Leaders Look At Ways Town Can Pay For Itself

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As the community of Star Valley enters into a new era, the town is looking at the funds it now has, as well as what it could have in the future.

Town Manager Lanny Sloan said some of the funds the town has to pay for services could be partially reimbursed.

He said when the Payson Police Department or the Department of Public Safety issue traffic citations, the town will receive a portion of the ticket cost.

The town did not receive any funds from Gila County when the sheriff's office issued citations in Star Valley's town limits.

"We are guessing (revenue generated) will be about $30,000," Sloan said.

The figure, he said, is based on what other communities of similar size are receiving.

Sloan said he is unsure of what will happen if the county cites someone inside Star Valley after July 1.

The town is also receiving sales tax now, and Sloan said Star Valley received its first check four weeks ago.

He said the town charges 2 percent sales tax, and the Town Council budgeted $150,000 for revenue generated from this tax.

Animal problems that result in citations, he said, will not have much of an impact on revenues.

"We will budget something so we can receive that amount," he said. "We don't have a lot of that stuff."

The largest amount of money the town will count on is the $667,000 it receives from the state for shared revenue funds, which is based on population figures. Star Valley has a population of a little more than 2,000 people.

The town manager said there are things that the residents in the town may have to pay for eventually.

Currently, one of the town's priorities is the fire protection system that goes to the town.

"It's something the town provides," Sloan said. "It will be one of our services."

He said the town may also consider impact fees, which are fees charged for new construction. Almost all cities and towns in Arizona have impact fees.

The town is also looking at franchise fees with public utilities, which must be approved by voters in an election.

A typical franchise fee is 2 percent for all charges from the utility company.

Building permit fees is another way the small town will raise funds. Sloan said the fees will be based on construction costs.

He said future expenses the town will face include the new town hall building, and the possibility of hiring a town marshal.

One monumental expense is still far down the road.

He said, unlike Payson, the town does not own its water or wastewater system. The town currently uses septic tanks.

Eventually the state will probably force the town to put in a wastewater treatment facility, which will not be cheap.

For example, the City of Bisbee in Southeastern Arizona a few years ago was mandated by the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality to rehabilitate and in some places redo the city's wastewater treatment facility. The cost was $34 million.

"It will be a big problem when that comes," he said. "It is a long and expensive process." Sloan believes it will be years before the state mandates the town to have a sewer system in place.

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