Council Seeks Legal Advice On Excessive Force Lawsuit

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The Payson Town Council has scheduled an executive session to discuss town business including an excessive force lawsuit, Star Valley water issues and the town's design review guidelines at 5 p.m. Thursday.

The town will seek legal advice in executive session on the excessive force case of Sheehan v. Town of Payson.

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Town Attorney Sam Streichman

"It was a lawsuit, obviously brought by Mr. Sheehan, in which he claimed he suffered some sort of an injury as a result of police action," Town Attorney Sam Streichman said.

The executive session is closed to the public, but the council may reconvene in open session to take action on one or all of the agenda items.

"Something could come out of either one of those and probably would be expected to," Town Manager Fred Carpenter said.

Star Valley water

While Carpenter would not reveal the content of the meeting, he said it was probably a continuation of the discussion that began in executive session last Thursday.

According to the agenda, which can be viewed in its entirety on the town's website (www.ci.payson.az.us), the discussion and/or legal consultation will focus on litigation or settlement discussions relating to the annexation or incorporation of the Diamond Star area and to water exploration and procurement in Star Valley.

Payson Mayor Barbara Brewer indicated a second developer now wants the town's OK to pipe water out of the Diamond Star district and into Payson to meet town water credit requirements. According to Chris Benjamin of the Diamond Star Water Coalition, this new developer and perhaps others want to utilize the pipeline developer G. Michael Horton hopes to run out of Diamond Star down Highway 260 to the town's water system.

After the town refused to endorse the incorporation of the communities of Star Valley and Diamond Point Shadows as Diamond Star, the coalition received Gila County's approval and is proceeding with a petition drive. If the coalition can secure the signatures of two-thirds of the registered voters in the two communities, it can avoid a special election.

Brewer also said the town's response to the incorporation drive will be considered in the executive session.

Water users agreement

At the regular town council meeting, scheduled to begin after the executive session, at approximately 6 p.m., the council will consider an annual outlay of $9,050 from the water fund. The money will be used to fund its portion of the operation of the Northern Arizona Municipal Water Users Association. In particular, the association, of which the town is a founding member, wants to hire a program administrator.

"It's been around for about three years, but they're finally getting to the point where they want to hire an executive director," Carpenter said. "This is a group that formed to work on issues that we can cooperatively work on to improve the water picture for all the members."

Besides Payson, members include Camp Verde, Chino Valley, Clarkdale, Cottonwood, Flagstaff, Prescott, Prescott Valley, Sedona, and Williams. The amount each community pays is based on a fixed share of $5,000 plus an amount based on population.

Clarkdale, for example, with a population of 3,422, will pay $6,000 a year, while Flagstaff, with a population of 52,894, will pay $20,800. Payson has 13,620 residents.

Design review guidelines

A second reading and final approval of a design review ordinance developed/created to enhance the street appeal of the town's commercial areas is also expected Thursday evening.

"We had a couple of meetings on it, and we had a few people give input, but last meeting everybody seemed happy, so I think this thing will go through relatively quickly," Carpenter said.

The purpose of the new ordinance, originally approved by the Planning and Zoning Commission, is to change the architectural emphasis of the town's business corridors from a contemporary/fast food/gas station look to a rustic, "mountain, forest character of (our) small rural community."

New radio station

The council will also consider allowing KCMA-LP, a new radio station, to install a low-power antenna on the town's water storage tank on Summit Street. Carpenter is recommending a fee of $150 per month, the same KRIM-LP pays for a similar use.

The new radio station, owned by Tom and Chris Spencer and Andy and Cindy Kofile, will be located at 98.5 on the FM dial and will play easy listening music from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.

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