I have been trying to collect facts and figures surrounding the proposed new judicial and jail facilities, under consideration by the Gila County Supervisors. These are the proposed capital outlays, as I understand them:
Payson $11.3 million Globe $ 5.90 million
Payson $ 6.5 million Globe $ 7.75 million
Payson $ 17.8 million Globe $ 13.65 million
Allow 30 percent for final overrun of budget estimates, and we are speaking of spending $40-million on new buildings, to house and try criminals.
As Northern Gila County (Payson, Pine, Strawberry and Star Valley) will pay/collect 70 percent or more of the property tax / sales tax needed for new county facilities (above), the voters from Central and Southern Gila County (approximately 50 percent) could very well push the election in favor of new jail/justice facilities in both Southern and Northern Gila County.
In the opinion of the writer, the supervisors have erroneously loaded the ballot questions (all or nothing at all) by including new court and jail facilities for Globe.
New Globe facilities may not be justifiable (considering use and occupancy rates), once the northern Gila County new facilities are operative, and the current northern overflow of prisoners and court cases are removed from the existing Globe jail and court facilities.
Gila County voters should not be misled by the recent endorsements of the new Payson jail and court facilities by various Payson civic organizations, as these groups are evaluating only the pros and cons of the proposed new facilities for Northern Gila County.
None of these agencies, including the "Gila County Citizens for Improved Public Safety," are addressing the new facility needs in Southern Gila County, in their recent newspaper endorsement.
Supervisor Martin has stated that "how she gets these new justice facilities is unimportant to her," just as long as she gets them.
It might serve her well to listen more to the citizens of Gila County and our desire to hold down both property and sales taxes, rather than repeating her "Happy Meal Analysis," when most taxpayers don't eat that meal.
As a Gila County taxpayer and 14-year resident of Pine, I believe that local voters should vote NO on the two tax propositions in November, thereby forcing the supervisors to rethink the county's "needs," not their "wants."
In the opinion of the writer, build only the Payson jail and court additions now, and reconsider the Southern Gila County needs in a few years, when the true needs in Globe will be much more evident.
Forrest McCoy, Pine