Star Valley resident and town councilor Art Lloyd addressed an audience, overflowing into the corridors of town hall, at the Payson Town Council meeting Thursday evening.
He quoted Benjamin Franklin's plea for unity, uttered during the signing of the Declaration of Independence: "We had better hang together or surely we will hang separately."
Lloyd's introduction segued into an announcement encouraging harmony between two neighboring towns -- Payson and Star Valley.
"Unfortunately for the past year we have not hung together and our community has been divided and continues to be divided," Lloyd said. "I am here as a resident of Star Valley to tell you that the first steps toward hanging together have been taken."
Representatives from Star Valley and the investment and building corporation, Terra Capital Group, have reached a tentative agreement, Lloyd said.
This accord, he added, could mitigate a lawsuit filed in early 2006 by the Star Valley-based development firm, well owners Roy Haught and George Randall and other community members.
Lloyd then turned his attention 4 miles to the west.
"I would also hope we can work with the town of Payson and that the town of Payson will extend a hand of cooperation to your neighbors in Star Valley," Lloyd said. "This water issue is bigger than all of us and it affects all of us in Northern Gila County, but if we hang together, we can truly work on this issue and we can resolve it for the betterment of our community ... all of our communities." Lloyd didn't clarify the details of the discussions with Terra Capital Group, but, he did express a desire to partner with Payson to seek new water sources.
"We feel like things are finally moving forward and we hope that we can report shortly that a great deal of progress has been made," Lloyd said.
Payson Mayor Barbara Brewer said she looked forward to reconciliation.
"We won't abuse the privilege of using the water from the Roy Haught, George Randall wells in Star Valley," she said. "And I commend you and thank you for being here with us."