By Lynn Janes

The Village of Santa Clara held its regular meeting June 8, 2023. Mayor Richard Bauch called the meeting to order and led the Pledge of Allegiance. Trustees, Olga Amador, Arnold Lopez, and Peter Erickson attended. Mayor Pro Tem Albert Esparza did not attend.

The council approved the agenda for the meeting with the change of moving the closed session to after the mayor's report.

The council approved the minutes from the May 28, 2023, meeting.

The council approved the May 2023 department reports.

Mayor's report

Bauch said he had been happy they were able to donate the used fire gear to the departments in Mexico and thanked the fire department for coordinating the donation.

"I am happy to see the splash park utilized." It has been busy since it opened.

The fuel tanks at the old Mercado site have been removed. It had taken place the day before. Bauch said it took a long time to coordinate the removal. They had been trying for ten years. He thanked Sheila Hudman, village administrator, for all her hard work to make it happen. A group of people had to all be coordinated to be there at the same time. They had to have the contractors, EPA (Environmental Protection Agency), and others. They also had to have soil samples taken. Now they can move forward with developing the property. In the past they had started talking to The Commons about putting a facility there and purchasing the lot.

The council went into closed session.

The council came back into open session and said only legal matters had been discussed, and no actions had taken place.

New Business

The council tabled the water development project agreement. This agreement would be for the regional water plan the mining district had been working on. Freeport McMoRan (FMI) would be leasing 250 acre feet of water rights to the village of Santa Clara. Each municipality (Bayard, Hurley, and Santa Clara) would be doing an agreement with FMI. Part of the agreement with Santa Clara would be to provide Hanover with water if they needed it, so they would have backup.

A resident in attendance had concerns that Santa Clara would have to pay for it. Bauch said they would be getting state and federal funds to pay for the project. This agreement would connect all the mining district. Tom Caddel had questions about which wells, and the water lines needed. Bauch explained all the wells and waterlines. Currently they have four wells but only use two. Two of the wells they shut down because of hard water

Erickson had questions about the agreement. He had concerns about some of the language and what it meant. He felt it had been too vague. Hudman said they had to have an agreement to be able to apply for funding. They will have to do a PER (preliminary engineering report) to find out the cost and a lot of the ability to move forward with the project will depend on that report. At that point another agreement will be made. The regional water project is trying to get funding upfront and be ready to go. The one stipulation for Santa Clara will be to provide Hanover with water as a backup to get the 250 acre feet of water rights from FMI. Currently the state will be looking at regional water projects to make sure everyone will be covered. All three municipalities have different agreements. Santa Clara does have water rights they have not used near the rest stop going to Deming. Erickson still felt some things in the agreement needed to be written clearer. Bauch said the village would keep their autonomy. The main question had been about the water rights and if they would lose them. Hudman said the agreement says if the project does not happen in five years, they will pull back the water rights. The town attorney had not looked at the agreement as of the meeting, so the council tabled the agreement until they received some clarifications.

Old business

Robby Ramirez wanted to know why the process had been taking so long concerning his litigation with animal control. Bauch said they had to do the investigation without the video Ramirez had and refused to provide. Also, the village attorney had to have emergency surgery, so the process took longer. Bauch also pointed out he had tried to meet with Ramirez before he went on vacation, and he had not been able to meet. Ramirez said he should have gotten his money back and Bauch said they could not return court fees. A discussion went around about the fees. Bauch said if he had provided the video to the village the process would have gone a lot faster. "We needed that video to verify the incident." Bauch acknowledged Ramirez did finally provide them with the video. Ramirez still wanted to know why it took three weeks and Bauch reminded him he would not provide the video. Ramirez continued his complaints about the village for a while. Caddel interjected in that they could reimburse the impound fees and court fees. Bauch said they could return the impound fees but not the court fees. Caddel persisted for a while about the court fees.

Resolutions none currently.

Proclamations none currently.

Ordinances none currently.

Public comments

Caddel wanted to know why they would be charging now to haul off weeds and branches from yard cleaning. Hudman said: "we still do it on clean up weeks. The village did do it for free but with the cost of fuel, labor, and misuse they had to stop the service." Caddel said Gila Wood Net would take it and use it for compost. Bauch pointed out that Bayard and Hurley have a fee. He said some of the residents took advantage of the free pick up by doing it all the time and many had trucks to haul it themselves. Hudman said the village must pay for that service and everything has been going up.

Hiring, raises, terminations, etc. none currently.

Next meetings

Second regular meeting for June will take place Thursday June 22, 2023, at 6:00 pm
First regular meeting in July will take place Thursday July 13, 2023.

Meeting Adjourned

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