Council Halts Publication Of 'Payson Insight'

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Following months of negotiation, the 64-acre Forest Edge subdivision drifted off the Payson Town Council agenda Thursday evening as Mark Perry, principal of Terry-Payson 65, LLC, withdrew the project's rezoning application.

Perry said the development firm will hold community meetings, rework the plan to address neighbors' concerns and submit a new rezoning application.

Mayor Bob Edwards, whose home borders the proposed subdivision at the end of Phoenix Street, thanked Perry for his willingness to cooperate with the surrounding residents.

But the topic that sparked the most debate among councilors wasn't subdivisions, streets or even water, but the demise of the town's newsletter, "Payson Insight."

Joe Miller, a Payson resident, said he valued the information passed along through the town's printed venue.

"The citizenry deserves to know what the town government is doing and thinking," he said.

"Payson Insight" is an eight-page, four-color publication that comes out every quarter. Its content covers everything from water-saving tips to council updates.

The town prints 7,000 copies each run at a cost of $20,000 a year.

Councilor John Wilson said he objected to the discontinuation of the newsletter because of its ability to reach a wider audience, especially those who don't have access to the Internet or cable TV.

But other council members said its quarterly publication produces irrelevant, old news.

"It's untimely," said Councilor Tim Fruth. "It doesn't have a whole lot of meat to it."

Edwards said the town shouldn't create its own news and the council asked the local media to help the staff disseminate information.

The council voted six to one to discontinue "Payson Insight" and add the savings to the budget's "rainy-day" fund.

An ordinance that will force developers to pay for street damage caused during construction passed unanimously Thursday.

"If your going to make an ordinance, make it a good one," said Jon Barber, a contractor.

Barber urged the council to enforce existing laws before creating others.

Town code prohibits heavy vehicles from damaging roads, streets or bridges, resulting in fines and citations.

The council also approved the annual property tax levy, which comprises 3 percent of the town's tax revenue, for the coming fiscal year, and the submittal of grant applications for the town's housing rehabilitation program.

-- To reach Felicia Megdal call 474-5251 ext. 116 or e-mail fmegdal@payson.com.

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