I have been a resident and taxpayer in the town of Payson for almost 15 years. I have friends who live in Star Valley and up until now, I have frequently spent my money at various businesses located there on a regular basis.
Star Valley has elected to become its own incorporated town and form its own community government. I truly wish them every success. But the cold reality of all that it entails is beginning to set in. The financial requirements to be a viable incorporated town are formidable.
One of the largest budget items for any community is providing for it's own law enforcement services. Star Valley has requested that the Town of Payson provide these services for them. For now, our newly elected mayor and council have agreed to a intergovernmental contract to provide all police services for the period of one year, for the sum of $100,000. This has been done to assuage perceived past wrongs over water issues between Payson and Star Valley and hopefully lead to better relations between our communities.
The dirty little secret is that Star Valley has gotten a political sweetheart deal at the expense and the safety of Payson residents. We have been constantly reminded by our police department and town officials that the Payson Police Department is understaffed and financially strained just trying to serve the needs of our own community.
With the agreement to provide police services to Star Valley, my family, friends and fellow citizens will be at risk to their personal safety, homes, and businesses. Our overtaxed uniformed police will be handling calls for services in Star Valley now.
This can potentially result in no police being available to respond to Payson's needs should a serious situation occur in Star Valley.
In addition, response time, which is so critical, will be greatly increased for us.
Another adverse effect is the increased workload that our follow-up detectives will have to bear in investigating Star Valley's reported crimes. When you sit down and figure the "total true costs" for this police contract, the fact is, Payson residents will be financially subsidizing it out of our tax dollars. This is not morally right, nor is it neighborly.
Star Valley residents have decided the future direction of their community. Now they have to pay for its requirements out of their own pockets, not jeopardize the safety of our community, and burden us with their financial shortfalls. Concerned citizens of Payson will be actively working to have this contract rescinded as soon as possible.
Donald Evans, Payson