Payson's County Facilities Group Changing Its Focus

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Leon Keddington can't seem to avoid chairing committees.

The former Citizens for Fair Taxation chair will retain that title for the time being, but this time his group is focused on finding a location and a means of paying for the needed county facilities.

Keddington said the group, which previously headed up the side opposed to the two ballot measures that would've funded the jail and courts, would hold its first meeting with the new agenda on Thursday, Nov. 29.

"I felt I had an obligation that if I campaigned so strongly against, I'd follow it up with a group of people to look at four or five sites and a way to pay for (the facilities)," he said. "We remain firm in the belief that we can do this without raising taxes."

The group will research a set of locations as the primary goal and then shift to finding a means to fund the site it selects.

"Our number one goal is to look at sites," he said. "Then we'll look at how to pay for it."

Keddington said five sites will be looked at -- the current county location on Main Street, East Main Street where the vacant complex sits, behind the Payson Town Hall, North Tyler Parkway east of Highway 87 and south of Main Street along the American Gulch in the Green Valley Redevelopment Area.

"All of these sites were discussed by our group during the (first) campaign," Keddington said. "(Councilor) Ed Blair did a lot of research on these sites, too."

Keddington said the group is currently comprised of about 15 volunteer members including architect Rex Hinshaw, banking consultant Steve Kontoulis from Compass Bank and builders Sue and Larry McIntyre. Payson Councilor Andy Romance has expressed interest and Mayor Bob Edwards said he would help out if possible, Keddington said.

While the membership is not closed, Keddington said he'd like to keep the numbers relatively small.

"If people have an interest they should call me but we're at 15 and the bigger it gets the harder it is to manage," he said.

"It's very preliminary right now. I'd like to see where everyone is at first," he added.

Keddington can be reached at taxsense@yahoo.com.

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