An open letter to the Payson Town Council, and mayor: As we are nearing the election on March 11, the verbiage and rhetoric from all the parties involved is reaching new heights (or lows). I have been reading how all is well with the Town of Payson, from some candidates, their supporters, and that we should "stay the course." I would like to interject the following observations:
#l. The town has seen a significant loss of businesses in the past year. Video stores, furniture stores, multiple restaurants, (medical) practices, small home furnishings/antiques, etc. If the business climate is so great, then why all of the vacant store fronts in town?
#2. The amount of building permits issued has had over a 50 percent drop from past years. While we can blame the decline in building nationally by approximately 25 percent, the drop here is twice the national average. Sales of existing real estate are also down approx 60 percent from past years. Also, I am told that the Payson Building Department gave out one permit in January for new residential construction. If this isn't the making for a crisis, then I guess that I'm just looking at what the facts are in the wrong light. I have read that the retail and construction sector make up about 40 percent or more of the town's work force. If this is true, then more than half of the people employed in these sectors are definitely feeling the results of this. My own experiences working in the construction field are that I have had my hours cut by approximately 25 percent. My wife's employer has also had to cut her hours by 25 percent. I believe that if the current trend continues in Payson, that things will get far worse. I believe that the town council and mayor have instituted policies making it far more costly to build here, open businesses, and to attract new people who want to come here.
When I read how the Blue Ridge pipeline will be paid for out of the impact fees paid by new permits by one of the mayoral candidates, I wonder where the money will come from if no one is applying for permits as in the past?
#3. Many workers either out of a job or with their hours cut will then cut their spending. This coupled with the drop in spending for construction-related purchases must also be affecting the sales tax revenues that Payson depends on. My last observation is, if the building department has had a huge drop in permits issued, and (there's been) a decline in sales tax revenues, then maybe there should be a corresponding drop of personnel in these departments.
With the coming election less than 10 days away, I feel that the present council and mayor have been neglecting a large portion of the town's work force with their past actions, and to represent all the people here, and not just the well-to-do vocal minority that have the time to go and oppose anything that might impact them or their neighborhood. Instead of seeing if it might benefit the whole town.