Marana has agreed to continue paying Pima County for animal control services within town borders for the next two years.

But the town is considering options, among them the possibility of working with other municipal governments to collaborate on the control of dogs, cats and other creatures, Manager Gilbert Davidson told the town council on Oct. 5.

"We would like more time to really understand how this system is working," Davidson said. "We want to talk with our sister city jurisdictions, and maybe find another long-term solution."

Marana has had an intergovernmental agreement for animal control services with Pima County for "a number of years," deputy town attorney Jane Fairall said. The most recent accord expired June 30.

Fairall said Marana has experienced "a significant increase in costs, and what the county has billed us, the last couple years."

When the bill increased from $6,800 in fiscal 2007-'08 to $27,478 in fiscal 2008-'09, Marana "stood up and took notice." When Marana received its $41,147 bill for services rendered in fiscal 2008-'09, "we asked the county to look at it," Fairall said. The county conducted its own audit, and reduced the bill to $36,590.61. Why? Among the reasons, "a number of calls for service outside the town limits, we were being billed for," Fairall said. When the town requested data to support the amount, a further reduction was put in place, and the town's ultimate charge was $27,478.16.

Then, on Sept. 7, the town's bill from the county for fiscal 2009-'10 was $48,576.

In the new agreement, "we've asked for additional information," bringing "more transparency to the process," Fairall said. Pima County has agreed to the requests. Among them are quarterly reports to the town about animal control activity within Marana, clarification of the town's expenses as a simple ratio of the county's total animal control service, and no responsibility for the town to pay for outreach and education events put on by the county in Marana "unless those events are specifically requested by and held for the town."

"We hope this will give us a little bit better idea of what we're being billed for," Fairall said.

Councilman Jon Post figures he's already paying for animal control through the property taxes assessed by Pima County.

"Why are we paying it at all?" asked Post, upset by an increase in county property taxes on his home. "I pay them personally on my taxes to come out and catch dogs. Isn't that their job? I'm sick of doing this. I don't want to pay for this twice."

"It's a point well-taken," said Fairall.

Fairall's work was praised by council members. "No blank check," Councilwoman Patti Comerford said.

While "I don't mind the county doing it," Councilwoman Roxanne Ziegler said. "we might want to get into, on a smaller scale, the animal control business."

The new agreement is effective retroactively, from July 1, 2010 through June 30, 2012.

Marana's animal control expenses, paid to Pima County, since fiscal 2005-'06:

'05-'06 - $28,241.34

'06-'07 - $6,524 credit

'07-'08 - $6,832.22

'08-'09 - $27,478.16

Ribbon cut Nov. 18 for Twin Peaks road projects

A ribbon-cutting event on the new Twin Peaks interchange / Camino de Manana road projects has been scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 18, Town Manager Gilbert Davidson told the Marana Town Council last week.

The event is at 3 p.m. that Thursday.

Twin Peaks Interchange is nearing completion across I-10 at Continental Ranch on the west side, Linda Vista Boulevard on the east. The new Camino de Manana roadway, dubbed Twin Peaks Road in the Marana portion of its path, extends north to an intersection with Dove Mountain Boulevard at Tangerine Road.

"It will be a great new linkage in our community," Davidson said.

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