Supervisors, Marana to end longstanding wastewater disputeby Pima County News on Apr. 10, 2013, under Board of Supervisors, Economic Development, Pima County, Regional Wastewater Reclamation Department, Southern Arizona, Tucson
The Town of Marana will run its own sewer plant under a final settlement approved by the Pima County Board of Supervisors that will end a years-long conflict over wastewater.
The dispute has lingered since 2007, featuring an unsuccessful annexation attempt of the plant by Marana, as well as the passage of a state law allowing the transfer of the facility to the Town for just the cost of the outstanding debt,
The County extended settlement offers in December 2012, which hinged on Town voters agreeing that they wanted to be in the wastewater business. Voters provided that OK in March.
The settlement, which sets a purchase price of $18.2 million for the plant, also required the repeal of the state laws allowing Marana to take possession of the plant without paying full price. The laws were successfully repealed earlier this legislative session.
Under the agreement, Marana will operate the plant to serve areas in north Marana, while Pima County retains control and operation of the sewer system for the remainder of the town and surrounding unincorporated areas. The County will support the Town’s efforts to get beneficial use for as much effluent as possible that is discharged from the plant, minus certain requirements such as for tribal water rights settlements and conservation purposes.
Although Supervisor Richard Elías expressed concern that the agreement is a step away from regionalism, Supervisors Sharon Bronson and Ally Miller said they welcomed a stronger relationship in the future with Marana. Supervisor Ray Carroll agreed. “It brings local control to Marana. That’s what they wanted and they’re willing to pay for it. I do believe they should be careful what they wish for, but they have it now and I wish them all the success in the world,” Carroll said.
Marana Town Council member Roxanne Ziegler told Board members she will be thrilled not to have to go into more executive sessions to talk about wastewater. “It’s been a long haul. We’re five years into it…and we’ve had a lot of ups and downs and peaks and valleys,” she said, thanking the Board for its patience over the years.
Her Council colleague Dave Bowen echoed her sentiments. “We look forward to a great and amicable relationship in the years ahead,” he said, adding that he anticipates working together to complete projects that will be good for the citizens of Marana andPimaCounty.
Supervisor Bronson thanked the Town for entering into constructive dialogue with the County in recent months. “We’re looking forward to moving on to better things,” she said.
The Marana Town Council is expected to take up the issue at its study session this evening.
To read the settlement agreement in its entirety, please visit http://www.pima.gov/cob/e-agenda/04092013/ADDExecSessC_TownofMaranaSettlement.pdf