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.
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 Can it be repealed by Town Council or any legislative group?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.
Jeffrey S. Aal
Chairperson, Transparent Payson
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September 3, 2023
Depending on the outcome of the court date, you may be subject to additional taxes. As legal fees are again mounting, we are hopeful you will donate. Without your support, we cannot defend voters’ rights. Without your support, we cannot prevent unilateral debt and increased taxes. The initial hearing is scheduled for September 22nd at 1:30 p.m. in Payson.
How does the outcome of our hearing impact your wallet? Proposition 402 provided citizen oversight by requiring complete information on source funding for Payson debt obligations. Traditionally, a “General Obligation” bond would be subject to the will of the voters. Hybrid finance agreements or “creative debt,” which include “Combination” or “Double Barrel” bonds, are being used by governments to circumvent the voters’ input as they require no direct Citizen vote. Proposition 402 prevented the use of such financial instruments at the local level without a direct vote of the citizens. Proposition 402 provided greater transparency in the finance details of local government debt. We have discussed the financial instruments many times. A snapshot is here.
We apologize in advance for the long read. We hope this post will clarify our prior efforts, the implications, and the financial costs. The thumbnail version is that a significant financial impact is headed to the citizens of Payson, which may not require voter approval if we are not successful. That impact appears to be above $500.00 annually in increased property taxes on average. Any bond will impact non-property owners, such as renters, as the cost will be passed through. Consumers will have pass-through costs via business as well. The rate is 10% on residential properties. The rate is higher for vacant land at 15% and for commercial values at 16%.
Some view the involvement of voters as “the core problem” to make such a project work. We suspect that if a project is wanted/needed and the costs are reasonable, most voters would support the project. We anticipate the current construction values suggested by the Town are on the low side, with a projected cost of $30M. The annual estimated operating costs of 1.5M are close enough. The question becomes, how would such a project impact Payson residents financially? The impact is significant, just addressing the anticipated debt, not including facility user fees, facility membership, or other direct costs to be paid by the user.
The Town’s calculations on a $10M bond reflect a rate of $29.76 per year on $100,000.00 of assessed value on a residential property. Assuming a bond issuance of $40M and an assessed value of $400,000.00, the actual impact on taxes would be $476.16 for a $40M bond over twenty years. ($29.76*4 = $119.04) and ($119.04*4 = $476.16). We suspect many in the community may have an issue being taxed $476.16 per year via property tax for the improvement. But wait, it gets better, much, much better.
Assuming a 30% income tax burden, the gross income required to pay the additional property tax of $476.16 is $680.23. The median household income in Payson is $58,109.00, and a $40M bond, with a property tax burden of $476.16 per household, is 1.17% of the median household income. Many community retirees have a high property value but relatively low annual income.
The hearing is scheduled for September 22nd at 1:00 p.m. in Payson.
The address is 714 Beeline Highway S, Payson, AZ 85541. The Court has a YouTube channel if you cannot attend in person.
To learn more and to see the complete discussion with supporting documents, please visit our website and the post "A Court Date Has Been Set."
Again, thank you so much for your continued support.
Jeffrey S. Aal
Chairperson, Transparent Payson