Thank you, KMOG and former Payson Mayor Kenneth Murphy, for the opportunity to discuss the issues with current Mayor Higgins on the KMOG forum on December 29th. We always appreciate the opportunity to be part of the KMOG discussion. It was a great way to end an eventful year. If you were unable to listen, the entire broadcast is below. The recent termination of the sunset provision on a .88 TPT/sales tax and the use of an “emergency ordinance” was discussed.
On Wednesday, the 13th, 2023, the Town Council passed Ordinance 963 on an emergency basis. The full Ordinance is linked below. 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.” Using an “emergency ordinance” on a ten-year issue appears abusive. The courts have previously supported that use. They want your money, not your vote.
The current TPT/sales tax means Payson ranks #30 on the sales tax rate. In February 2024, the Town will pass an additional 1% TPT/sales tax increase. That will make Payson #7 in the State with a TPT/sales tax of 10.48%. In 2025, there is a plan for an off-year general obligation bond that will increase property tax if passed.
An emergency ordinance cannot be subject to a referendum. To circumvent that discussion, the Town of Payson has issued a serial number allowing us to circulate petitions and potentially place the matter on the ballot. The petition must be submitted by January 13th. Collecting 843 valid signatures in such a short time is a Herculean effort. Even though a serial number was issued, and assuming enough valid signatures were collected, the Town could still decline to place a referendum before the voters. A copy of the Application for Serial Number is also linked below.
Mayor Higgins confirmed at the approximate fifteen-minute mark of the radio broadcast that the Town of Payson used an emergency ordinance to preclude a referendum and is considering using an emergency ordinance for the proposed tax increase in February.
It is beyond perplexing that emergencies can be planned. Apparently, “emergency” does not mean what we think it means. It is simply an exploitation of the relevant statute.
noun: emergency; plural noun: emergencies
a serious, unexpected, and often dangerous situation requiring immediate action.
“your quick response in an emergency could be a lifesaver”
Your money, NOT your vote.
One item of note: Caller Dave asked the Mayor if he would maintain his commitment to prior statements regarding reelection. It does not appear that the question was answered.
After the KMOG broadcast, resident Ann Doyle was compelled to write a letter to the Editor of the Roundup. Our group was provided a copy.
Mayor Disrespects All Who Disagree With Him
Once again, Mayor Chris Higgins has boldly disrespected all Payson residents who disagree with him on the proposed 1% sales tax increase. This time it was at the wrap-up of his interview on KMOG’s Forum program, which aired this morning and also included Mr. Jeffrey Aal from Transparent Payson. Mr. Aal, along with a whole lot of other Payson residents, feels the proposed tax increase is a major mistake, especially given the city’s record on managing earlier tax income, and the undeniable fact that the residents should be able to vote on such a large increase and the planned projects.
Mr. Higgins said his critics remind him of a saying in sports: That losers focus on winners, while winners focus on winning. And further, that naysayers ought to go out and do something instead of “sitting and spending too much time on social media.”
So apparently, we who strongly disagree with his take on the need for another 1% sales tax are “losers,” frittering away our time on social media. Really?? As Mayor, isn’t Mr. Higgins supposed to represent all the townspeople and try to come to a meeting of the minds?
Earlier in December, the Mayor chose to join the audience at a Tea Party meeting on the subject of the sales tax hike, where Mr. Aal calmy presented his many reasons for opposing it. After the presentation, a member of the Tea Party suggested that Mr. Higgins be given a chance to rebut Mr. Aal’s information and answer any questions. In the quiet room, all eyes turned to the Mayor. Mr. Higgins replied to this very civilized offer by saying that he would only talk to attendees individually after the meeting and would not address “the mob that you have gathered here.” He labeled a thoroughly well-behaved group of fellow citizens a “mob.” I was there and could barely believe my ears.
This conduct is totally unbecoming of an elected official. It represents a complete lack of respect for residents who disagree with this Mayor and makes it clear that their perspectives will NOT be considered. I am new to Payson and am deeply troubled at just what kind of town government I have let myself in for.
Please listen to the broadcast. We are hopeful it will answer questions and provide some insight. Again, thank you to KMOG and Mr. Murphy.
If the media player does not embed properly on your browser, the direct link is here.
To review the documents on the application for referendum serial number, and the recent Ordinance 963, repealing the sunset of the tax, please visit the post below.
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