Ah, the good old days.
Once upon a time — before the crash — irritated citizens often crowded into Payson Town Council meetings, mostly to protest some housing development, torn up streets, a major annexation and rezoning requests.
Neighborhoods rose up against newcomers, residents presented petitions to protest — or insist upon — street improvements. Councilors bickered on for hours.
But last week in one of those odd little signs of the times, Councilor Fred Carpenter — himself the town manager during those boom days — politely wondered whether the council really needed to have so many meetings.
He raised the question as the council prepared to routinely approve the meeting calendar for next year, with twice-monthly sessions all year long.
“It just seems like a waste of staff time and resources to have a meeting when we come down here for 15 minutes and go home,” said Carpenter in reference to the growing number of meetings with a few proclamations and a couple of minor reports and contracts to improve. Sort of like, well, last Tuesday’s meeting.
He didn’t get a lot of support for the idea — although Councilor Ed Blair allowed as how if the council was going to meet just once in December it ought to be early in the month instead of near Christmas.
Payson Mayor Kenny Evans said, “Although we did cancel two meetings this year for lack of business, it is more difficult for the community to schedule a special meeting because something has come up than to cancel a regular meeting because there’s nothing to do.”
After another council member suggested he didn’t mind showing up for a short meeting, Carpenter hastened to clarify. “I don’t mind coming down, but sometimes it just seems like a waste of staff time,” he said.
At that moment, the town attorney, manager, clerk, police chief, recreation director and public works director all sat listening quietly. The audience consisted of a lone reporter.
Councilor Richard Croy said, “It’s easy enough to cancel a meeting. If we’re lucky and the economy picks up and the university comes to town, we’ll have plenty to do next year.”
Go ASU: Rah, rah, rah.