Editor’s note: This is the second in a three-part series featuring outgoing members of the Payette City Council. Up next is Kathy Dodson.
While some local leaders will try for re-election as their circumstances allow, others are one (term) and done. Outgoing Payette City Council member Alan Massey took time out from preparing for his departure on Dec. 31 to talk about his four years on the council.
A 15-year Payette resident, Massey said he originally threw his hat into the ring because he wanted to see Payette live up to its potential.
“I just felt that I could be a voice of reason and work within the system to build a better city,” said Massey.
Massey said he had done his homework by attending City Council meetings for 10 years before his 2015 bid for city council.
“I had a lot of institutional knowledge about how the city and the council worked, and also … what types of issues the city was facing,” said Massey. “I felt that I could offer a little bit more continuity. I think one of my attributes has always been to look at things from all sides and to focus back to what is important and help others see the best path to go forward, whatever circumstances.”
Massey noted that teamwork has been crucial throughout.
“Too often, people think that just because you’re on council you can change things immediately and you can’t. You have to get the council to work together as a body, because the council represents various parts of the community. You’ve got to get the council together to act as a body … to get anything done.”
During his term, Massey said he engaged the community in updating the city’s comprehensive and strategic plans, as a means of guiding future councils in making decisions the community expects.
Massey notes the council has encouraged economic development by reducing, replacing or rewording ordinances as needed to make sense for residents.
“We have worked to bring numerous City ordinances into compliance with Idaho State Code,” said Massey.
Massey pointed out the collective effort of city staff and council members to lower taxes, which has culminated in the lowest tax levy rate (.00834) in recent years.
The city also secured underwater easement rights to the Payette River along the River Street/Kiwanis Park area, as the city works with state and federal agencies to make the area more accessible to the public.
As far as what he wishes was done better, Massey admits he wanted to see council members bring better collaboration, “and more openness to the table.”
Massey’s wife, Sandy, pointed out that patience has been key for her husband.
“It’s a process; One city council starts a project and then it just keeps building until you can really call it ‘done’ … if you could ever say it was done.”
She also pointed out that in the past 20 years, downtown Payette has gone from being in poor physical shape to being cleaned up and in better condition.
“Downtown’s looking really good, now, and Alan had a small part in that. Nobody does it all by themselves, unless you’re a billionaire and you come in and buy all of the buildings and then you get your crew going,” she said.
In future years, Massey hopes efforts continue to make Payette’s downtown and nearby recreation sites a prominent destination for visitors.
“Building and enhancing the downtown corridor has always been on my focus, and the green belt and building recreational opportunities for Payette has always been a focus, too.”
Now that Massey has left the City Council, he and his wife are preparing to downsize their living arrangements; They just sold their home in Payette, with plans to purchase a smaller home nearby.
“We haven’t found a place because we haven’t started looking,” Massey noted.
Massey hopes to stay involved in the community, but in a less-prominent role.
“Definitely not state [politics],” Massey said. “I would love to be able to work on the projects I choose to do, rather than having to be involved in everything that the council’s involved in.”
Most importantly, Massey looks forward to spending more quality time with his grandchildren who live in the Boise metropolitan area.
Massey thanks the citizens of Payette for electing him, the council and city staff for their support in reaching his goals.
He reminds future city leaders: “You can’t please everybody all the time. All you can do is do the best you can with what you have and the support you’re given.”