Council Could Modify Stand On Importing Private Water

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Resolution 2098 regarding the Randall-Haught well in Star Valley is back on the Payson Town Council agenda for Thursday night's regular meeting.

In fact, three items on the agenda relate to the controversial resolution, which authorizes the town to pay George Randall and Roy Haught $750,000 for water over and above that which developer G. Michael Horton plans to pipe to Payson for three new subdivisions. They are, in order of appearance:

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Payson Town Councilor Tim Fruth

  • Discussion and possible action on a proposal by Councilor Tim Fruth on use of the Randall-Haught wells, "should the town obtain the right to use such wells."
  • Discussion and possible action regarding litigation over the town's decision not to allow a referendum on Resolution 2098.
  • Discussion and possible action concerning Resolution 2098 and the referendum requested by Councilor Dick Reese.

After the council originally passed the resolution, the Committee for Community-Based Growth submitted a petition containing more than 1,900 signatures requesting it be placed on the ballot.

The town council then accepted (without taking a vote) the legal advice of Tom Irvine, a Valley lawyer who specializes in election law. Irvine told the council that he felt a referendum did not have to be held because Resolution 2098 would merely carry out a policy that is already in place.

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Payson Town Councilor Dick Reese

The Committee for Community-Based Growth subsequently appealed the town's decision not to hold the referendum. The agenda item calling for discussion of that litigation is apparently related to a court deadline for the town to respond set for later this month.

Town Manager Fred Carpenter said the item is scheduled to be discussed first at a 5 p.m. executive session, from which the public is barred. Any action the council takes, however, would have to be done at the regular 6 p.m. meeting following the executive session.

Less clear is what Fruth and Reese have in mind with the agenda items they requested.

"We didn't get anything to put in the packet on that, but (Fruth) has a proposal to make on the use of the RH-2 (Randall-Haught) wells if they survive all the legal challenges and everything," Carpenter said.

Fruth, who has recused himself from the entire issue because he is an assistant principal for the Payson Unified School District, and Horton is on the school board, declined to elaborate.

"I haven't quite figured out what I'm going to do," he said. "I'm still working out details on what I want the town to look at."

But he said he has talked to people on both sides of the Star Valley water issue.

"I've received input from a lot of people trying to come up with something on it, including those that are not necessarily supporters of the town," he said.

And he said he would maintain his position relative to the conflict of interest.

"I can't address the Horton thing," he said. "That's a private contract issue.

"But I can address what the town plans on doing with water. I can address that, and I will address that. I don't know if I'll have any support or not."

Reese has said little more about what his agenda item is all about, but Bob Edwards, leader of the Committee for Community-Based Growth, said it was his understanding that Reese wants to give the council another opportunity to put Resolution 2098 on the ballot.

"I like it," Edwards said. "It's going to put them on record one more time."

Also on the council agenda Thursday evening:

  • A proposed amendment to the preliminary plat for Boulder Creek, a 30-unit condominium subdivision on Phoenix Street.

"Planning and Zoning is saying the same thing it has said before," Carpenter said. "There's only water for 20 (units), and if you want to do 30, you're going to get a conditional rezoning, if you get one at all, and you have to come up with a water supply."

Corporate Strategic Plan

A Corporate Strategic Plan meeting will be held at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday at the Best Western Inn of Payson. It is open to the public.

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