Don’T Set Fire To Town Groups

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So, let’s say the heater doesn’t work so well. Your feet got cold in bed last night.

What shall we do? Ah. Got it. Let’s set the house on fire.

Make sense to you?

We couldn’t shake the feeling someone had set the living room drapes on fire recently, listening to the council discuss an overhaul of the town’s boards, committees and commissions.

No doubt about it — the current system left us with intermittently cold feet. Former Mayor Bob Edwards’ developed a system of informal committees that resulted in a wonderful increase in citizen participation. But often, the recommendations of those committees didn’t make it through to the council as they deserved. Moreover, the current mishmash of boards, committees and commissions is confusing, with no clear distinction between the various groups and sometimes muddled missions.

So detailing the system makes sense. But in the midst of the discussion, smoke began to fill the room.

For instance, the recommendations would have the Surface Transportation Advisory Committee and the Green Valley Redevelopment Committee report to town staff instead of to the town council.

Bad idea. That devalues the input of involved citizens, upends the proper relationship between town staff and citizens and isolates the town council.

Moreover, the proposal would also have the town council discuss applications from residents seeking to serve on town committees in executive session.

Now, we like anything that broadens the application process and fully involves the council in the appointments process. But not behind closed doors. We understand that the motivation here is to avoid any potential embarrassment for people public spirited enough to apply for a position — but that good intention doesn’t excuse conducting vital public business in secret.

So we’re all for electric blankets and a good night’s sleep with toasty feet. We just don’t want to use the bedroom furniture for kindling.

The season for giving

This Christmas season, more so than in recent years, the call for help from families, food banks, charities, children and seniors is louder.

If the number of registrations Thursday during the first day of the Christmas for Kids program is any indication, there is a growing need to help those suffering from the economic problems that seem to grow worse each day in the community.

Our story on page 12A of today’s paper, tells of the increasing number of people registering for help, many for the first time in their lives. Those registering are not doing it for themselves for the most part, but for their children and grandchildren, who may not have any presents under the Christmas tree this year.

Thank goodness, the Rim Country community has a number of individuals who work to ensure no family wants for food or presents this holiday season. These programs, like Christmas for Kids, thrive on the generosity of residents and businesses that provide cash and donations, making it possible to fulfill so many Christmas wishes.

This Saturday is the Tamales for Toys event, which gives those donating a toy a great tamale dinner put together by volunteers from the Payson Fire Department with help from the Northern Gila County Firefighters Association, Gerardo’s Italian Bistro and others.

The Rim Country Optimist Club will hand out complete holiday meals for qualifying families and seniors later this month. Some 300 families will be supplied baskets stocked with everything needed for a feast.

Sprouting up all around the Rim Country are angel trees. On these angel trees are the first names of people who are in need this holiday season. Several local banks have set up, decorated and topped angel trees with children’s and seniors’ wishes this holiday. Residents can “adopt” an angel by taking their tag and buying the requested items and returning it to the place of adoption.

Check out the angel trees at the First State Bank, National Bank of Arizona and Arizona State Credit Union. National Bank also has a drop box for pet supplies and cash donations that will go to the Payson Humane Society.

All of the Rim Country food banks are accepting donations. Drop off donations at the Payson Food Bank, St. Vincent de Paul, 511 S. St. Phillips and Pine-Strawberry Food Bank at the Pine Community Center.

The eighth annual Clothe-A-Child Program benefiting kindergarten through fifth-grade students at five Rim Country grade schools will be held at the Payson Masonic Lodge #70, Dec. 13. (See the story on page 12A of today’s Roundup).

There are a wide variety of needs where donations of just a few dollars make a big difference. We hope all the Rim Country residents who can, will help this Christmas.

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