As the perhaps mythical Tom Dooley said right before they hung him: “This whole thing has sure been a lesson to me.”
Fortunately, the Payson Town Council seems to have learned a lesson from the Payson Unified School District Board — which did nothing to enlist voter support a year ago for a seemingly routine budget override.
Back then, the school board apparently figured the voters would routinely approve the budget override rather than inflict a million dollars in cuts on an already struggling school district.
Well, it didn’t work out that way.
The Payson Town Council has had a year or so to study the body of the school board’s override swinging in the breeze, so council members individually are taking no chances when confronted with a budget lynching of their own — this spring’s vote on home rule.
On the face of it, backers of another four-year extension of the town’s legal permission to exceed state constitutional spending limits ought to go down easier than the school district’s override.
For starters, if voters reject home rule it will not lower their taxes one whit — unlike the rejection of the school’s override.
But more importantly, if voters reject home rule it will impose devastating cuts on town services. Limited to $14 million in total spending, the town will have to drastically reduce police, fire and water services, eliminate parks, quit building roads, give up on the Blue Ridge pipeline and embrace a host of other self-destructive economies — all without actually lowering any tax rates.
Fortunately, Councilors Su Connell and John Wilson have established a Home Rule Committee to make sure voters understand the consequences of a “no” vote come spring. Hopefully, they’ll enlist squads of volunteers who will get busy before the trap door springs open and snaps the neck of the town’s budget.
If so, then perhaps the school district’s budget override will not have died in vain.
Arizona Highlands Magazine debuts in today’s paper
You’ll find something quite new in today’s Roundup.
We hope it is the beginning of a long-term relationship with a part of this state we are calling Arizona Highlands.
The writers, photographers and editors involved in this magazine project have fallen in love with this area and we love to explore it. And we like sharing what we find with others, thus the creation of Arizona Highlands Magazine.
The Highlands have so much to offer that we finally decided to produce a magazine touting the best in recreation, travel and fun stuff to do. We outlined the Arizona Highlands area because it seems to have a communal relationship, all connected by national forest and roads.
We bordered it on the east with New Mexico which puts the White Mountains within our recreational reach, we stretched out north to roughly the I-40 area. Then our Highlands’ boundary traces the high country over to the Flagstaff area, down into Sedona and the Verde Valley to the west, then back east and south to the fishing mecca of Roosevelt Lake. We also may fudge once in a while on the boundary as recreational opportunities present themselves. After all, the point here is to have fun.
In some ways, this is an undiscovered area. Sure you know about Sedona, and other big-name spots, but there is so much more to the Highlands.
Our first attempt at producing a magazine is in today’s Roundup and you can find copies at chambers of commerce, motels, advertisers and other locations in the Highlands. We have been told that this is not the best of times to launch a new publication, but we think otherwise. People are traveling, they are taking the time and spending their money on leisure activities. They just are not traveling as far. Instead of going to the West Coast, they want to enjoy swimming holes, scenic drives and streamside hikes close to home. That’s why we want to provide insights into the best places in the Highlands.
We hope you like what you see. We already see a number of areas we want to improve on and new features that we want to add in the future. You have an open invitation to send us your comments about the new magazine to us at AzHighlands@payson.com. And we hope you share your favorite places with us.