The Town of Marana’s election season has officially arrived. Beginning last Thursday, the Pima County Recorder’s Office began to mail out ballots to approximately 20,000 registered voters in town.
The town’s first all-ballot-by-mail election will see six candidates running for four seats. Four incumbents are hoping for reelection, to include Patti Comerford, Carol McGorray, Herb Kai, and Jon Post, while newcomers Kent Crotts and David Morales are also competing for seats.
The issue of the town’s potential future in the wastewater business has been a key point of dissention between some of the incumbents and the newcomers, and will no doubt be an issue considered by residents as they submit their ballots.
Jon Post, one of the councilmembers currently assigned to a wastewater negotiation team, has been working rigorously with Pima County over the years to advocate for a town-owned wastewater facility. McGorray has also openly called for a town-owned facility, stating that it is a vital element when considering the town’s future annexations and growth.
Recently, Marana and Pima County reached a mutual agreement that would allow the town to buy the wastewater facility from the county for the outstanding debt, which is listed at $18.2 million.
However, before Marana can do so, voter approval will be needed this election season.
Morales has repeatedly voiced his displeasure with the wastewater battle, which has dragged on for the last few years, saying he doesn’t see the benefit in paying so much for a facility that serves so few Marana residents.
Crotts has also voiced his concern over the town having spent nearly $5.5 million in lawsuits in an attempt to acquire the facility.
Kai, who must abstain on votes relating to wastewater due to conflict of interest, openly expresses his interest in a town-owned facility on his website. Among other issues, Kai is also an advocate of keeping Marana a business-friendly community.
Comerford, like her fellow incumbents, has continually expressed interest in acquiring a wastewater facility, stressing the importance of the town managing its own assets.
According to Jocelyn Bronson, town clerk, there are about 20,000 registered voters in Marana. In recent years, there has generally been an 18-23 percent voter participation.
If any of the candidates receive 50 percent plus one vote in the March 12 primary election, he or she will automatically fill a council seat and will not need to run in the May 21 general election.
Voter registration for the primary election has already passed. On-site balloting for the primary election ends March 8.
Voter registration for the general election ends April 22. Initial mailing of ballots will occur on April 25, and on-site balloting ends on May 17.
Voters preferring to drop off their ballot in person can take it to Marana Town Hall or the Pima County Recorder’s Office.