Each candidate was asked to provide approximately 125 words on the issue of streets:
Jon Barber: Even though we've been told streets have been a priority, it's obvious they haven't been high enough on the list. Money from the general fund should have been spent on streets first, where the majority of the people said their priorities were and where the town's responsibilities lie, and then work on new buildings. Getting streets repaired and collector streets upgraded are high priorities for me. Right now the town doesn't have a viable route to bypass the intersection of 260 and 87. This needs to be addressed for the overall safety of the town and in the event of evacuating any area around us. This can be done in conjunction with the upgrading of substandard collector streets and adding one new street.
Barbara Brewer: As promised I led a cohesive council forward to put more money than has ever been allotted for roads. Thus the benefit for the citizens of Payson. Never before have we done more than seven miles of roads for repair or chip sealing. Since I've been Mayor our street department has more than doubled the roads by completing 16 miles in 04/05 and another 15 miles in 05/06. We put over $4 million dollars into roads this year alone. Many were matching grants and we will continue to improve our streets. We have now a revolving six-year plan that every road will have maintenance preservation or upgrading done.
Bob Edwards: Street maintenance ties the issue of water as the number one citizen concern. This year, $450,000 is budgeted for street maintenance. When asked about parks, citizens love them but are satisfied. This year $1million is budgeted to parks. When asked how important the Main Street project is, it doesn't even make the top 10 issues. This year we budgeted $500,000 for it. Payson government needs to listen to "We the People" and set priorities based on their input. We will inventory all streets, determine needs (including surface, signage, safety and drainage) and prioritize and publish a maintenance schedule. In addition we will squeeze the budget and put the savings into street maintenance.
Ed Blair: Many in the older sections of town are in disrepair. The sides are crumbling and they are not getting attention. They might have been passable when we were at 3,000 population, but our increase in traffic volume demands -- sooner than later -- attention. Those who have to drive on the northern section of McLane are appalled at the danger to both motorists and pedestrians. Manzanita Street north of Safeway is a joke. The present administration has said streets are a priority but the budget doesn't reflect that. I will vote to squeeze the present budget to put the savings into street repairs -- immediately!
Su Connell: Payson's infrastructure is paramount to the well-being of our citizens. Arizona rural communities receive a mere 13 percent of ADOT funds, thus many towns and cities are jockeying for the same money. Payson's street repair projects and new streets are often planned years in advance. I will work with you, our citizens, to proactively anticipate our future needs. I will seek a solution to better the repair and improvement of our streets by looking for "out-of-the-box" team efforts, involving the developers, state land department, citizens, and town staff. While dealing with rising construction costs, we must have a robust and pro-active plan for our streets as well as the public's safety, and I will champion getting such a plan in place.
Rick Croy: Outside resources such as grants need to be vigorously pursued. This needs to be a high priority in the budget. The entire town needs to be assessed and mapped out and labeled with a time line for repairs. This may already be done. The areas without curbs should be a priority at the same time and drainage could be improved. Any local area interested in forming improvement districts should have an additional preference in the timetables. Special grant funds are available to help in lower income areas.
Robert Henley: I have fought to increase the budget for street maintenance and street reconstruction, two separate budget line items. If re-elected, I will continue with this effort to continue to fully fund our street budget. I led the effort to sell the town-owned Sky Park Industrial lots and use the proceeds to fund street reconstruction. I supported the building of the town's new street maintenance facility near the airport. It was sorely needed and it has improved the efficiency of operations. I support the concept of residential street improvement districts in which the town will split the cost of residential street reconstruction on a 50/50 basis. This has not been done yet, but it has merit.
Diane Sexton: Streets cost approximately $1.3 million per mile. Due to the high cost of correctly repairing our streets, there is no base under a lot of our older streets. In the early years they just put down chip and slurry to keep the dust down, and it only lasts four or five years depending on the weather and traffic. Now there is a rubber-base product available that will last up to 15 years. I propose that we work to get the county road tax of one-half cent back into Payson, and that we require each town department to find money within its budget to assist with funding our streets.
Charlie Smith: Streets are a major issue in Payson. We cannot continue to patch potholes and just slurry the roads. During the summer when we have the Beeline packed on the weekends, the only recourse for residents is the use of McLane and Easy streets as the north/south route to bypass the Beeline to get around town. We need to have a better plan on the upkeep of these two major streets.
Barbara Underwood: Road conditions continue to be one of the top two issues on the minds of the Payson voters. Although town officials have budgeted more funds this year to maintain and improve our streets, I believe we need to pursue additional funding to facilitate the necessary repairs and road improvements evident on any trip across town. We must continue to maintain the newer streets as well as repair those in desperate need of repair. Then we need to prioritize the streets that need to be torn up and redone completely, and budget them accordingly. I would not rule out another bond election with particular streets addressed, so that the voters could vote on the ones they would like to pay for.
Mike Vogel: If we go to a "0" based budget, and control the budget, we can then take the savings and put them into a street fund. We can then use this money only for streets. We must, at the same time, work on drainage as this also leads to road damage.