What Happened To Payson?

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Editor:

As my wife and I began to look at the perfect place to retire a few years ago, Payson fit the bill. It was represented by real estate agents, the visitor's bureau, the people we met, and the brochures that are available to be a well run, stable and charming little town that had no plans for explosive growth.

Now, as property owners and tax paying Paysonites for the last several years, we have returned to Payson several times in order to better get acquainted with the town, our neighbors, and to consider what type of home to build.

As an Internet reader of the Payson Roundup and based on conversations with people I talked to on a recent trip up to Payson, I am quite disturbed by what I see.

The little town of Payson appears to have voided the contract with its people for modest and upper limit growth, leadership in the town appears to be absent, the current mayor's articles and interviews focus on what she is considering for the future, but ignores what hasn't been done over her current term, and most troubling of all, it appears a few longtime staffers continue making the decisions, rather than considering the voters' wishes.

The notion that anyone could allow an outsider to get approval for 1,000 building permits, usurp control and drive demands on any town for water, is amazing.

In case anyone hasn't checked, Payson is in Arizona -- not a state known for an over abundance of water. Why in the world do we not have leadership that understands 5- and 10-year planning covenants/expectations/promises/as-advertised agreements with citizens who came and settled in Payson precisely because of its small town charm, the promise of well managed growth, the willingness to say "no" to short-term over building at the expense of long term survival?

If Payson doesn't change soon and start down the road to improving its vision and protecting its people and assets by putting in place leaders who can stand for what the citizens came here for, I'm not sure if Payson will survive. The current "leadership," appears apathetic and unwilling to listen to the voice of the people. This election, it appears to me, is clearly the right time for a change.

Jim Jones, Groton, Mass.

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