Nurture it. Or kill it.
That’s the choice Payson voters face when they vote on Home Rule.
Normally, we wouldn’t give it a second thought. Payson voters have way too much sense than to impose draconian spending limits that will throw away the Blue Ridge pipeline, an ASU campus in town, decent parks, adequate roads, a reliable water system and effective police and fire protection.
Payson voters have routinely approved the Home Rule exemption to crippling spending limits routinely every four years since 1980. But this year feels different.
The inept state and federal response to hard times have kindled tremendous public anger. The feds bail out banks instead of people who have lost their jobs and state lawmakers have displayed a criminal lack of responsibility in a year of budget dithering.
So now comes the first chance to actually cast a vote to register our disgust. Unfortunately, the ballot comes from Payson — where the council has done an admirable job of prioritizing, downsizing and living within its means.
Payson has made the hard choices and deep cuts, thereby earning the support of voters. Imposing spending limits that date back to 1980 before we even had a water or a fire department would virtually destroy town government. And that would fatally damage this community’s prospects for the future.
For starters, the town will have to abandon the Blue Ridge pipeline, squandering a generation of effort. That would blight property values, smother the region’s economy and mortgage our future.
And get this: Rejecting Home Rule won’t even lower your taxes. It just keeps the town from spending the money.
If Home Rule fails, ASU will no doubt abandon negotiations — unwilling to gamble on a town whose residents won’t pay for basic public services — including police and fire.
Rejecting Home Rule will force the council to cut the town’s budget from $47 million to $19 million. That will require deep cuts in police, fire and water and elimination of “frills” like parks, libraries, hiking trails, new streets, sidewalks, senior centers, adequate animal shelters and summer events.
So go dig out your ballot. Wade through all that fine print until you locate the little box at the bottom of the page — then vote “yes” on Home Rule.
This is your community, your town, your future. You can nurture it or kill it. It’s up to you.