Building Payson's Corporate Strategic Plan A Battle

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The clashing of new ideas for the town's future with differing philosophy from past administrations has defined the Corporate Strategic Plan (CSP) development process for the 2007-2008 fiscal year.

During a four-hour joint planning session -- among town councilors, staff, task force members, and the public -- Police Chief Gordon Gartner said Wednesday that the group should begin refining its recommendations and defining standards for progress.

"Tell me what to do and tell me how to measure it," he said.

Town staff is still waiting for input from a few of the mayor's citizen input groups, such as the beautification and economic development committees.

The CSP helps town staff stay on track as it fulfills the objectives requested by the town council during the previous year.

Since planning for the 2007-2008 CSP began in July, the town council has stepped aside to allow task force members and department heads to develop initiatives.

"This is the first CSP meeting that involves the council, town staff and the task force members," Town Manager Fred Carpenter said.

The group will reconvene Dec. 5 update on the progress of the recommendations given to town staff by the council. Many of the objectives build upon the strategies defined last year.

The CSP planning will culminate when the council adopts the 2007-2008 CSP in March 2007. Highlights from the discussions Wednesday include communications; environmental protection; community development; and streets.

Although the notion of communication is a murky one, Mayor Bob Edwards said improved relationships among local entities, especially Star Valley, the tribe and the county, is a priority. But the challenge is quantifying those results.

"The milestones would be an agreement with these entities," Carpenter said.

The concept of solid-waste recycling has been kicked around for years, but funding issues have thwarted past efforts.

"I would love to recycle, but I don't think we can spend town money on things that don't make sense," Edwards said.

The town offers paper recycling at Wal-Mart and Green Valley Park, but Public Works Director Buzz Walker said people frequently throw prohibited items, such as human waste, into the bins and the recycling company rejects the entire load at town expense.

"It doesn't pay for itself," Walker said.

The current program will end if a volunteer group or a task force or a private waste company can't take on the responsibility.

Community development, said Ken Volz, chair of the economic development task force, is a matter of coordinating the efforts of regional organizations, such as the chamber of commerce and the Payson Regional Economic Development Corporation, his committee and town staff. The key goals of community development include affordable housing solutions; the establishment of a town image; the promotion of festivals; and the clean up of blighted areas.

Edwards said the burden of improving neighborhoods should fall on community groups such as homeowner's associations and not solely on the town.

Better streets serve as the foundation of a community.

"I think the streets in this town are people's number one priority," Edwards said.

The council would like town staff to allocate double the amount of money going toward street improvement projects; create an inventory of streets; and revise minimum standards.

The second CSP planning session with the council will be at 9 a.m. Dec. 5 at the Best Western Inn of Payson. Carpenter expects the final draft of the CSP to be ready for council approval by early March.

To provide your input, contact a council member. The 2005-2006 CSP is on the Web at www.ci.payson.az.us.

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