing down Highway 260 to the town before it can be stopped, or...
  • The town is so afraid that it's going to be sued by Star Valley water coveter, developer G. Michael Horton -- a possibility that one staff member recently raised -- that the town believes doing nothing is the best course of action.

Here are some questions we're still waiting for answers to:

  • Last night, at least two councilors, Dick Reese and George Barriger, said they were interested in knowing more about annexation. Yet every time the question of a feasibility study comes up, it is summarily dismissed as too expensive. Is it more expensive to do nothing? Is this not an issue, if there ever was one, worth spending money on?
  • Does the town really think it can stop the residents of Diamond Star from achieving self-determination if they want it? As coalition spokesman Randy Roberson put it last night, "We are not asking you for anything you don't already enjoy."
  • Where is the moral outrage that any member of the town staff or council would feel if somebody were trying to suck water out of their neighborhoods or keep them from governing themselves? Not one councilor has taken the floor at a meeting to apologize to the residents of Diamond Star or even express sympathy for their plight. Instead they're treated like people who don't have a clue what they're getting into.
  • Will this council ever realize that this issue is a public relations nightmare, and that despite all its positive accomplishments, how it handles the Diamond Star issue is likely to be its legacy?

At this point, it appears that nothing will happen until the council is forced to deal with this issue when the coalition takes it to a higher authority, quite possibly in a court of law.

How expensive will a feasibility study seem then?

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