Our tax base is Sales Tax. Therefore, I believe we need to attract retail and commercial development to grow that base. There are creative mechanisms to attract commercial/industrial development that should be investigated and tried in Marana, such as relentless pursuit of and innovative use of matching grants, mixed residential/retail zoning, and walkable car-free zones.
Marana has grown so rapidly I feel we are beginning to lose our unique character, which relies on open space, beautiful desert, outdoor recreation and mixed development. We need to ensure the Marana of the future is as beautiful and unique as the Marana of today. Let’s slow down and do it right. Housing developments should have large buffers of natural desert open space both around and within them. There should be parks within walking distance of all housing. We don’t want to be just another suburb of Tucson.
We have a rich diversity of wildlife in Marana, both because natural vegetation still exists in large, undisturbed areas and because they still have wide corridors to travel between the Catalina, Tortolita and Tucson mountains. I believe we need to ensure that wildlife habitat is given serious consideration in any development or road construction decision.
We would be extracting more from our aquifer than is naturally replenished if not for the input of Colorado River water through the CAP (Central Arizona Project). If you have been following water issues, you know that the federal government has cut Arizona’s CAP allocation this year and it is highly likely we will face much more severe cuts in the near future. Also, a portion of the aquifer serving Marana is polluted with industrial toxins and requires installation of water treatment facilities.
I feel strongly that Marana needs to create a full Water Management Plan to establish realistic water demand projections, source of supply/availability/sustainability, groundwater quality evaluation, water conservation programs and more. Marana should be very cautious about any further growth until the plan is compete and the Town knows its true water situation.
We expect the Council and Town staff to be careful stewards of our hard-earned tax dollars. Expenditures should be truly necessary, within a planned budget and support current residents. In addition, since housing costs the Town more in services than it will ever collect in additional taxes, Marana’s budget should explain how over the long term, the Town can compensate for the loss of the short-term development fees now used to provide services and maintain existing infrastructure. I believe the Town's accounting should also accurately recognize current and future liabilities associated with developer agreements.
The Council has considered raising the sales tax to put in infrastructure to attract further development. I feel that Marana needs to implement a clear policy that states all costs associated with the construction of infrastructure to serve new residents/customers should not be borne by existing residents.