May 10, 2023
The Mayor and Council unanimously approved the Town’s Fiscal Year 2023-2024 Budget.
Tess Wagner was appointed to the Flood and Flow Committee. With her experience as the Watershed Restoration Program Manager for Borderlands Restoration Network, she is welcomed to the committee as a great asset.
A new rental agreement for use of Cady Hall was approved, to go into effect July 1, 2023.
Todd Norton’s resignation from the Planning and Development Committee was accepted, with appreciation for his years of work as an active member.
After a brief discussion of a small budget item of cat food for a feline who patrols one of the Town’s facilities, the item was accepted and payment of accounts payable was approved.
May 24, 2023
Mike Massee was sworn in as new Town Attorney, his second time in that position. He was welcomed enthusiastically.
In Call to the Public, there were three respondents, all commenting on Agenda Item 10, Melanie Lawson’s presentation giving a South32 Hermosa Project update.
Robert Gay spoke about the two endangered fish species in the pond of residents Gary Nabhan and Laura Monti. He urged prevention of any runoff from the CCC road project to the pond. He also urged more study of the “cone of depression” from the Hermosa dewatering project, and more study of potential of future monsoon rains creating flooding in the town’s primarily low lying properties.
Carolyn Shafer, for Patagonia Area Resource Alliance stressed the vitality of water and biodiversity to the survival of the region around Patagonia, especially the Harshaw and Sonoita Creek watersheds. She further stressed the importance of science-based accountability for the ecological and watershed effects of current industrialized mining.
David Krest related his experience holding a three day fast near the Hermosa Project. He described his increased sensitivity to noise and vibration near the mine site, particularly at night, and compared the effects of the mine on Mother Earth to rape.
Melanie Lawson, from South32, gave a slide presentation on updates to the Hermosa Project. She stated that blasting probably wouldn’t be heard from Town, and that there’d be no blasting at night. Water Treatment Plant no. 2 is near completion, and commissioning of it will be next month. She assured the Council and audience that the company had “a robust stormwater prevention plan.” Lawson stated there would be equipment seen preparing a 15-acre portion of their property within the town and north of Harshaw Avenue for a pollinator garden.
Lawson mentioned the recently issued alternative route map, presenting a Flux Canyon route which used the canyon itself and paralleled the gasline road to 82 near Milepost 13. There is a survey open for public response. For worker estimates, she stated 800-900 as the anticipated number of employees during full production. She also mentioned that the June 2 mine site tour would be the last one until October because of coming monsoon season. She invited communication at email@example.com.
Councilor Michael Stabile expressed concern about the effect of the predicted 200 trucks a day on the residents and the local economy, stating “that much heavy truck traffic would kill the town.” He requested a meeting to discuss vehicle traffic with representatives from Town, County and State, particularly the Dept. of Transportation. Stabile said, “Patagonia shouldn’t be the sacrificial lamb for this project.”
Mayor Wood expressed concern that the dewatering might dry up nearby ranchers’ and residents’ wells, and asked if they’d be reporting on surface results as things went ahead. Ms. Lawson replied that their hydrologist, Thomas Goode, would be a good person to consult on that issue.
The Mayor and Council approved both Cady Hall use and a liquor license for Voices from the Border’s July 8 fundraising event. The event would run 4p.m.-10p.m. India Aubrey is the organization’s representative.
Patagonia’s Volunteer Fire and Rescue group was approved for a liquor license and gazebo use for their annual steak fry, Saturday, June 24, from 3p.m.-10p.m.
Approval was given for paying the Town’s bills, and there were no future agenda items mentioned.