Mayor Gordon Taylor of Payson wants to save the $7,700 the county wants in property tax to put back into the Peteetneet Academy.

But the Board of Equalization said Wednesday that because the historic building has a for-profit preschool in it, it may not qualify for an exemption. Taylor said the academy is exempt from state and federal taxes.The building would qualify because the city of Payson owns it, said Commissioner Jerry Grover, but having the preschool there could trigger a privilege tax. That would cost the Peteetneet about the same as the property tax, Grover said.

If that's the case, said Taylor, then the day care and any other for-profit enterprise using the building would have to go. City attorney David Tuckett suggested the day care, not the Peteetneet, be responsible for the tax.

"I can't recall ever having a privilege tax (matter) come before us," said Commissioner Gary Herbert. The commissioners tabled Taylor's request for 30 days while they study it.

For the past decade, said Taylor, the People Preserving the Peteet-neet and other volunteers have been working to save the century-old building. It now serves as Payson's community and cultural arts center. The center also houses an art gallery and museum. Taylor said the Peteetneet serves as a reception center for weddings and other gatherings.

He said the Peteetneet took in about $74,000 last year, but spent about $500 more than that. Future plans include building an amphitheater there and hiring a director to administer the Peteetneet and its programs if it can raise enough money.