The producers of Azul faced the implementation of a new rate for “Essential Services” that the mayor of Buenos Aires town, Nelsón Sombra, from Unión por la Patria, had created to tax agricultural producers. They filed an appeal for protection to suspend payment and consider the unconstitutionality of the tax. According to the producer and director of the Argentine Rural Society, Martin Salgado, they attempted to prevent the ordinance from being implemented by holding meetings with councilors and the incoming Mayor but were unsuccessful. The only way to stop it was to go to court. The mayor of Azulejo took office on December 10 and, along with the outgoing official, Hernán Bertellys, achieved approval in the Deliberative Council of a new rate that producers considered to be a significant tax.
The collective presentation that was made to Justice by the Rural Society of Azul was supported by 190 producers representing about 190,000 hectares of the district, covering 30% of the total area. Another group of producers initiated separate lawsuits to stop the tax. The fee initially began to be collected in January, but Salgado stated that only between 30% and 40% of the total that was expected to be collected has been received so far. According to Salgado, the fees for Essential Services were to cover costs such as health, education, sports, disability inclusion, culture, recreation, transportation, street decoration and signage services, and maintenance and conservation of other public spaces.
Sombra’s original project was for the rate to be the equivalent of one liter of diesel per month per hectare, and two liters of diesel per field. However, modifications were made under pressure from producers and citizens, with different rates being set depending on the property’s location and whether it was urban or rural. Producers and citizens who opposed the rate have filed lawsuits in response.