Water, Land Key To Town Growth

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The Payson Town Council is expected to "adopt" one strategic plan and "accept" another at its 6 p.m. meeting Thursday evening.

Focused Future II

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Payson Town Manager Fred Carpenter

Up for acceptance, is the Focused Future II plan -- back for another look after the council sent an earlier draft back to the drawing board last August.

At that time, several councilors took exception to a single sentence, which read: "Following plan's adoption, the PREDC (Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation), town of Payson, Main Street, and chamber of commerce will develop and/or modify their organization's strategic plan (sic) to align with the Focused Future Strategic Plan's goals and strategies." The protesting councilors, led by Robert Henley, felt the town's Corporate Strategic plan, not Focused Future II, should be the dominant plan that the others needed to be aligned with.

"The way I understand it, instead of ‘approving' it, ‘accepting' it is better," Payson Town Manager Fred Carpenter said.

The Focused Future II plan was sponsored by Arizona Public Service, and utilized APS consultants who worked with a broad-based citizen action team to develop a strategic plan for economic development. Besides Payson, communities chosen by APS to develop plans due to growth and development include Casa Grande, Cottonwood, Douglas, Goodyear, Surprise, and Prescott Valley.

"APS does this because they feel anything they do to improve economic development in a community allows them to sell more power," Town Manager Fred Carpenter said.

The plan involves six focus areas where "Payson must direct its attention...":

1. Building a Strong Community -- Develop local leadership; enhance the community's image.

2. Business Development --Promote a pro-business attitude; support existing businesses and encourage expansion; help attract and relocate appropriate businesses.

3. Visitor Attraction and Retention

4. Quality Education and Workforce Development

5. Strengthening Community Infrastructure

6. Preserve Heritage and Natural Environment

The plan notes that water availability is "one overriding issue that has not fully been solved that may impact the community's effort."

Scott Flake, director of the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation and a key participant in the study, noted another problem confronting the town's economic development goals.

"Another issue we face is land," he said. "There's not enough industrial-type land for development, but you don't just close up shop because there are challenges. You look for ways around them."

Corporate Strategic Plan

The town's Corporate Strategic Plan, up for approval Thursday evening, was presented to the public for a two week review on March 10.

In development since October, the 2005-2006 strategic plan features 12 key result areas, within which are 22 major objectives for the town to accomplish within five years. Here are the top objectives as prioritized in the plan:

1. Secure new sources of water.

2. Improve streets.

3. Improve fire and emergency medical services.

4. Provide personnel, facilities, equipment and training for police department.

5. Make airport as self-sustaining as possible.

6. Promote water conservation.

7. Improve airport.

8. Improve drainage.

9. Implement financial trend monitoring system.

10. Improve solid waste collection and recycling.

11. Enhance parks and recreation facilities and services.

12. Enhance overall economic performance.

13. Improve operations.

14. Upgrade Payson Event Center.

15. Enhance economic performance of the Green Valley Redevelopment Area.

16. Reduce the number of unsightly properties.

17. Develop evaluation procedures for funding provided to outside non-profit agencies.

18. Establish public transit system.

19. Acquire golf course.

20. Improve external communications.

21. Evaluate organizational effectiveness and efficiency.

22. Develop a library expansion statement.

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