top of page
  • Writer's pictureTortolita Alliance

Marana Retreat Newsbeat

The Marana Town Council held its annual retreat (2/14-16/2024) in Chandler, AZ---75 miles away from the citizens of Marana!!

There is no video of the meeting so TA has obtained the Summary Minutes and PowerPoint presentations from this get-together so that TA members and others can review what was presented and discussed.

The Summary Minutes and PowerPoint presentations were obtained from the Town of Marana via two Public Records Requests (PRRs) on 4/8/24 and 4/9/24, respectively. These documents are available for download at the links below.


TA has reviewed the Summary Minutes and PowerPoint presentations and pleased to report that the Tortolita Preserve and surrounding lands are not adversely impacted by the activities presented. However, there is some very interesting information gleaned which is summarized below.

Of major concern to all Marana residents is the number of extensive capital projects and the tremendous capital and operation/maintenance costs associated with Marana's unprecedented growth.

The following is a synopsis of these documents:

  • Progress Update (Town Manager)-The Summary Minutes indicate that Marana met with Robyn Sahid-Commissioner of the Arizona State Land Department (ASLD). This is very interesting as we know that ASLD owns 43% of the land in Marana including the Tortolita Preserve (Marana has a 99-Year lease). TA has filed a PRR to get more information regarding this meeting. In the meantime, here are the redacted minutes regarding this topic: "Regarding the completed action item of meeting with State Land Commissioner Robyn Sahid, Mr. Rozema said it was clear that the State Land Department is interested in Marana and that they have some ideas for staying away from the Preserve, washes, etc. Council Member Ziegler asked if renegotiating the lease with the State Land Department was discussed, and Mr. Rozema said those discussions have not taken place yet and that the discussions are preliminary at this point. Mayor Honea said this was the first time a State Land Commissioner has come to Marana and wanted to meet with Town representatives and was encouraged that the Department was making the effort. Council Member Ziegler expressed concern and said it might be worth discussing whether the Town should be engaging with State Land at all. Mr. Rozema highlighted that the parties are in the very early stages of negotiations."  

  • Development-the vast majority of new development occurs in North Marana (south and west of CAP canal).  Only a fraction of the North Marana developments are now ready to go.  The Summary Minutes also cover a topic about potential industrial development in North Marana.  Seems like developers are seeing a saturation of single-family and now want to turn some of the land into industrial.  Also, see discussion of whether Marana should be bedroom community or combo-bedroom & business community.

  • Transportation-one map does show future potential extensions of Dove Mountain Blvd and future potential roadways around TP to the west and south but this comports with the Make Marana General Plan. However, these future potential roads are not planned nor budgeted and fraught with Tortolita Fan environmental and stormwater issues. Interesting to note that a Pygmy Owl survey is required for the Tangerine Road 2A (DMB to I-10) project, now that it a threatened species. The number of I-10 Interchange Improvements (Marana Road, Moore Road, Tangerine Road and Cortaro Road) are discussed and associated logistics and costs are staggering.

  • Wastewater-one map shows a wastewater capture area covering a portion of TP.  It appears to be merely a drainage area based on elevation but TA will ask that this be changed.  Expansion of the Marana Water Reclamation Facility (Wastewater) will be required to deal with all the growth.

  • Water Treatment-as predicted, Marana Water will be required to treat many more wells due PFAS chemical contamination of the aquifer. More groundwater pumping will draw in more contaminated groundwater. Total cost is estimated at $57 million!

  • Water Supply-As pointed out in TA's Marana DAWS Objections, Marana Water has little reliable & renewal sources of supply and must rely on CAGRD to replenish the aquifer.  Marana Water is proposing two potential projects to improve this.  Santa Cruz River Effluent (withdrawal of Santa Cruz River water which is sourced from various upstream wastewater treatment plant discharges).  Seems like this is contrary to the goal of improving conditions in the Santa Cruz River? The second project is a deal with Cortaro-Marana Irrigation District (CMID) to lease/purchase excess water rights.

  • Stormwater (Drainage)-two large channels are planned to direct stormwater from the Tortolita Fan to the Santa Cruz River to protect the lower portions of Marana. The proposed Barnett Channel ($30 million) parallels Barnett Road and the proposed Marana Road Channel ($13 million) parallels Marana Road. Discussion included capital funding and operation and maintenance of existing and proposed stormwater facilities.

  • Parks & Recreation-recent completion of Moore Road Trailhead and Western Fence is presented as completed projects. TA has developed and presented to Marana Parks & Recreation (MPR) future TP trail and infrastructure projects. More to come on that in a future blog. Several community parks are proposed to be upgraded. Several projects proposed for El Rio Preserve. The Community & Aquatic Center is under construction. Discussion regarding whether developers or Town should be responsible for designing and building large community parks.

  • Facilities Master Plan-this planning project is underway with the following facilities proposed; (1) remodel Municipal Complex, (2) relocate Operations Complex and build new Public Works Center, (3) build new Water Operations Field Office, (4) build new Wastewater office and laboratory and (5) new Police Substation. Yikes!

  • Employee Retention-several employee benefit changes are proposed to help retain employees including; (1) parental leave time off, (2) shift pay increase, (3) on call pay differential increase and (4) comp leave.

  • Finances-FY25 preliminary budget:

    • Revenues-$79 million (+9.3 million)(+13%)--primarily from increase in Sales Tax revenue.

    • Expenditures-budget not presented but did include some high ticket items that are coming including; (1) Community Center-$3 million operating costs and salary adjustments-$2.5 million.

  • Finances-Debt & Reserve Fund

    • $114.5 million-total debt

    • $42.7 million-pension liability

    • Marana has highest debt/capita ($1,873) than Tucson ($1,166), Oro Valley ($1,291) & Sahuarita ($1,588)

    • Reserve Fund-$80 million but not clear how much of this fund is useable or just for emergencies.


The Summary Minutes and PowerPoint presentations are provided below for those that want to explore more.

Summary Minutes
Download PDF • 5.24MB

Progress Update from FY23
Download PDF • 425KB


N Marana Development
Download PDF • 8.31MB

Transportation Planning
Download PDF • 5.10MB

Water & Wastewater
Download PDF • 6.34MB

Download PDF • 6.40MB

Parks and Rec Master Plan Update
Download PDF • 24.55MB

Facilities Master Plan
Download PDF • 1.36MB

Employee Retention
Download PDF • 580KB

Preliminary Financial Outlook
Download PDF • 1.97MB


bottom of page