Open Letter to County Supervisors:
Since attending the presentation of the proposed Jail/Courthouse buildings, I have been doing some nonprofessional sampling of public opinion here in Payson. Without first voicing my views, I have asked many residents; shopping, waiting in checkout lines, waiting to get a flat fixed, etc., their thoughts about the tax increase, bond issue, and/or location of the proposed facilities. Here is what I have been hearing.
On the sales tax increase, the answer has been unanimous; all are opposed, as we already have one of the highest sales tax in the State of Arizona. On the bond issue to build a larger jail, most are in favor, with reservations, which I will address later later in this letter.
As far as the location of the proposed jail courthouse, there seems to be a consensus of opinion that a better location than the corner of Main and the Beeline Highway could be found, probably at a lower cost and a site which would would require taking of private property through Eminent Domain.
At the presentation of the proposed jail courthouse, I talked with both Supervisor Tommie Martin and the county supervisor for my address here in Payson, Jose M. Sanchez, who lives in Miami. Why am I, and many of you, represented by a resident of Miami? Whose interests do you think will be paramount in his thinking and voting?
Anyway, they both assured me that more than 60 percent of the population of Gila County resides in Northern Gila County, more than 60 percent of the inmates of the jail in Globe are from Northern Gila County, and more than 60 percent of all taxes are collected from Northern Gila County. Gila County qualifies for only two full-time judges, plus a judge pro tem when necessary. These figures come directly from the horses' mouths of two Gila County supervisors.
Using the above facts, why, if an adequate jail is built in Payson, do we have to pay to double the size of the jail in Globe? Granted, it does need a major overhaul, but double the size?
If a needed court facility is built in Payson, why does Globe need a new court house, when 60 percent of the trials will probably be heard here at home in Payson? I was told that Judge Cahill travels from Globe to hear the cases in Payson, why does he not live here, if a courthouse is built?
In all the discussions I have heard and read about, the location, size of bond issue, and tax increase have been written in stone, without first getting the authority or location approved by the residents of Payson. Was the Payson, Star Valley, Pine, or Young residents and/or town councils first polled about their views? Personally, I would be willing to tax myself, and vote yea on the bond issue, if I thought that was the wish of the residents of Payson, and was the only alternative, but not the plan as presented by the Gila County supervisors.