Tears flowed, emotions ran high and discord reigned at the Patagonia Town Council meeting on February 14.

In a request, that in retrospect was a harbinger of things to come, during the call to the public, local resident Joe Nitsche called on council to put on the agenda for a future meeting a discussion of the rules for outside employment by town personnel. Vice Mayor Andy Wood responded by advising Nitsche that the proper procedure would be for him to talk first with Town Manager Dave Teel, which Nitsche agreed to do.

During the staff report part of the agenda, Marshall Joe Patterson strongly requested that the council not reveal details of an ongoing investigation into an incident that occurred following the February 5 collision that took the lives of town stalwart Fred Sang and Houston resident Miniatu Sannoh. To add emphasis to his request, Marshall Patterson said he’d be “extremely angry” if that information were to be made public. This prompted Councilman Ron Reibslager to note that a lot of information had already been going around town “from one end to the other,” a statement he almost immediately, and repeatedly, tried to apologize for as it became clear that his comment was taken as an attack on the fire department and Mayor Ike Isakson who serves as the fire chief. The verbal scuffle that ensued saw the mayor’s wife rush to his side to console him and admonish Reibslager for his remark, effectively cutting off his attempt at contrition.

To his credit, Mayor Isakson quickly moved to the next item on the agenda calling on Anu Krzys to speak to his request for the town to conduct a water study. Asserting that he was tired of the partisan bickering going on in town and crediting Arizona Mining for its
efforts to monitor water quality, Krzys painted a picture of multiple parties doing different things regarding the town’s water supply, but no one taking responsibility for conducting a nonpartisan, coordinated study of the town’s water supply.

A heated exchange ensued when Flood and Flow Committee chairperson, Carolyn Shafer, took exception to Krzys’ depiction of efforts to study the town’s water supply as lacking coordination. During the verbal tussle that followed, the mayor and Shafer sharply disagreed on the purpose for which the Flood and Flow Committee was established. Eventually a measure of civility was restored when council unanimously approved a motion by Vice Mayor Wood to authorize Krzys to proceed with his proposed water study.

In a refreshing change in the tenor of the meeting, Library Assistant Laura Wenzel used a PowerPoint presentation to introduce her proposal to erect a temporary StoryWalk in the park that would feature movable mounted pages of a children’s book aimed at encouraging children to read and participate in library activities. Her proposal to seek a grant of
approximately $5000 to pay for the project received unanimous approval.

In other business, the council approved the appointment of David Budd to fill a vacancy on the Planning and Zoning Committee. Melissa Murrietta announced that she and Amanda Montanez had resigned from the committee and that Sharon Calvert is now serving as its chair.

Note: The Planning and Zoning Committee is seeking additional members. Anyone interested should submit a letter of interest to Town Manager Dave Teel.