Payson Town Council candidates Deborah Rose and Jolynn Schinstock met one-on-one in a forum Wednesday, Sept. 30. Held at the Messinger Payson Funeral Home community room, Star Valley Councilor Bobby Davis served as the moderator.
During the two-hour debate, it was the final question of the evening that led to the most heated moment of the event.
Davis asked what they would do to improve town government to create or restore collaboration.
“We need to have ethics enforcement. We can’t criticize and humiliate our fellows. I will never tolerate bullying and shaming or members of the council embarrassing the mayor,” Rose said.
“I have to disagree with Deb,” Schinstock said. “I’m a people person and will work in collaboration with everyone.”
Rose then demanded to know why Schinstock signed off as a circulator of a petition to recall Mayor Tom Morrissey. She also demanded to know why sitting town council members Barbara Underwood and Steve Smith also were signed circulators of the Morrissey recall petition.
“I had nothing to do with the town council then. I supported Jennifer Smith for mayor, everyone knows that, but Morrissey won fair and square,” Schinstock responded.
“Why are you bringing it up all these months later?” Schinstock asked Rose.
Prior to the closing question, the women talked about a series of less volatile issues.
The candidates, in previous articles in the Payson Roundup, have discussed several forum topics: the splash pad/pool, Green Valley Parkway extension, affordable housing, warming center/homeless shelter. See the Friday, Oct. 2 paper for their responses to these issues.
Also at the forum, each was asked about how they would tackle the town’s budget and spending.
“The town works with a zero-based budget. A few years ago it was in the hole by about $3 million. A zero-based budget doesn’t work with a deficit,” Rose said.
She said the town has a finite budget and she believes there are better ways to spend its money. “If money is not being spent for what it was allocated, move it to where it’s needed,” she said.
“Budgeting is in my wheelhouse,” Schinstock said. She worked as a civilian with the U.S. Army handling budgets.
“We have been using contingency funds for things that are not critical and could have been delayed. We need to be conservative and create a rainy day fund,” she said.
Rose responded, “I have a small business and deal with budgets all the time, often making decisions much more quickly than government can.”
While the candidates talked about a warming center/homeless shelter in a recent article in the Roundup, at the forum they expanded on their ideas. Schinstock took the question as an opportunity to address a rumor about her affiliation with the MHA Foundation.
“When the PTO at Julia Randall School decided to improve the playground, we went to many groups in town. The MHA Foundation was just one of them, and they put us in touch with the Gracie Lee Haught Memorial Fund. It was that group that helped with the playground, not the MHA Foundation. That project was very special to me and special to the family of Gracie Lee Haught,” she said.
Rose said whether the town spends taxpayer money on a warming center it should be voted on by the public.