The final category we call "Open." It is an opportunity for each candidate to address any other issue or subject.
Jon Barber: Respect -- I am committed to respect the citizens (and neighbors) of Payson. Government and its employees are supposed to serve the public. The leaders need to remember how they got there. I will challenge the council and staff to have a "can do" attitude. This will go a long way toward having a peaceful community. Improving communications with the public is essential. Sometimes an explanation goes a long way to minimize controversy. There are challenges ahead, some with roots that go back several years. Calm, level heads will be needed to find solutions that help maintain and preserve our quality of life. My current position requires me to work through challenges (sometimes called problems) and get the job done. I will do the same as mayor.
Barbara Brewer: Drainage -- The Green Valley redevelopment area needs to be enhanced so that we can complete more of our drainage problems. We have to begin at the bottom of the channel and work north to do this right and prevent flooding on people in between. Many of us know the effects of a 100 or 500 year rain in that area and we must be ready for more of it.
Bob Edwards: Area Cooperation -- I co-founded the Committee for Community-Based Growth to put the Star Valley water issue on the ballot for a citizen vote. What the town is doing by taking Star Valley water may be legal, but it's not moral. Taking their water could cause private wells to go dry with no solution for those affected, except the high cost of drilling a deeper well. Payson needs to work with our neighbors not fight with them. As Mayor, I will convene area-wide meetings including surrounding communities, the Forest Service and the Tonto Apache tribe to identify areas of concern such as water availability, fire danger, our community college, and to determine how to better use our political clout. Then we will meet with county, state and national political leaders to clearly convey our needs and expectations.
Ed Blair: Citizen Input -- My belief is that with a new mayor and council, we can align the operation of the town with the will of the citizens. As the council encourages citizen involvement in the decisions first, then the town staff needs to make that happen. The citizens will have prior input instead of "contact the town hall if you have comments on the plans the council and staff have presented." One small way I will open up the process is to be available at town hall two hours each on three days a week to hear your concerns. I also believe council agendas should be more "visitor friendly" and the council should have public hearings (instead of post-9 p.m. "public ignorings") at earlier times in the evening.
Su Connell: Rebuilding Trust -- I see a big challenge in the rebuilding of trust between Payson government and its residents. Open, two-way communication, listening to the voters and respecting them must be the behavior of town staff and government. I am a community leader who possesses those skills. I am the director of Rim Country Literacy Program, on the board of Time Out Shelter, and the community service coordinator of the noon Rotary Club. I lead by example, building relationships, listening to and valuing the diversity of other people, their opinions and their ideas. I do not have a specific agenda, interest or alignment. I will be objective and can put aside my personal opinions in order to do what is best for Payson.
Rick Croy: Housing Opportunities for all -- We all have used terms such as affordable and workforce housing. The truth is we need to have opportunities for all. In recent years almost all housing has been high end. Our community has and needs various income level families. The service sector industries and employees are a vital part of our community and need adequate and affordable housing. Without housing they will be unable to survive in Payson or this area. We need to address this for the future stability of our service industries and our town.
Robert Henley: Proven Leadership -- I am a strong, fiscally conservative member of the town council. I believe that we should rank our current and desired projects and programs by priority. We should then fund them based on those priorities. As we add new projects or programs that require funding, we should consider dropping current projects or programs that may no longer be relevant to the needs of our community. I spearheaded sensible salary adjustments for the rank and file employees and management. I have worked hard to learn my role as councilor. I want to continue in that role for another four years. I am a leader who makes fair and informed decisions on behalf of all of our citizens after researching and considering all input! I am a proven leader for our complex challenges.
Diane Sexton: Fire Break -- Since the Forest Service is presently under-funded to create a fire break around Payson, we need to aggressively utilize a volunteer work force of citizens, and of other people serving community service, to aid in protecting our town. By working with our local fire department, we can do what Strawberry, Pine and Kohl's Ranch did. In these communities, individual residents reported the hours and money spent removing the brush surrounding their property to their local fire chiefs. After the fire chiefs submitted the collected data for the federal grant, Strawberry and Pine received $186,000, and Kohl's Ranch got $120,000. At this time, Payson has not participated in this project for many years. This is an activity in which our community of Payson could richly benefit. I promise I will always be an honest voice for you. For more information, call me at 474-9110.
Charlie Smith: Communitywide Cooperation -- I am applying for a job. I want to work for the people of Payson. I have no affiliation with any committees, special interest groups or PACs. I want to do what is right for the residents of Payson. Before I make a decision on an agenda item I will ask if it is the truth, that we have all of the facts, make sure that it is the right thing for everyone and that everyone will benefit from it. This is the only way to make sure that the interests of the community are being addressed. There are two other councils in our geographic region other than the Payson Town Council. These are the town council of Diamond Star and the Tonto Apache Tribal Council. I believe that a combined meeting between all three councils on a quarterly or bi-annual basis can only improve the relationships of these communities with each other and further enhance their ability to provide for their residents.
Barbara Underwood: Community Service -- Service to the community is important to me. In the almost three decades that I have lived in Payson, I have volunteered thousands of hours, helping schools, charities and the town. Being a councilor is a service to the community. I feel that if you are not of a charitable nature, then you have no business running for office. Workforce housing is another concern. There is a plan in Flagstaff on this very issue. If by using this model or adopting a similar plan we can allow our workforce (teachers, firefighters, police, etc.) to work and live in town, we will have accomplished a great service to the community. Change is sometimes a hard pill to swallow; that is why I am working to preserve the past as I look to the future.
Mike Vogel: Leadership and Direction -- Leadership and direction is what this election is all about. The new leadership, being the whole council, will be able to look at the problems from a new point of view. Not one but seven leaders will choose the direction of this town. This council shall have an open-door policy so they can communicate with the citizens of Payson. Council should make themselves available during scheduled hours other than council nights. Another form of communication that I have looked into is having a column in the Payson Roundup. This column would explain actions, votes and opinions of the council.