Choice Of Police, Mayor Top Sv Meeting

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On Friday, Star Valley Mayor Chuck Heron announced he was resigning to spend more time with his family, but the news did little to stop the number of issues the town is currently dealing with.

The Star Valley council has a full agenda scheduled Tuesday night at its regular meeting, including selecting a law enforcement agency and dealing with barking dogs. But the first item on the agenda is appointing an acting mayor.

The council could vote to make vice-mayor Bill Rappaport or another member of the council acting mayor until 2010, when residents would elect a new mayor.

If Rappaport becomes acting mayor, another council member would take over vice-mayoral duties.

Either way, the town is currently accepting applications from anyone interested in becoming a council member and filling the vacancy left when the council seats shift. Stop by town hall to pick up an application if you are interested.

A big-ticket item on Tuesday’s agenda is selection of a law enforcement contract from either the Town of Payson or Gila County Sheriff’s Office.

Between either contract, residents will be paying nearly 50 percent more for police service. Payson has offered the town a bid of $421,000, while the sheriff’s office would provide police protection for $383,000. If the town decides on a contract, it would take effect July 1.

The Payson Police Department provided protection to the town since its inception three years ago. The current contract with the PPD to provide basic police and dispatch services stands at $258,000. Payson Police Chief Don Engler said with the number of calls increasing every year, the cost of a new contract would rise to $421,000, an increase of 63 percent.

Before Payson police provided services, the sheriff’s office responded to calls and is offering the same level of protection it provided before the town formed.

On Tuesday, the council will also discuss hiring the Gila County’s division of health and community services to provide rabies and animal control services.

Residents have complained that barking dogs are a problem in the community and no one is responding to complaints. Neither the Payson police nor sheriff’s office would provide animal control services under their proposed contracts. The only time they would respond is if the animal was a danger to people.

The new intergovernmental agreement with the county would establish an animal control ordinance for the town and the county would be responsible for enforcing it. The town would pay the county monthly $50 per dog call Monday through Friday and $100 for calls on the weekends and after-service hours.

Also on the agenda for the second time, the council will discuss granting a conditional use permit (CUP) to John Killips to operate a dog boarding business on his fiancee’s property.

Killips requested a CUP to open Snuggle Dogs B&B, a dog boarding operation, in the 200 block of Claxton Road in January. At a January council meeting, council members decided to send the issue back to the planning and zoning commission for further review after receiving conflicting requests from residents.

Planning and zoning had originally denied Killips’ request for CUP, based on residents who said it would bring unnecessary barking to the neighborhood. But after Killips said he had several signatures from residents who supported the operation, planning and zoning overturned its decision and are recommending the council approve the CUP with stipulations.

Under the CUP, Killips would need to submit a plan for a fence around the property and the permit would only be good for a three-month trial period.

The council can approve or deny the CUP or decide to change the stipulations.

The council meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. at the Star Valley Baptist Church, 4180 E. Highway 260.

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