New Jail Facilities Are Much Needed

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Editor:

We need the proposed jail facilities in Payson as soon as they can be constructed. Because the taxpayers are going to pay for these facilities over 25 years at least and the cost will be many millions of dollars, cost is a factor to be considered in voting for, or against, the present proposal. Those who are managing this project have indicated it's to be located on the north side of Main Street, very close to Highway 87.

The location for which is project is planned is certainly an expensive one. Our tax will be affected by the elimination of this property from the tax base. That problem will continue as long as this property is government owned. We don't know how much the land and its improvements will cost until we complete the purchase of all the property needed for the jail and court facilities. We don't know the demolition and construction cost of the new facilities until they are completed at some future date.

There are several possibilities for resolving the problem of greater than anticipated project costs. The resolution to be voted on does not specify project location. It could be changed to a less expensive location. Another advantage of that approach is avoiding years of valuation litigation that could lead to years of substantially higher ultimate costs than are now anticipated.

Another approach would be to prioritize the several construction projects, so that you are not trapped in a situation where you have to stop all construction because you have run out of funds.

Under Arizona law, just compensation has to be paid to the property owner if the matter is resolved by litigation. Since the Board of Supervisors serves as the board of directors of a jail district, they exercise all powers and duties in acquiring the property for the for the jail district.

The Board of Supervisors has a responsibility to the taxpayers to spend their money responsibly. We need the jail facilities as soon as we can have the construction completed. If you believe that you can trust the Board of Supervisors to appropriately perform their duty if they can obtain a suitable alternative location at a much smaller cost, then you should vote in favor of the tax increase.

Jim Winter

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