As the Town of Marana awaits word from the Arizona Supreme Court regarding its litigation case with Pima County over control of the Marana Wastewater Reclamation Facility, staff and council are taking necessary steps at the local level that could reduce the amount of time spent in court.
In a previous ruling by the Arizona Court of Appeals, a judge ruled that Marana’s 1988 ballot question asking voters to approve the Town’s involvement in the wastewater business was too vague, meaning should the Supreme Court not overturn the ruling, Marana would need to get voter approval in next year’s election before pursuing facility ownership.
Because of expected delays with the Supreme Court, and the fact Marana’s March elections are quickly approaching, staff and council have decided to preemptively place a revised wastewater question on the upcoming ballot.
“This was originally to be placed on a November ballot, but we have chosen to place it on the regular election ballot for March,” Town Attorney Frank Cassidy told council.
If voters choose to approve the measure, the necessity for the Supreme Court’s involvement with the issue would be negated.
Council voted 6-0 to approve the measure, with councilman Herb Kai abstaining due to a conflict of interest on the issue.
Also on last Tuesday’s agenda was staff’s recommendation for alterations to the Town’s Job Creation Incentive Program, which was originally initiated in 2010 to adhere to the Marana’s continuing economic development and Strategic Plan.
Under the program, companies that locate or expand in Marana are eligible to divert portions of the construction sales tax generated from their facilities to other initiatives that both lower their overall cost of construction and benefit the community. Currently, eligible companies must generate at least $52,000 in construction sales tax revenues. This equates to about a $2 million capital investment.
Companies must also create 25 jobs that pay at least $40,000 annually. The companies then request reimbursement of the construction sales tax dollars their projects generate to support employee relocation to homes purchased in Marana, beautification of the Interstate 10 corridor, and internship and training programs to high school or college students who reside in Marana.
The program, which expires on June 30, 2013, will now see some changes that could provide further incentive to locating companies.
Council voted unanimously to reduce the minimum construction sales tax revenue from $52,000 to $24,000, corresponding to a capital investment of one million dollars, while also reducing the number of permanent, non-construction career jobs of at least a $40,000 annual income from 25 to 10 employees. Staff is hopeful the reduction in limits will bring further economic development and commerce to the Town.