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Town Council Praises and Approves its New Water Conservation Plan

By Charlie McKee

In the Silver City Town Council meeting on Tuesday evening, August 27, 2013, Denise Smith of the Town's Office of Sustainability reviewed its proposed Water Conservation Plan for approval/disapproval by the Council.

Smith explained that the Plan, which has been in process since 2011 through funding from the New Mexico Finance Authority, incorporates public input from three stakeholder meetings and sets the following goals for the Town's Plan: reducing outdoor water usage (which reduces loss of water through evaporation); reducing water waste; increasing energy efficiency in the use of water; and maintaining "revenue neutrality" (i.e. no serious impact on the Town's revenue stream, positively or negatively).  In meeting these goals, the Plan includes projects, such as upgrading water meters, installing water leakage detection systems, promoting xeriscaping, and developing public education programs regarding water conservation.  It also includes a water audit, completed by the hydrology contractor Daniel B. Stephens and Associates, as required for funding.

Cissy McAndrew, representing the Southwest Chapter of the New Mexico Green Chamber of Commerce, informed the Council that the Chamber "supports the Plan wholeheartedly."  Councilor Cynthia Bettison commented that she thought the Plan was an excellent one that "sets an example for the entire state."  Councilor Michael Morones also endorsed the Plan.  He praised it for presenting a "practical approach, which can be begun modestly" and said: "It makes a lot of business sense."

Mayor James Marshall then asked Smith whether the Plan meets the state's regulations affecting water systems.  Smith replied that the Plan sets forth guidelines for the projects outlined in the Plan and that state regulations will be checked once detailed design activities for each project have begun.  At that point, Marshall called for a vote, and the Council approved Resolution No. 2013-32, adoption of the Town of Silver City Water Conservation Plan.

In other New Business, the Council approved the following items:
•    Two Public Celebration Permits for the Gila River Festival's "Gala for the Gila" Fundraiser Dance to be held on Sept. 21, 2013, from 7:00 to 10:00 pm at Javalina Coffee House.  This is a change of venue from the previously approved permits for the Murray Hotel.
•    Resolution No. 2013-33 for the Town to submit an application to the NM Department of Transportation for Transportation Alternatives Program Funds for Federal Fiscal Years 2014 and 2015.  The funds will be used for sidewalks and pedestrian safety improvements at the El Grito children's school on South Cooper Street.
•    Bid #13/14-2, which awards the contract for a new marquee for the Silco Theater.  David Vesica, the architect for renovations to the Silco Theater, assured the Council that the marquee would be in period style of the 1940s.  Funding for the $68,900 contract will be through the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division and MainStreet matching funds.  

The meeting was then adjourned.

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