I am a native of Payson. I graduated from Payson High School in 1979 when the population was about 5,000. I moved to the Valley because of the many limitations regarding jobs and continued education.
After 20 years, my husband and I decided to move our family "back home." The growth and increased job opportunities now made it more feasible for us to support our family here.
In reading the various articles on the candidates for Town Council and mayor, I find it interesting that the majority of the candidates talk about moving to Payson from somewhere else, and how they don't want the town to change much. They express concerns about the water issue. Did they have these concerns before moving here? Did they consider the impact of their water usage on the current residents? It seems to me that people move here and then want to "close the gates."
Payson is alive because of growth. Most businesses and jobs here are growth-based. There are still limited possibilities for our young high school graduates. They still have to go out of town to receive a degree unless they can afford to work on it over an extended time. If they do return here, will they be able to make a decent living? Buy a home?
Limiting our growth would make it increasingly more difficult for our younger generations to return "home." Limiting growth impacts jobs, schools and lives.
I am not for uncontrolled growth, but I do believe that we need to have continued, sustained growth in order for our town to remain alive. This is what has been happening for the past 27 years. Our town has a growth plan, as required by the state of Arizona. It should be allowed to proceed. Our government is a representative system and, as such, should take the public views into consideration, but we can't all get exactly what we want.
There have to be compromises and sometimes our elected officials have to make decisions that a lot of us may not like. We have to trust that they will have the best interests of our community in mind. They, too, live here and have to deal with the same issues as the rest of us. New representatives might find that they are legally unable to fix/change/improve the issues they are running on. Do we then throw them out at the next election? Having some consistency in our government is good, even when we don't agree with all that they do.
Obviously, Payson has changed over the years. This is not necessarily bad. If we need to see the consequences of too little, or no growth, we only need to look at southern Gila County.
Cindy L. Owens, Payson