The Mayor mentioned the practice of having committee reports in “the white book” that’s available to the pubic before meetings at the sign-in table.
The meeting began with an open public hearing on the proposed alternative expenditure limitation-home rule option. Manager Robinson recommended affirming the current proposal that the town select the home rule option in the process, which he presented as the best way to bolster the Town’s $2.7 million annual budget.
Mayor and Council approved a support letter for the US Bureau of Reclamation grant to fund the development of a Sonoita creek Watershed Alliance of stakeholders, as had been requested by the Flood and Flow Committee.
Council and Mayor approved the Museum’s use of the Park at the Gazebo for a Mata Ortiz pottery demonstration and sale and Patagonia Flower Farms “Artisan and Farmer’s Market” as a recurring event at the same spot. Event promoter Aishah Lurry explained that there would be no charge to vendors.
Laura Wenzel’s March 1 letter of resignation as Library Director was accepted with thanks that read “Laura has been an exceptional employee and has shown her strength of character traversing the challenges of COVID-19 for the last two years.”
The meeting started about 15 minutes late because of a belated completion of the previous hour’s Planning and Development meeting. The meeting began with a Call to Public address by Cherise Monge who had in a December Council meeting mentioned her plan to offer mental health services in town and was now announcing the opening of her office which will provide mental health services, including addiction counseling and relationship work. She plans to coordinate with the schools and the Youth Enrichment Center.
After a public hearing time, the Council and Mayor approved the extension of the previously discussed Alternative Expenditure Limitation process via the Home Rule Option.
For the Senior Center, Philip Brister presented the concept of getting a grant to add solar power to the Senior Center facility in the town. There were questions about its location and scale, but no objections were raised.
A proclamation of the Mayor and Council was approved, declaring the month of April 2022 as “Fair Housing Month.”
Mayor and Council approved a Budget Study Session on Wednesday, April 6, 2022, at 6p.m. Since the Session will cover a broad range of town issues, the public is invited to attend.
The largest topic of this meeting was the approval, 4-1, of the Use Permit application by Heidi and Zander Ault, to operate a third building of their ongoing business, the Gravel House. It would have nine rooms available for transient housing at 316 Naugle Ave.
The project had been recommended for approval by the Planning and Development Committee. There was a mixture of objections and support, with Lynn Weatherby, the Aults’ realtor in the ongoing purchase, listed the repairs and alterations that would require the Aults to spend “a ton of money.” Zander Ault spoke extensively, beginning with a repeat of what he saw as the successful Spirit World 100 event last November, which he claimed had led to the town requesting Cyclist’s Menu to increase participants from 250 to 500 and hold another large event in the other half of the year.
Objections were then raised to granting the permit, such as increased traffic, both in the Town as a whole, the lack of parking in Mendoza Alley, the problems with adding five to ten cars in an already crowded part of SR 82 that the project fronts on, and the possibility of neighborhood disruption by partiers and people checking in or out at odd hours.