The voters came through for the Rim Country on Tuesday. Voters showed up and made a series of crucial decisions that demonstrate their commitment to one another and this, the beloved community.
We’re most excited about the strong support the people of this community gave to our children and our schools, approving the Payson Unified School District’s budget override by a whopping 68 percent.
That stands in sharp contrast to the narrow rejection of the same proposition 18 months ago.
Teachers, parents, students and other school advocates made their case, did their homework — and enlisted the public support they so badly need and so richly deserve.
The vote demonstrates the commitment of the community to its schools — even though most voters no longer have children in those schools. Clearly, Rim Country voters recognize that we’re all in the same rowboat — and each generation must repay its debt to those who came before by helping along the next generation.
Payson Home Rule
The overwhelming support given for Home Rule shows both voter commitment to this community — and a triumph of political leadership. Only 15 percent of the voters checked the “no” box — and another 15 percent cast no vote at all, perhaps because of the poorly designed ballot.
Council members who devoted much of their time and campaign budgets to supporting Home Rule deserve a substantial measure of the credit for the outcome.
Certainly, voters remain concerned about the cost and efficiency of government services. We trust the town council will continue to earn the support of the voters by keeping a tight rein on expenses — while also moving the town forward.
Payson Town Council
Voters faced a happy choice in Payson — four strong candidates for three seats. Payson Mayor Kenny Evans, who has lavished countless hours and provided stellar leadership in the past two years, ran unopposed.
We congratulate the winners — Fred Carpenter, Su Connell and Ed Blair. And we offer our deep gratitude to Councilor Mike Vogel.
We think the council will benefit from the addition of Carpenter’s deep expertise and the retention of Blair’s dogged devotion to citizens and Connell’s great-hearted advocacy for community causes.
But we also believe this town owes an enormous debt to Vogel, who has served with such integrity and energy. He has worked 60-hour weeks in the service of the town, while shunning recognition. He has played a vital role in the dogged, persistent, increasingly successful effort to attract new businesses to Rim Country.
Granted, he speaks his mind and remains fierce in his convictions. We have not always agreed with his votes, but never doubted his commitment to this community.
Still, we trust the council will keep in mind the continued divisions and frustrations demonstrated by Vogel’s narrow defeat and the 1,200 voters who did not support Evans. Those voters represent real anxiety in this community about the future and we trust the council will work hard to ease those fears.
Star Valley Town Council
Enough of the posturing — time to move forward.
That seems to sum up the attitude of Star Valley voters who largely endorsed the current council’s careful, sensible move toward a new relationship with its neighbors.
Mayor Bill Rappaport won his first, full term, with a focus on working out a cooperative relationship with Payson based on facts instead of fears.
Randy White offered his own devotion to the community and willingness to serve, for which we’re grateful — even if voters made a different choice.
Challenger Paty Henderson won a seat, after running a positive, thoughtful, community-centered campaign. And Chris Benjamin failed in his council bid. Benjamin has served the community already with energy and intelligence — but remains perhaps too strongly connected to past confrontation.
Incumbents Vern Leis and Del Newland won voter approval to continue their efforts on the council to benefit their fellow Star Valley residents.
But clearly, Star Valley voters have faced up to the future and turned away from the past.