Diamond Star Could Become Star Valley

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Most of the 60 people who packed the training room of the Diamond Star Fire Department Tuesday evening were there to express their support for changing the new town's name.

Fortunately those in attendance at the second meeting of the Diamond Star Town Council all seemed to agree on the same name: Star Valley. Unfortunately, changing the name may not be all that easy.

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Diamond Star Mayor Ronnie McDaniel speaks with councilmember Mary Ann Kotelnicki during a meeting of the newly formed town council.

"It comes up so rarely that there is nothing in the statutes that directly addresses that," Diamond Star Town Attorney Fredda Bisman said. "We understand this is a very important issue to the citizens of the town, so we promised to look at every possible option and come back to them."

Diamond Star Councilor Chuck Heron and Vice Mayor Randy White both emphasized the historic value of the Star Valley name.

"I'm in favor of (Star Valley)," Heron said. "I made my first speech as a councilman on the fact it is a historical name."

White said he suspects that even Payson won't try to stop the new town from changing its name.

"Who's actually going to protest it if the county gives us their blessing to change it," he asked.

The successful petition drive to incorporate was conducted using the Diamond Star name in part because the new town's boundaries are the same as the Diamond Star Fire Department. The other major community within those boundaries is Diamond Point Shadows.

Stopping the pipeline

Another issue on the minds of Diamond Star residents is stopping Payson and developer G. Michael Horton from piping their water into Payson to satiate that town's thirst for growth.

While Bisman and the new council understand the urgency of the situation, they also emphasize the need to study it carefully before acting.

"I know for a lot of people that's the top priority and it should be done the day you first pound the gavel, but in order to stand up in court, anything we do has to be scrutinized and done within the letter of the law," Heron said.

However, White said he thinks the issue will be addressed before the first of the year.

"All I know is that there are some precedents out there and we need to look at those to make (what we do) foolproof," he said.

Heron noted that it would take Horton time to complete the pipeline he is currently installing.

"There is no water flowing from the line right now."

Not only does Horton plan to use Diamond Star water to meet the water requirements for three new subdivisions, but the town of Payson has agreed to pay George Randall and Roy Haught $750,000 for the excess water that Horton does not take from their Star Valley well.

Other agenda items

At the Tuesday meeting, the council also:

  • Officially appointed Ronnie O. McDaniel and White interim mayor and vice mayor.
  • Designated the Diamond Star Fire Station as the primary location for posting meeting agendas and other town information. The town will eventually install a locked bulletin board at the fire station, but for now notices will be posted on the door. Notices will also be posted in other locations around town and on the Web site of the Diamond Star Water Coalition, www.diamondstarwater.org.
  • Determined that the primary election for a new council would be held in March 2006. Candidate packets will be available Nov. 14 and must be returned by Dec. 14.

Terms will be staggered, although the procedure for accomplishing that has not yet been determined.

The council must also determine whether the mayor will be appointed by the council or elected directly by the voters.

(Both White and Heron said they are still considering whether to run. McDaniel has said he probably won't.)

  • Voted to hold regular town council meetings the first and third Tuesdays of the month with work-study sessions on intervening Tuesdays. The next regular meeting will be at 6 p.m., Tuesday, Nov. 15 at the fire station. All Diamond Star council meetings are open to the public.

See related stories:


Diamond Star council hits ground running (Nov. 8)


Supervisors approve Diamond Star incorporation (Nov. 4)

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