Star Valley Council Rethinking Town Hall Plans


The Star Valley Town Council may be looking for a new site for its future town hall.

On a 4-1 vote Tuesday, the council decided not to sign a letter of intent to purchase a 6,000-square-foot building in the Windmill Village development for more than $1.5 million. Council member Del Newland was the dissenting vote and Mayor Chuck Heron and council member Bill Rappaport abstained.


Dick Baranzini talks to the Star Valley Town Council about the benefits of a photo system to enforce town speed limits.

The council has been working with developers from the Scottsdale-based Acuvest, LLC firm for the last several months, with the intention that its new town hall building would be part of the new development.

Expressing concerns about the high cost of the proposed building, Vice Mayor Randy White suggested that the council look for other options for a town hall.

Town Manager Vito Tedeschi said the council would be willing to renegotiate a lower price with developers. Although the council has always been interested in the town hall building being part of the new development, the current cost estimate simply isn't feasible, Tedeschi said.

"They need a proposal that's more palatable to the town council," he said. "The council's not going to get into debt and have to issue a property tax to pay for it."

"It's Scottsdale prices in a rural setting," Tedeschi added. "It just doesn't mix."

Heron said he wasn't sure what would happen with the proposed building in the Windmill Village.

"There are a lot of things we need that have higher priority than fancy digs," Heron said. "We're not going to encumber the residents of Star Valley."

Town officials are working on another option for a new town hall location, Tedeschi said. The council may decide to lease a 3,500-square-foot building near the Star Vale Mobile Home Park on Highway 260. The building once housed Payson Marine.

The council Tuesday also held a public hearing regarding the annexation of 18 square miles of federal land surrounding the town, an expansion that would increase the size of the town to approximately 24 square miles.

The annexation would allow for the future growth of the town, Tedeschi said. The land, he said, could be used for industrial development, schools and affordable home sites and would expand town limits so that Star Valley officials would have control over developments there.

The council unanimously voted to direct Tedeschi and town staff to prepare an ordinance to be considered at the next council meeting on May 15.

In other action, the council heard a presentation from Dick Baranzini and Bruce Kalin, contractors with the Scottsdale Police Department, about the practicality of photo enforcement systems, much like the one used throughout the city of Scottsdale to enforce speed limits.

The council is considering whether to implement a similar photo enforcement system in the town along Highway 260, to enforce the 45 mph speed limit.

Baranzini said the goal of photo enforcement systems is to change the behavior of motorists, which has happened in Scottsdale.

He said the number of motorists traveling 11 miles above the posted speed limit on Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard in Scottsdale before the system was installed in September of 2004 was about 3 percent, or 36 violations per hour. Since the system has been installed, the percentage of speeders has dropped to below 1 percent, or about two violations per hour.

Baranzini said the installation of a photo enforcement system wouldn't cost the town anything and the equipment lease and operation would be paid for, with revenue generated by driver citations.

"The contractor absorbs all the upfront costs and the city pays a monthly rental fee and the contractors get a portion of each citation," Kalin said.

Photographs taken of violators are reviewed and compared to registration and license information before they are mailed out to the offenders, Baranzini said.

Photo enforcement citations would be handled through the magistrate court, Kalin said, adding that citations are rarely dismissed.

He said 99 percent of speeders are found responsible. "Our evidence is that good."

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