The Tonto Apache Tribe and the Town of Payson announced today, Wednesday, that they have formed an alliance to secure a long-term water source.
Although the agreement is still in the early planning stages, the joint effort between Tribal Chairman Ivan Smith and Mayor Bob Edwards will provide a significant impact on the region's resource management.
"We have to do it," Smith said. "Each of us can bring something to the table."
Payson Town Councilor John Wilson showed up in support of the effort.
"The relationships with the tribe are very important," Wilson said.
"We've got a lot of things in common."
This accord marks a new era of cooperation for the neighboring communities.
"You're dealing with a little bit of residual feelings from years ago," Edwards said. "A lot of people thought the town was against the tribe. These things were in the middle and nobody bothered to move the chairs. So, we did."
Town and tribal attorneys are currently working together to develop a schedule that delineates the goals and responsibilities of each entity.
Although Mayor Chuck Heron said the Town of Star Valley hasn't been formally included in the process, representatives from the alliance said they will continue working with nearby communities.