Law boosts Marana’s battle for wastewater rights - Tucson Local Media: Marana

Law boosts Marana’s battle for wastewater rights

Marana asks Pima County to follow new law, turn over services

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Posted: Wednesday, July 27, 2011 3:00 am

After Senate Bill 1171 became law on July 20, officials from the Town of Marana sent a letter to Pima County requesting the rights they feel they deserve to wastewater services and the associated infrastructure.

At the same time, a Pima County supervisor is questioning how easily the transition can occur.

In the July 20 letter hand-delivered to Lori Godoshian, clerk of the Pima County Board, Marana Town Manager Gilbert Davidson said that pursuant to the new law, the town is requesting that the County turn over operations by Jan. 3, 2012.

The letter refers to the wastewater reclamation facility located in the southeast quarter of Section 14, Township 11 South and Range 10 East.

The Town of Marana also requested that the County follow the law, and turn over all sewer pipes, pumps and other sewage collection infrastructure located within the town limits.

In April, Gov. Jan Brewer signed SB 1171 into state law. The law allows Marana to own the wastewater plant and all sewer collection infrastructure within town limits.

Along with 356 other bills signed into law by the governor, SB 1171 went into affect on July 20.

Davidson concluded the letter by saying, “The town will compensate Pima County for these facilities as provided by law upon receipt of Pima County’s auditable financial documentation.”

In a press release, Rodney Campbell, public information officer for the Town of Marana, said, “The town is seeking use of all its water resources in order to control costs, fully serve its residential and business communities and responsibly plan for its future.”

While the County has not officially responded to Davidson’s letter, District 1 Supervisor Ann Day, of the Pima County Board of Supervisors, said the issue is a lot more complicated than the Town of Marana makes it seem.

Day said she has requested that both sides sit down to discuss the issues since the dispute began in 2007 when the Town of Marana wanted to break an intergovernmental agreement signed with Pima County in 1979.

With discussions for a possible compromise breaking down, Day blames the personality clash between County Administrator Chuck Huckleberry and Marana Mayor Ed Honea.

“This will end in court,” she said. “It’s just going to make lawyers rich and cost taxpayers.”

With neither side willing to budge on the matter, the court battle could continue for years, with both sides filing numerous appeals of court rulings.

Day said county attorneys are currently working on filing a new appeal, but could not comment on details until the document is complete.

For both entities, control of water supplies and development is at the center of the debate.

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