Payson is a great place to live, to raise a family, and to own a business. Much can be done, however, to make our city even better. The time is now for smart economic growth, for solving our water problems and infrastructure concerns, and for keeping our community safe.
The various opportunities I have taken to serve the community and the experience I have gained doing so demonstrate my ability to make things happen and not just talk about them. I do more than talk the talk--I walk the walk.
LIST OF ISSUES
PAYSON CITY OUTREACH AND TRANSPARENCY
I believe that we need to encourage and provide ways for the citizens of Payson to become more actively involved. “We the people” are the city. The elected leaders serve at the pleasure of the citizens. It is hard to serve the citizens if we do not know what they want. Citizens are the city's customers, and the city needs to continue to find inventive ways to receive feedback from the public in a timely manner.
We need to make it simpler to keep the citizens informed on what is happening in the city; transparency is important to all of us. One help that is now available is that residents can go to a state web site, and sign up to have the agendas and minutes of the City Council, Planning Commission, and Economic Development Board automatically emailed to them.
Also, during the last four years we tried to have the fifth Wednesday as a time for the citizens to spend time with the mayor and council; however, attendance was almost nil, so they were discontinued. This could be tried again if citizens wish to do so.
Just a few weeks ago we had an item that came before the City Council that would have an impact on about 70 of or citizens. My question was: "Have those that will be affected by our decision been informed about what will happen?" The answer was no, so we tabled the decision and instructed the city to contact those that would be affected, and we had a special City Council meeting at which they had the opportunity to address the issue in a public hearing. I think it is important to hear from citizens because we have a better chance of making the very best decision because of the ideas that are presented by them. After getting the information out to the citizens and hearing from them at the public hearing, we changed what was proposed at the first City Council meeting.
During the last few years I have written and sent out two surveys to get feedback from citizens on branding issues. The response to the survey was great. During the next few weeks the city will be putting out a survey that I wrote to gather information about building a recreation center and covering the pool. This information is important in helping the city determine what the citizens of Payson are thinking and feeling.
I want the citizens to feel like they are invested and are part of the solutions for the challenges facing Payson. Many minds and ideas make the best decisions.
The city's website needs to be updated to make it easier to add current content.
Economic Development is also a big concern for our citizens. That work has always been a special interest of mine; that’s why I started the Economic Development Committee Payson (EDCP) seven years ago, even before I was a member of the City Council. Smart economic development is key to improving infrastructure through acquiring a wider tax base.
I, along with the mayor, have actively been recruiting Home Depot, new car dealerships, hotels, and restaurants. I created a PowerPoint that we have shared with people that makes a good case for attracting a Home Depot. This presentation has shared with people that have contacts with Home Depot.
We have a 400-acre business park that is being severely underutilized. I helped streamline the business park development guidelines, changing them from 62 pages to 3 ½ pages. This made the approval process more simple and made it easier to attract businesses and less costly for them to build. Since then we have had four new buildings built in the business park. Currently two more buildings are in the approval process. I am working with a company in California that wants to build many very nice office/warehouse buildings in the business park.
DOWNTOWN AND THE HUISH CULTURAL ARTS AND LEARNING CENTER
Our citizen surveys show that as we continue to grow in Payson many residents want to keep the “small town feel”. A vibrant downtown which becomes a gathering place is vital in keeping this small town feel.
One of the initiatives that I helped devise and am working on is to bring a culinary experience to downtown Payson. The plan is to work with Utah Valley University (UVU), Mountainland Technical College (METCH), Salt Lake Community College (SLCC) and a private culinary school in Park City to have start up eateries established by the newly graduated chefs in downtown Payson. We are working to obtain a building to be shared by up to 6 different eating establishments. This will help revitalized downtown and attract people from outside of Payson to our great city.
One of the things I have learned about downtowns from the out-of-state revitalization conferences I have attended, is that we need to consider them as if they were a mall. Malls have a few anchor stores augmented by supporting stores. I envision the Huish as the anchor for the downtown area. If we had Payson Community Theater performances downtown 2-3 times a year, plus recitals, old movie runs, outside entertainment, business retreats, etc., all at the Huish, many people would come to the downtown area day and evening. We could recruit stores and dining that would flourish with this new foot traffic. We need to work with the private sector to raise funds to finish restoring the Huish.
With its narrow streets and historical buildings, our Payson downtown is very unique compared to that of other cities in Utah. All Utah towns have people, housing, business parks and shopping, but we are one of the few towns that has a historically unique downtown that other cities have tried to replicate, such as is the case with the Riverwoods and the Gateway Plaza. Our downtown could be the heart and soul of Payson and give us an identity.
RECREATION CENTER AND SWIMMING POOL COVER
Many residents would like to see a recreation center and to see the Payson swimming pool covered so that it can be used year-round. Within the next few weeks we will be sending out a Qualtrics survey - if the support is there, we will begin the process of making plans and figuring costs so that it can be put it on the ballot next year to give the citizens the opportunity to choose whether they want to do this or not.
We have so many great volunteers in our community which is what makes Payson so great. Four years ago when I first ran for City Council, I wanted to have a “Volunteer Appreciation Day”. This last year I organized this event at Stadium Cinemas where we invited Payson volunteers to enjoy a movie, popcorn and a drink. I would like to continue hosting a Volunteer Appreciation Day every year. I would also like to continue the "Take Pride in Payson" campaign that was started for the Payson Temple open house - we could have a Take Pride annual clean-up week just before Onion Days.
I am a big believer in active committees that look for solutions – Payson needs many more officially-sanctioned volunteer committees. The city is limited by the manpower that it has, but as we volunteer and become involved on committees, we can help spread the work load. Committee members can also talk to their neighbors and friends and monitor the pulse of the community. We have a great pool of talented and smart people here. We need to post a list of committees on the Payson web site with instructions on how one may volunteer for them.
Much of our city’s infrastructure – including sewer, water lines, storm drains, and roads - requires modernizing or bringing up to code. As part of Payson's master plan, we will have a study done on our underground infrastructure and roads. We need to have a 10-year plan detailing the modernization of our aging infrastructure and how to secure funding to pay for it. Growing the number of retail businesses in the city will help increase our tax base which will provide more funds to help pay for the updating of Payson’s infrastructure.
In the last 4 years we have increased the police force by 6 officers. A viable neighborhood watch program would lend helpful support to our police force. On the average, crime in neighborhood-watch areas decreases by 16 percent. We must continue to support our police, making sure they receive ongoing training and have the equipment they need, expanding the force as the city grows and more resources become available.
We need to figure out a way to take better advantage of the tourists who use the Nebo Loop or visit the temple. For every dollar spent in our restaurants and stores, the city gets back sales tax revenues that can be used to improve our roads, provide for more police and provide for more recreation opportunities for our children.
We are working on re-branding Payson around adventure. Some of the creatively-financed adventures we are working on are a moto-cross track, an in-door rodeo arena, and making the Forebay area more accessible with increased recreational opportunities.