The Marana Town Council has authorized the town staff to negotiate with Pima County on one of two options the county recently offered to settle their dispute over the purchase of the Rillito Vista Wastewater Reclamation Facility.
The Pima County Board of Supervisors had approved two possible settlement options with Marana. Settlement Option A would have Marana pay the county $18.2 million for the wastewater plant and the land around it. Pima County would then support operating permits for Marana to operate the plant, but would retain operational control of the sewer system for the rest of the town and unincorporated county areas.
Option B would have Pima County own and operate the plant, but would turn over the plant’s effluent to Marana. In both options, the legislature would have to repeal Arizona Senate Bill 1171, passed in 2011, that gave Marana the right to take over the wastewater facility from the county.
The Rillito Vista facility is located at 14393 W. Luckett Road, southeast of the Interstate 10 Tangerine Road interchange in Marana, and serves approximately 2,000 customers.
After a Thursday afternoon executive session last week, the Marana council also adopted an ordinance permitting a ballot measure March 12 to ask voters to authorize the town to acquire and operate the Rillito Vista plant. The new authorization is necessary, said Frank Cassidy, Marana’s town attorney, to allow the town the ability to run the wastewater system.
Gilbert Davidson, town manager, said the town council took the action because it is committed to Marana’s long-term future.
“The town looks forward to finalizing negotiations with Pima County,” he said.
Davidson noted he expected the Marana negotiating team would be able to get together with Pima County representatives within the next few weeks.
“We’ll be looking at the timing to see when it all can be finalized in terms of an agreement,” he said. “Both sides want to get this issue resolved.”
Davidson added that if a settlement agreement is reached by the two sides, there would be no need to continue with the outstanding lawsuit that challenges the constitutionality of the state law that allowed the takeover of the plant.