Durango may hire organic consultant

Proposal is a compromise to get ballot initiative removed

The Durango City Council tonight will consider hiring a consultant for $36,000 to develop a program for organically treating city parks and minimizing the use of synthetic pesticides.

The staff proposal is a compromise to get the Organically Managed Parks Team Durango to withdraw its ballot initiative that would otherwise go before the voters in November.

City officials have criticized the group’s suggested ordinance as too ambiguous and impossible to implement while Mayor Doug Lyon has rejected the science behind the fears of synthetic pesticides.

City staff members have met with the organic group almost “daily” since the council voted down their proposed policy Aug. 21. According to staff reports, the city’s alternative would allow for training and for standards to be gradually implemented through time.

Katrina Blair, a member of organic group, said she was pleased to collaborate. She noted that a consultant named Chip Osborne from Massachusetts is a “leading expert in this field” and available to be hired this month.

But Mike Amato, a board member for the Hillcrest Golf Course who opposed the ballot initiative, said he understood that the consultant’s position would “be put out to bid because the guy they (organic group) wanted was too expensive.”

As for the compromise, Amato said, “I think this means a less radical, and more legitimate, reasonable result is likely. Is this a good compromise? I think it’s one of those (situations where) we’re going to have to wait and find out.”


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