During its March 8 meeting, the Payson Council will have its work cut out sifting through 17 applications for the empty council seat created when newly elected council member Tina McAllister Smith left the area for family reasons.
The application process was simple, but short: fill out an application to help the council understand why you, as the candidate, would be a good fit for the Payson Town Council.
The council opened the process on Feb. 23 and by the sixth day, March 1 at 5 p.m. the Town of Payson promptly shut the door on applications.
The residents who applied had to answer questions about committing to the meeting schedule, if they or any family member are employed by the town, and if they agreed to the council ethics policy. Some sent in a resume, but that was not required.
The rest of the application asked open-ended questions designed to help the council understand why the applicant would make a good fit.
On March 2, the town announced the following residents applied:
Byran BJ Bollier — a 44 year resident, who started his volunteerism while in Payson High School on the mayor’s youth advisory committee. He has children so he cares about parks. He has been on the parks and recreation commission since 2018 and is now its chair. He also served as president of the Industrial Development Authority. He has coached for 17 years and is a board member of the MHA Foundation. In his day job, he is a local businessman.
Allen E. Chittenden – a full time Payson resident since 2013, part time from 2005, Chittenden believes his 40 plus years in management, mostly in the aviation industry, would help the town balance its budget, bring common sense and “fiscal responsibility within the bounds of city code.” He sees the major issues facing the town to be “controlled growth, deterioration or our roads, providing the infrastructure for the safe operation of all city services, and a $4-5 million budget shortfall for 2023.”
Brett DaCosta – has lived in Payson for 11 years. He is a Navy veteran, administrator, real estate developer, and lover of Payson’s “four seasons, clean mountain air and water, low crime” which has made it a great place to raise his son.
He is the founder of By The Bucket spaghetti franchise that he has now sold to Paul Kruger, an NFL player and Superbowl winner.
DaCosta would like to make the community more friendly for the youth and the business their parents run. His goal as council member would be “enticing low impact high-tech businesses to locate and relocate in Payson to build a sustainable economy where our youth have opportunities for career employment and a living wage where they can return to raise their families.”
Charles Doe – has lived in Payson for seven years. He currently sits on the building advisory board for the town. Doe studied engineering at Stanford and then held numerous positions with manufacturing companies including director of operations and director of information technology. When asked what Payson’s major issues were he replied, “all the normal ones like potholes,” but he went on, “Payson must decide how large it wants to be and how it is going to provide desired resources.”
Mostly, he hopes his tenure would provide a smooth operation with tax dollars spent responsibly.
Beverly D. Eernise – has lived in Payson for 11 years. Most of her career was in commercial real estate and property management, but she did work at Mead Technology Labs and had a ‘top secret’ extended background investigation clearance when she worked on several government contracts. She volunteered with CASA as a court appointed advocate for children going through the system.
Eernise sees the major issues facing the town as roads, broadband, public safety and economic development. She would like to see the Main Street corridor improved “to attract tourism.”
Dave James Golembewski – has lived in Payson for 16 years. He recently served on Payson’s Parks and Recreation Commission. He’s been a local businessman and volunteered for numerous organizations in town.
Golembewski believes the main issues for Payson include, “keeping sales taxes in line with what the people wish to fund or have as amenities, repair or remodel Taylor Pool, finish the splash pad, cover the event center and maintain roads and help police and fire.
Mark Henning – has lived in Payson for 32 years. He serves as the pastor for The Word Church. He has coached football for nine years and all five of his children went through the Payson school system. Henning sees Payson’s greatest issues as: growth, housing, rental housing, new businesses coming and turning Payson into “a destination town and not a drive-thru town.”
Vincent Adam Herman – has lived in Payson for four years. He has served as a member of the Planning and Zoning Commission since 2019. He spent most of his career working for Home Depot. He takes that knowledge with him to his PnZ position.
“Through my work on Planning and Zoning Commission I have already meaningfully participated in the continued growth of the Town and the community it serves. These last three years are a record of my dedication and service to our common cause,” he wrote.
Jimmy D. Lee – has lived in Payson for two and a half years. He served on numerous community development, business and chamber organizations when he lived in places like Chicago. He currently serves as the Interim Youth Director for Expedition Church, entrepreneur, and a volunteer supervisor for a local coffee shop.
Lee sees Payson’s greatest issues include affordable housing, support for small business, attracting educational and workforce development initiatives, and encouraging private public partnerships.
Miranda R. Meyer – has lived in Payson for two and a half years. She has a background in accounting for various industries from hospitality to real estate investment to aviation. She was also an associate broker in residential and commercial real estate.
She believes “the major issues facing the Payson Town Council could always be debated, but in my opinion they include the trifecta of mental health, addiction and homelessness, affordable and workforce housing, and the streets and sidewalks.”
Joel Mona – has lived in Payson for 33 years. He has served on the Planning and Zoning Commission as well as participated on the Steering Committee of the 2012-14 General Plan update. His career in civil engineering saw him oversee many infrastructure projects for public agencies as well as private companies.
He sees Payson’s greatest issues as growing wisely with strong economic development, “while being mindful of the existing town character.”
Cathy Nygaard – has lived in Payson for 12 years. She currently works at Payson Community Kids, before that she worked with the VA patients in town. She feels this experience gives her listening and “great people skills” as well as a connection to the children in town.
She feels the first major issue facing the town are potholes and she would like to fix the pool. Nygaard has concerns Payson has become a hot spot for “all the drugs traveling through which end up here in and possibly getting to our youth.”
Andrew Romance – has lived in Payson for 35 years, most of them working as an businessman. Romance is a former council member who launched the Payson Area Trails System. He served on the now defunct Green Valley Redevelopment District Committee that sought to revitalize Payson’s Main Street.
He feels the town’s main issue are “directives and tasks that were not effectively advanced.”
Romance would like to return to the council because of the make up of the current council members.
Jeremy Ruff – has lived in Payson for 32 years. He is a local businessman with young children. He was recently a candidate for Payson mayor in the 2022 election.
He believes the top issues Payson faces include workforce housing, and funding “to fix our roads as soon as possible.”
Charlie Seraphin – has lived in Payson for four years. He is the host of local radio station KMOG’s The Forum. He is a retired national radio executive.
He sees Payson’s top issues as the budget, its services, infrastructure and lack of transparency.
Because he hears from so many listeners, he feels he has a connection with the community.
Alan Simpson – has lived in Payson for three years. He currently works as Payson’s band director after spending a career in music education.
Simpson sees Payson’s greatest issues as “retention of quality workers”, “housing opportunities”, and “upkeep of public facilities.”
Justin Taylor – has lived in Payson for five years, but has been in the area as a third generation Rim Country resident for the last 42 years. Taylor has worked for his family’s construction business his whole career. He served on the Tonto Basin Fire District and has volunteered to coach T-ball and Little League in Payson.
He feels the greatest issue for the town is finding a balance “between the diverse community we live in between young families and retirees in which both parties play a big role in our community.”
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