A quick year-end update. We are very hopeful that everyone has a wonderful holiday season.
The court case against the Town moves at a glacial pace. The last court hearing was November 30th. There is little to report on that front. That sounds simple enough. It has not been a quiet month.
- Mayor Higgins called a group of sixty voters “a mob.”
- The Town passed an emergency ordinance extending a temporary tax and making it permanent.
- The Town has issued a serial number allowing the collection of signatures for a referendum on the tax.
- Mayor Higgins and Jeffrey Aal will appear jointly on KMOG to end the year. We don’t suspect the topic is fishing.
Did the Mayor say that?
On Tuesday the 12th, Paul Frommelt and Jeffrey Aal were asked to discuss a proposed tax increase at the Payson Tea Party. We passed out an information packet that is below in a .pdf format. The increase was Ordinance 963, which took a temporary increase from 2017 of .88% and made it permanent. The original ordinance had a sunset provision set to expire in 2027. Mayor Higgins was present at the Tea Party meeting. He was asked if he wanted to provide any information. His response was to state that “I (Jeffrey Aal) was inciting a mob.” The room erupted. Mayor Higgins called the sixty people +- in the room a “mob.” Yes, he really said that. A copy of the informational handout from the meeting is attached.
Temporary taxes are now permanent.
On Wednesday, the 13th Town Council passed Ordinance 963 on an emergency basis. Apparently, an ordinance from 2017, with a tax set to expire in 2027, is now an emergency. As with the purported repeal of Propositions 401 and 402, the basis of the emergency was “rising interest rates.” The current TPT/Sales tax means Payson ranks #30 of about 450 taxing jurisdictions in Arizona.
In February 2024, the Town will pass an additional 1% sales tax/TPT increase. That will make Payson #7 in the State with a sales tax of 10.48%. In 2025, a plan for an off-year general obligation bond will increase property tax.
An emergency ordinance cannot be subject to a referendum.
To circumvent that discussion, the Town has issued a serial number allowing us to circulate petitions and potentially place the matter on the ballot. We have until 5:00 pm on January 12th to collect 843 valid signatures. THAT is a Herculean effort. A copy of the Application for Serial Number is attached.
Using an “emergency ordinance” on a ten-year issue appears abusive. The courts have previously supported that use. We have gotten the attention of some groups who oppose the abuse of emergency powers. One is a state legislator. Hopefully, we can address the issue in some fashion.
Mayor Higgins and Jeffrey Aal, Chairman of Transparent Payson, will be on KMOG Friday the 29th at 9:00 am to discuss tax rates and others. I am hopeful that it will be an informative show. KMOG Country FM 103.3 AM 1420. You can stream from their site.
As always, all the documents and support are below in .pdf.
Payson Tea Party Handout.121223 Groundhog Day Tax Increase
APPLICATION FOR SERIAL NUMBER, Initiative or Referendum Petition, A.R.S. § 19-111122123 Referendum 23-REF-01 TOP Ord 963
ORDINANCE NO. 963
AN ORDINANCE OF THE TOWN OF PAYSON, ARIZONA, AMENDING THE TOWN TAX CODE TO REPEAL THE SUNSET CLAUSE ADOPTED IN ORDINANCE NO. 888; PROVIDING FOR SEVERABILITY AND DECLARING AN EMERGENCY.Ord_963_2023_Repealing_Sunset_Clauses_in_Ordinance_888(2)
STAFF REPORT via Town of Payson, 12/13/23, regarding Ordinance 963.Staff_Report_Ord_963_removing_.88_Sunset_TS_12.13.23(1)