Payson Rebuffs Fee Waiver For School District Project

Council rejects request to waive $6,257 in town fees for school work

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Enough’s enough, concluded the Payson Town Council when faced with a plea for building fee mercy from the Payson Unified School District.

The council hit its $6,257 breaking point last week when it rejected a request from the school district for a break on the cost of fees to inspect and certify the fire alarm system in several new school buildings.

The seemingly routine request from the school district plopped down on the agenda of a town council smarting from budget cuts and a wafer-thin reserve fund.

Fire Chief Marty deMasi laid the request for a break on the fees before the council on Thursday.

“I’m sure they would like to use that money for other things,” he said diplomatically, “on the other hand, the town could use the money.”

Councilor Ed Blair spoke up, having already requested a summary of all of the building fees the town had already waived for the bond-financed construction projects at Julia Randall Elementary School and Rim Country Middle School.

So far, the fee waivers amount to $130,000, including $42,000 for the middle school and $82,000 for the elementary school. The district has paid $4,000 in fees.

“Reportedly they’re under budget, so it’s my feeling that they can afford to pay the fees,” said Blair.

“How many times are they coming up here” to ask for fee reductions, grumped Councilor Mike Vogel.

“This is a new project,” said Public Works Director LaRon Garrett.

Perhaps wondering how it would sound if the council voted against the school district, Blair noted, “We don’t need to make a motion to do anything, do we?”

Town Attorney Sam Streichman started to shake his head.

However, Blair remains one of the most diligent and prolific motion-makers on the council and the need for a motion immediately overcame him.

“I want to make a motion to not waive the fees,” concluded Blair.

“You cannot make the motion, but that doesn’t mean one of your compatriots won’t make a motion,” said Streichman helpfully.

Blair made his motion. Vogel seconded it. Councilors Michael Hughes, Su Connell and Richard Croy voted with Vogel and Blair for their motion to reject the request for a fee waiver. Mayor Kenny Evans voted against being against the fee waiver.

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