Three-Year Sign Saga Reveals Flaws


So did you hear the one about the sign?

Guy goes into Town Hall and says, "Hey, I need a sign."

Town Hall chuckles.

Guy goes away. Takes a course in public speaking. Draws a pretty picture of his sign. Comes back a year later and says, "Hey, I need a sign, please."

Town Hall guffaws.

Guy looks baffled. Goes away. Watches 25,000 cars a day drive by his place without a sign. Buys new clothes. Gets his teeth whitened. Comes back a year later and says, "I need a sign, pretty please."

Town Hall laughs out loud.

Guy goes away, gets a degree in rhetoric, comes back a year later and says, "You gotta give me a sign. It's in your best interest. I'm gonna go out of business. Then I can't pay any more sales tax."

Town Hall says, "That's no sign. That's my wife."

Guy goes away. Thinks about it for another year. Comes back, says: "I don't get it."

Town Hall chuckles and says, "Sure you can have a sign -- all you had to do was ask."

All right, that's not exactly what happened during the three years Swiss Village owner Roger Kreimeyer spent trying to get Payson to approve a sign on the highway out front of one of the town's more coherent commercial developments.

But it's close.

Three years ago, he made a simple request. Please let him put a sign out front listing all the businesses in Swiss Village. He had the drawing and the clear need and a bid from a sign company for $4,500.

Well, turns out, signs are complicated in Payson. Used to be we were a blue collar town and a sign was just a way to let folks know you're in there. But we're becoming something else now -- Sedona on the family plan or some such. So we need to design everything. And landscape everything. And pick our paints off a color chart.

So assorted town officials squinted at Roger's sign request and figured maybe we should wait until we finished the landscaping master plan and officially adopted a color chart, so he wouldn't, like, clash.

And that's fine. Design is nice. Coming up with an appealing scheme to seduce out-of-towners into spending their ill-gotten gains is nice. We want to be a mountain town with a Western heritage. We can get with the program.

But then, there's Roger -- looking dolefully out the front window at all those potential customers flashing past on the highway.

He's been before the council a couple of times, haunted the corridors of Town Hall and watched the seasons turn as he waited for approval.

Finally, last night, he got it -- after pointing out how badly businesses need to advertise. Of course, his sign will now cost at least $12,000. The councilors shook their heads and said it was a shame it all took so long. Oh, and by the way, would he mind changing the sign in the future (at town expense) if the town ever does adopt a dark sky lighting ordinance and those still-pondered design standards for the highway?

So Roger's got his sign

And we can only hope that the council got the message. Payson has earned its reputation for not being business-friendly through just such careless, offhand and shortsighted responses to the legitimate needs of its citizens. We're not saying we don't want to look nice, we're saying there's simply no excuse for keeping Roger and the businesses he represents waiting for three years for a simple sign.

And that's no joke.

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