Payson Council Votes To Double Water Hookup Fees

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The price tag on new water hookups in Payson doubled after a 5-0 vote by the Payson Town Council at last night's meeting.

The new fee -- $7,570 -- will be used to develop new water sources for the town. The version of the ordinance approved by the council included a stipulation that at least $4,000 of the fee generated by each new hookup will be used for the C.C. Craigin (Blue Ridge) Reservoir Project.

Mayor Bob Edwards and councilor Andy Romance were not present at the meeting.

Public Works Director Buzz Walker said that in the last 35 years of research done to establish a major water source for the area, the Blue Ridge Reservoir project is the best option for the future of the town.

"There are no other options," he said.

Walker said that designating money from the new fees toward the Blue Ridge project is the best way to go.

Payson resident Jim Hippel proposed that the council raise the fee to somewhere near $11,000, which would generate enough funding in the next nine years, a time period when new water will be needed to sustain the town at the growth rate Payson is experiencing, to take care of the estimated $25 million Blue Ridge project.

"At the rate being proposed, is it really going to be enough?" he asked the council.

In other news

County Attorney Daisy Flores presented retiring police chief, Gordon Gartner, with an award for "Officer of the Quarter," for his dedication and leadership to the Payson Police Department.

Flores said that Gartner has always led by example.

"We're sorry to see you go," Flores said to Gartner, before handing him the award.

Gartner thanked the community and the council for its support of the police department during his tenure.

"We have been supported very well," he said. "I appreciate the support."

"I'd like to thank those who have worked for me," he added.

Gartner received a standing ovation from those present at the meeting as well as the council.

"Thank you Chief Gartner," said vice mayor Tim Fruth, acting as mayor in Edwards' absence. "You will be missed."

The council tabled an ordinance for the rezoning of 92 acres near North Tyler Parkway for the development of 114 homes, due to the absences on the council. The item will be discussed at the next meeting, July 5.

The council voted 5-0 to award a contract to Scottsdale-based Custom Courts, in the amount of $114,248, for the renovation of the tennis courts at Rumsey Park.

Councilor Ed Blair said that he visited the courts and they were in need of repair.

"It is sorely needed," he said.

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