The Town of Marana is seeking to manage its own sewer system. The town’s leadership believes we can better manage all our water resources for the benefit of the Marana community, our water customers and the environment. All across Arizona, cities and towns operate sewer systems, except in Pima County, where it is controlled by the county.
Pima County has yet again chosen to ignore the law in furtherance of its senseless and costly crusade to keep Marana from operating its own wastewater treatment facility. In its latest display of political gamesmanship, Pima County filed another lawsuit against Marana, seeking to invalidate a law passed by the Arizona State Legislature – a law that protects the rights of cities and towns in Pima County.
Throughout this battle, Pima County Administrator Chuck Huckelberry has never been able to articulate an answer to this simple question: Why not let Marana manage its own assets?
Of course, Huckelberry wants us to believe that he has efficiently managed the Pima County sewer system. It sure smells like it along Interstate 10 near Prince Road. This terrible smell has plagued our region for years and is an embarrassment. Residents are negatively affected by the smell and it definitely impacts the image visitors and tourists have of our region.
Huckelberry is facing federal mandates to bring Pima County sewer plants into compliance under the Clean Water Act. He is issuing hundreds of millions of dollars in bonds to fix these deficiencies, thus causing an accelerated increase in consumers’ monthly sewer bills. Questions should be asked and truthful answers given about the financial condition of the county’s regional wastewater system.
For too long, Huckelberry has had a stranglehold on this region. His disrespect of our community and this region hurts our ability to be successful. He wants us to believe that his policies and directives are good for us. They are not. Pima County has real problems to deal with, such as fixing roads, cleaning up around the county, and working with, not against, cities and towns to attract good jobs.
Rather than spending quality time and resources fixing real problems, Huckelberry writes memos trying to tell others what to do and how to do it. We need a collaborative visionary leader at the county more than ever.
Marana’s mayor, council and staff are working hard to make this community a great place to live and do business. We believe in our community and strive to do the right thing for the right reasons. In spite of Huckelberry’s many efforts to punish and retaliate against Marana and its citizens, we have never lost our spirit.
No doubt Huckelberry will soon offer an opinion to the media in response to this message. It’s his way of obsessively having to respond to anyone who dares question his self-proclaimed authority. As Huckelberry once wrote in a memorandum to Marana, “Facts and circumstances change.”
The one fact that cannot change is that Marana wants to be a shining community that represents the best in local government. We want to solve problems, serve our community and be a positive example of good government. Why can’t the county do the same?
Patti Comerford is vice mayor of Marana.