On March 8, Marana voters will determine who will fill two open seats on the Marana Town Council. In last week’s paper, The Explorer ran responses to questions about issues impacting the town from three of the four council candidates: incumbents Russell Clanagan and Roxanne Ziegler, and newcomer David Bowen. This week, candidate Jeffrey Gray weighs in on the same issues regarding the Marana Regional Landfill and Marana’s wastewater.

In November, the Marana Town Council voted for a zoning change that would allow the commercial landfill on 480 acres of land newly annexed into the town limits. Gray feels the decision, while controversial, was necessary.

“The problem with trash is that everybody wants their trash taken away on its regularly scheduled day but nobody wants the facility where it goes to on their doorstep,” Gray said. “However, the reality of the situation is that Marana can no longer depend on Pima County to provide services to its residents.  In order for Marana to take control of its own future, it’s time to build this facility.”

Gray feels any questions regarding the project have been answered. He feels there has been no wrong-doing by Councilman Herb Kai, who owns part of a parcel where the landfill would be built.

“Herb Kai did not take part in any of the votes related to this matter.  Also, DKL Holdings has already completed hydrology, environmental, archeological, transportation and species studies alleviating concerns on these issues,” Gray said.

The candidate would like to see a portion of the new landfill’s dump fees directed toward Marana’s infrastructure improvements and public safety.

Regarding the question whether Pima County relinquish control of the wastewater treatment services to Marana, Gray feels the battle over wastewater in Marana is a “battle over growth, who controls it and were it goes. 

“Marana has gone from negotiation to litigation and finally legislation.  SB1171 would allow Marana to take over control of a wastewater plant that only serves its residents.  The bill would also require Marana to pay any associated debt related to the treatment facility, which would relieve Pima county ratepayers of any additional costs,” Gray said.

The candidate believes Marana’s owning its own wastewater plant would allow it to be more competitive in bringing companies as well as jobs to the area. In addition, he feels access to wastewater would allow Marana to recharge water and keep potable water rates down.

“Nearly every other town in Arizona treats its own wastewater and has control over the effluent often used for recharge. This allows those cities and towns the ability to determine their own futures, which is all Marana is asking for,” he said.

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