In this somewhat charged atmosphere I would like to try to set the record straight on the Gila Community College campus land transfer. The state of Arizona, several years back, deeded over to Gila County about 54 acres to be used for the future campus of a community college. At a later date, the Gila Community College District was formed as well as a governing board to oversee the community college.
In its Nov.15 editorial, the Payson Roundup told the GCC governing board, an elected body by the taxpayers, to “Get out of the way” and let a small group representing private investors determine how part of our campus is to be used.
In other words, a private group would take the responsibility away from the elected governing board to decide the future of taxpayer land. The taxpayers’ opinions would therefore, not be represented in this land transfer. Does that sound like democracy to you? What was the Roundup drinking?
At a special meeting to discuss the situation, The GCC governing board voted unanimously, yes unanimously, to support the position of a four-year university in Payson and to transfer a portion of the campus land for that purpose only. The operative word being for the four-year university. The governing board voted to restrict the land deed to allow only “educational endeavors” be built on the land and not to be used for any “industrial purposes” If the intent of the Separate Legal Entity (SLE) is to only build such buildings as classrooms, dorms and a cafeteria on the land, then there should not be a problem with the deed restrictions for educational buildings only.
To have the elected board of the community college just hand over (transfer) campus land without anything in writing and without any restrictions would be irresponsible on their part. With nothing in writing, anything could be built on the land once it was sold. We desire to have a campus that is suited for educational pursuits and not next to an industrial park or something. The fact that the SLE is opposing the education only restriction makes one think, to quote a famous line, “me thinks they protest too much”
Remember what was said at the beginning of this article, the state turned over this land for a Gila Gila Community College. Both boards have now voted to support the four-year university in Payson. The GCC board has asked for deed restrictions on the portion of land to be sold. The county board’s December 6th board meeting will decide the final disposition of this land. Taxpayers have one more opportunity to voice their views. This land transfer can and should be accomplished for the mutual benefit of all and needs be done in an open, transparent manner.
GCC board member