The people were lined up all the way to the parking lot. There was standing room only in the council chambers. Emotions were running high, and the town council was being accused of not understanding the needs of the community. There was a threat of a recall. We had to have police protection at the meetings, with officers patrolling the town hall parking lot during council meetings. You would think this was happening during the last few weeks but, in fact, I am recalling a time during the late 1990s.
Guess what the issues were? They were growth vs. no growth, water vs. a moratorium (on new connections) and the economy of the town vs. impact fees. Back then, the business community came out in force for little or no impact fees and to promote growth.
The no-growth element just knew that all of this new growth (which historically is less than 500 people per year) would destroy our little town.
So far, Payson has survived rather nicely. We don't have crime problems. We don't have graffiti and gangs. We do have some traffic issues, no question about that. We have outstanding parks and recreational facilities. We have a great library. We have an outstanding public works department with experienced and professional leaders. Our town staff has performed well in creating programs and opportunities for people to succeed.
The fact is that if it were not for the leadership of the town of Payson, there would be no enhanced 911 service in our area. If your son or daughter is involved in a terrible accident 15 miles south of Payson, the Payson Fire Department will respond, no questions asked, to provide treatment, comfort and aid to your loved ones.
The truth of the matter is this issue, which is really not a whole lot different than what we fought over in the '90s, will sooner or later get resolved.
We have a good town, and you folks who have just moved here should not let this argument get you down. We have an honest, hard-working town council. I don't always agree with their position, or how they vote, but they are good people trying to do what they think is right, even in the face of loud and accusatory people.
The comments made in Tuesday's Roundup by two well-respected and longtime members of this community were, at the least, in poor taste. I have lost a measure of respect for both of these good men.
Gordon H. Gartner, Payson