Now is the time to take a stand with Transparent Payson.   

Who we are:

We are citizens of Payson, Arizona, striving to make our local government more transparent.  We believe in the people voting on what happens with their money, their land, and their town.  We believe that elected officials are there to serve the public; as such, we should have a voice in making decisions that affect us all.  We are nonpartisan/bipartisan with no party affiliation, no hidden agenda. We believe in Payson, Arizona, and its future.  We support growth that will better serve all its citizens while remaining financially sound.  As a 527 nonprofit PAC, we were responsible for successfully enacting Propositions 401 and 402 in 2018.  A short history of our group can be found here.

Voters' rights are essential to all.

Fundamentally, we are responsible for Propositions 401 and 402 and their defense.  We have been compelled to become a voters' rights group in that defense.  The implications for Payson appear limited to the validity of Propositions 401 and 402 and their enactment.  At the state level, we suspect the implications of our effort have a much more significant impact.  That is, do citizens, as allowed by law, have the ability to initiate law?  Is that law then valid?  Can it be repealed by Town Council or any legislative group?

There was recently an attempt by the Town of Payson to repeal these ballot initiatives.   With the help of an attorney, we are fighting that effort in Superior Court; we still have much work to do to defend your voting rights.

We are defending the rights of Payson citizens on large-scale, publicly funded projects that may be placed on public lands via long-term leases to third parties.  Our goal is NOT to prevent such projects but to ensure transparency in all negotiations, discussions, and contracts that affect your town.  If the citizens approve the funding through an election, or if the citizens approve the lease of public land to complete the project, we would support that effort.  We are protecting YOU – the voter.

Our vision is that our leaders provide all the information as to the proposed spending of Town money as well as the utilization of Town property so that we, the citizens, can choose how and where our money and our land are utilized.

We welcome YOUR involvement in this process.  Dare we say, support the cause.

I appreciate your consideration.


Sincerely yours,




Jeffrey S. Aal 

Chairperson, Transparent Payson

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April 25, 2023

A history of Transparent Payson.

First and foremost; it has been an extreme pleasure to be involved in the democratic
process. A process that is best embraced and not taken for granted.
Transparent Payson has been honored that so many volunteers have
provided their resources and time to assist in our efforts.

Five years ago today, Transparent Payson submitted approximately 1,900 total signatures per Initiative to the Town Clerk, Ms. Smith, in an attempt to have two initiatives placed on the ballot. (1,927 on the Debt Initiative and 1,882 on the Lease Initiative.) As a point of reference, the number of signatures was over 40% of the total number of votes; 4,387, cast in the controlling Mayoral election.

We figure it is time for a history of Transparent Payson

In 2017 the Town of Payson leadership presented a plan to form a public/private partnership with a foreign (Canadian) entity, Varxity, a Phoenix-based group, Community Center Partners, and the Town of Payson to develop an elite prep/boarding school for 600 hockey players. The private entity had no track record and limited resources. The Town was to develop and provide a recreation/training facility that included two hockey rinks and other amenities located on public parkland with limited access to the community. The Town spent tens of thousands (perhaps hundreds of thousands) of dollars to develop the plans. Neither the funding for the project nor the total price was ever disclosed.

A group of concerned citizens formed “Transparent Payson.” As allowed under the Arizona Constitution and the Town Code, two propositions were placed on the ballot that would require a general vote for leasing public lands exceeding three years and a vote if the financing mechanism for a facility had a “backstop” feature that functioned as a general obligation bond. The Propositions were passed with 60% approval.

After the Propositions were passed, the Town of Payson terminated the agreement with Varxity. An agreement was then made by the Town of Payson and the MHA Foundation to develop a recreation center on MHA land that was deeded by the U.S. Forest Service to establish a college campus in Payson. Varxity Development filed suit against the Town of Payson for breach of contract. That matter is ongoing, with the last activity occurring on 04/18/23.

In 2021 the Town Council considered repealing the enacted Propositions. The basic argument was that the citizens lacked the authority to place the matter on the ballot as allowed under Arizona Constitution, Article IV, Section 1. Transparent Payson responded, and the repeal was not enacted. On April 12th, 2023, the Town Council enacted an “emergency ordinance” to repeal the Propositions. The “emergency” was partly based on fears of rising interest rates. The matter was approved six to one by the Council.

Six Council Members have repealed a duly enacted Proposition passed by 60% of the electorate. A request was provided to the Council on April 11th, 2023 outlining the concerns of Transparent Payson. After the passage, a formal response was provided that the repeal is invalid.

To ensure their rights, the citizens of Payson must now bring action against the Town of Payson. The outcome of this matter may have broader implications for any voter-approved initiative in Arizona.

We hope for the best in our current fight.

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