Gov. Jan Brewer signed Senate Bill 1171 into law Monday, paving the way for the Town of Marana to enter the wastewater business.

The bill will allow Marana to provide wastewater services to residents by allowing the town to assume ownership of a small wastewater treatment facility located just outside town boundaries. Marana is planning to construct additional facilities to provide improved service and greater capacity for new homes and businesses.

“This is a landmark day in Marana’s history,” said Mayor Ed Honea. “Owning our wastewater system will enable the town to aggressively pursue economic development opportunities that will benefit the region.”

Senator Frank Antenori, R-District 30, said, in March, Marana deserves an opportunity to operate and manage the public sewer utility within its boundaries so that it can stimulate economic development, bring important land use decisions under town control, and make the most beneficial use of all of its available water resources.

The bill requires Marana to assume all Pima County debt associated with public sewers and facilities that are transferred into its operation and control.

In a March editorial, Antenori said SB 1171 creates a spirit of competition in local government.

The bill was sponsored by Antenori along with senators Gail Griffin and Al Melvin and Representatives David Gowan, Peggy Judd, Terri Proud, David Stevens, Ted Vogt and Vic Williams.

The Town of Marana and Pima County signed an intergovernmental agreement in 1979 that gave the county permission to provide sewer service in Marana. The town exercised its legal right to end that contract in 2007.

The issue has been an ongoing court battle since 2008.

Reporter Thelma Grimes can be reached at 797-4384 or by email at tgrimes@explorernews.com.

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