The Payson Town Council last week voted against merging the Payson, Hellsgate and Houston Mesa fire departments.
Officials negotiated the merger for two years, which won overwhelming support from firefighters. The departments spent thousands on a consultant, which concluded a merger would save money, not require a tax increase and improve services. Fire chiefs from throughout the region showed up at study sessions to detail their experience and support the merger.
But none of that convinced a council majority.
“I feel it is a bad deal for Payson,” said Mayor Tom Morrissey.
“At this point I’m not 100 percent sure I could support it,” said Councilor Barbara Underwood.
“I just don’t feel it’s best for Payson as a whole,” said Councilor Suzy Tubbs-Avakian.
“I have mixed feelings because I know there is so much more involved with it,” said Vice Mayor Janell Sterner.
The joint power authority would have been the first merger involving a town fire department and a fire district in the state.