Wednesday, May 30, 2012

See you on the trails

As I do most weeks, I spent last Friday morning hiking one of Marana’s many trails. This time, it was the two-hour trek up Sombrero Peak, from the base to the ridge. For those of you who don’t know, Sombrero Peak is located right behind Continental Reserve.

It’s a nice hike that gets the blood flowing. You can go all the way to the top if you have the time. Either way, the views are impressive.

Marana is blessed to have several great hiking spots, many of which are in the Tortolita Mountains. My best advice for enjoying those trails is to get an early start, take plenty of water and avoid hiking alone. If you must go by yourself, make sure to take your cell phone in case you get into an emergency situation.

Heat won’t be a problem this Saturday when the Town teams with Oro Valley to hold a night hike in the Tortolitas. The 5-mile hike is held to celebrate National Trails Day and is free of charge. The hike starts at 7 p.m., so we ask that anyone who wants to come along meet in the Wild Burro Trailhead parking lot by 6:45. The trailhead is located on the grounds of the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain. I have made this hike many times and can guarantee anyone who comes along will have a fantastic time.

See you on the trails.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Remembering our heroes

Town offices will be closed Monday in observance of Memorial Day. This holiday is especially poignant as our nation continues its efforts to make the world a better place in which to live.

Many members of our armed forces throughout history made the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy. Their efforts are especially meaningful on Memorial Day and should be remembered and celebrated throughout the year. Our great country would not be what it is without the dedication of our military men and women. They are all heroes in my book.

As a veteran of our nation’s armed services, I ask that residents take time Monday to think about the selfless duties of our military members and their families. Please consider taking part in the national moment of remembrance Monday at 3 p.m. local time.

Our military ensures that America remains the land of the free and the home of the brave. Those who perished in the line of service deserve our utmost respect and deepest appreciation.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Budget sets course for improving times

No one enjoyed the recent recession that shook our nation to its core. Here in Marana, we used it as an opportunity to plan for better days ahead.

The result was a series of Town budgets that required the most careful of considerations. Town management and staff carefully analyzed every expense and our finance department was more conservative than usual in its revenue projections. Fortunately, we weathered the storm as well as could be expected and didn’t allow the financial slowdown to impact our core services.

All the while, management was laying the groundwork for better days by creating the Marana Economic Recovery Plan, which focuses on current employees, strategic positions and resources and tools. The recession wasn’t going to last forever and we needed a roadmap in place for when times turned around.

That day could finally be here. Using the economic recovery plan as a guide, our Town Council last week approved a more optimistic budget for FY2013. The general fund budget, which pays most of our expenses, is $31,131,272, up 3.7 percent from this fiscal year.

One important component of this budget is the fact that we are able to reward our hard-working employees. Most regular full- and part-time employees are receiving a 2 percent cost of living adjustment. In addition, anyone hired before last July 1 will get a one-time payment in December. The amount is based on a sliding scale depending on salary and length of service.

This budget is structurally balanced, with one-time revenues covering one-time expenses and ongoing revenues dedicated to ongoing expenses. That’s an important key to ensuring that we meet all our obligations in the coming year.

We are formally adopting the budget during a Council meeting June 19. TheTown Council and I are proud of the work performed by staff in crafting this fiscally sound budget. The Town is set up for a bright future for all who live and do business in Marana. It’s a great time to be here.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Marana's fired up about new training center

Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of attending Northwest Fire District’s Training Center Grand Opening. Guests were treated to a dynamic demonstration and guided tours of the center.

The $9 million facility has training and classroom space, including a residential building for fire and smoke. The interior has a long hallway as you would find in a hotel with doors on each side. The back of the building is set up like a two story apartment with balconies and windows that can be used for rescue training.

 Also on the grounds is a high-rise fire and rescue facility where firefighters learn to repel from four stories, and two classroom buildings. The center has railroad tanker cars and room for staging auto accidents.

 This facility is a great addition to Marana, and I’m proud that firefighters from across the region will have access to it to gain critical, life-saving skills.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Fun on the Fourth

Marana residents love coming together for special events, especially when we’re celebrating our great nation’s independence. Thanks to the involvement of several community partners, the Town is throwing another great party on July 4.

With generous assistance from Comcast and Quarry Pines Golf Club, Marana’s Star Spangled Spectacular will be attended by thousands at Arizona Pavilions. For the fourth consecutive year, Comcast is paying for the fireworks and the Quarry Pines is providing the location for the show as well as live music and numerous family activities. The event goes from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. with the fireworks at 9 p.m.

The Town will be showing a free movie, “Judy Moody and the Not Bummer Summer” at Crossroads at Silverbell Park just after sunset.

I look forward to seeing you at our Star Spangled Spectacular. The Town Council and I thank Comcast, the Quarry Pines Golf Club, Nana’s Kitchen, Native New Yorker and Wendy’s for all their support to make this event enjoyable for the entire community.

 Look for more information soon at, in local newspapers and in television spots sponsored by Comcast.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Chatting with our neighbors

This morning, I had the pleasure of speaking to the Greater Oro Valley Chamber Public Policy Committee. Marana and Oro Valley have a great relationship and share many common goals. At the meeting, I passed along information on our purchase of land that will become the Town’s Heritage Park, our structurally balanced budget and our updated Strategic Plan.

I also had the opportunity to talk about how Marana and Oro Valley share a vision for a vibrant Tangerine Corridor and are dedicated to providing quality recreational amenities for our residents and visitors. I appreciated having the opportunity to talk to this great group of people and hope to meet with them again soon.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

World returning to Marana in 2013

It’s official: The Accenture Match Play Championship is coming back to Marana in 2013.

When the event is held next Feb. 18-24, it will mark the seventh consecutive year the PGA TOUR has come to Marana. It’s a tremendous honor and one we take seriously.

Our police department, traffic engineering and operations and maintenance personnel will ensure that fans and players have an enjoyable and safe experience. The Town will continue partnering with local Accenture Match Play officials to promote the tournament to a worldwide audience through our popular web site and social media outlets.
The Town worked closely with The Gallery Golf Club the first two years the event was held here. For the past four years, the good people at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain Golf Club have been our partners. Both venues and their staffs are top-notch and have done their part to make the Accenture Match Play such a success.

We also hope the event makes Marana its long-term home. PGA TOUR Commissioner Tim Finchem said during tournament week this year that the event was committed to Southern Arizona through 2014. As the mayor and a member of this community, I hope that means we have Match Play in Marana for at least two more years.

We look forward to the 2013 tournament and another opportunity to show the world what a special place we have in Marana. This regional event proves that, when given the opportunity, individual communities can make Southern Arizona the kind of place that people want to visit and live. There’s no overestimating the value of having the Accenture Match Play in our backyard every year.