Planning & Development Committee will be bringing a proposed set of changes to the Town Code to the Council probably in August.
The Town approved Manager Robinson to apply for a Technical Assistance Grant for $100,000 from the North American Development Bank. It would cover consultant costs for refurbishment design of the wastewater treatment plant and need 10% coverage by the town. The work phase would use the majority of the $500,000 Community Action Programs (CAP) grant. A year is estimated for completion of the project.
The Town approved the appointment of an Election Board for the August 4, 2020 primary election.
The Mayor and Council then went into executive session for a performance evaluation of Manager Robinson’s first year on the job.
The Marshal explained about traffic control at the upcoming Covid-19 testing blitz at PUHS.
The Town approved a joint conservation easement proposal from Borderlands Restoration Network, Wildlife Corridors, and the Town of Patagonia to protect approximately 1500 acres of land along SR 82 upstream of the Town, to be known as the Sonoita Creek Wildlife Corridor (SCWC). Ron Pulliam discussed the ecology of animal movements, including jaguars, that have identified the SCWC as a critical passage. Pulliam gave a history of ownership and land use in the area, and mentioned the several habitat restoration and enhancement projects that have received funding and multi-agency collaboration. A big boost has been the receipt of a Forest Legacy Award from the US Forest Service, placing the SCWC “squarely on the national map of conservation values,” said Pulliam.
South 32 presented “a review of the company’s COVID-19 response,” and plans to restart development of the decline, “including associated dewatering and discharge.” South32 has created a model of groundwater flow in the northern part of the Patagonia mountains. The report stated “groundwater first will be encountered approximately 100 feet below the surface during the construction of the decline and will need to be pumped out to allow for safe passage of South32 personnel and equipment.”
“The purpose of this groundwater pumping is to relocate, not consume the water” but because “the groundwater in its natural state underground does not meet surface water quality standards, South32 will treat the water and make it “cleaner than drinking water for many parameters, and safe for wildlife.”
They report that the discharge rate will vary over time, but the average discharge rate is anticipated to be 3,270 gallons per minute (gpm) initially, dropping to 3,000/2,000 gpm within the first several years. The plant has an upper limit of 4,500 gpm.
Questions about the effects of this 24/7 discharge for flora and fauna, for aquifer levels, and for the Town’s water supply, were answered with “no adverse affects are foreseen.” They will host an open house in Sept. for a more detailed discussion with the community.
A base pay increase of $2000 was approved for Manager Robinson.
A proposal to rename an alley between Pennsylvania Ave, 3R Ave, First Ave and Walnut Ave, as Raven Alley, was tabled as a future agenda item.
The Town agreed to Tucson Audubon’s request for letters of support for two grants it is applying for, one primarily for Johnson Grass removal, from the AZ Forestry Service, and the other focusing on improving habitat for the endangered Gila topminnow, from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation.