It appears the towns of Payson and Star Valley are determined to fight about who's right or wrong on the Tower Well, until death do them part.
The latest volley this week from Star Valley officials adds nothing to the argument, except further distancing the two towns from each other. Sending out attack reports and having the other side then defend its actions does not solve any problems. It only adds to the bad feelings.
This dispute on the Tower Well has been going on long enough. The two towns need to start talking with each other, not staking out new positions or spending more taxpayer money on new research reports.
Star Valley believes Payson is stealing its water to fuel growth, and taking water and growth that rightly belongs to Star Valley. Their belief is strong enough that, bottom line, controlling water was the main reason Star Valley incorporated.
Payson officials, using 30 years of regional water data for the decisions they are making, say they are not affecting Star Valley water in any serious way. The water they are using will recharge, they say.
The two towns are using different information. Both towns contend they have the best information and insist they are correct in their contentions and decisions.
There is an independent report going through a peer review to ensure it is accurate, which will be released soon. Even with this report, we doubt it will end the hard feelings and accusations being thrown about, unless everyone concerned sits down and starts talking.
Both towns have their community at heart and want the best for their residents. That is a good starting point for a dialogue. Town officials need to start looking for some common ground and then continue with serious progressive conversations until the problem is solved. Keep the bats and bricks in the storage centers and start communicating with each other as professionals.
Payson and Star Valley need to be working with all the communities in Northern Gila County to become a political force working for the common good of citizens. This should include lobbying elected officials at all levels and getting Blue Ridge or whatever other water source is available developed. Solutions, not fights are needed.
Surely two towns with common interests can find a way to work together on these and other projects without personal attacks, accusations and self-serving agendas.