Blog Posts Tagged ‘southern-arizona’

Patagonia Town Hall

The town hall for the Town of Patagonia is actually the former railroad station! The railroad served in the Town of Patagonia until it was abandoned in 1962. The railroad was abandoned and the rails removed, but the building remained in-tact. Spearheaded by the efforts of the Rotary Club, the railroad right-of-way was conveyed to the town where it serves as a park running through the middle of the town. The station was moved from its original site adjacent to the present location and then connected to the town hall.

The New Mexico and Arizona Railroad connected the southern Arizona area to Mexico with the Benson-to-Nogales Railway and passed through Patagonia. Eventually a direct rail line that extended from Tucson to Nogales, Sonora, in addition to a decline in mining activity and population in the area, led to the abandonment of the rail line. The station grounds were donated to the town and made into a town park. The depot was originally sold to a local businessman and the town eventually purchased the building that now serves as the town hall.

Rainwater Harvesting in Tucson

Below is an excerpt from Tucson  Councilmember Paul Cunningham’s newsletter about rainwater harvesting in Tucson:

July 14, 2017:

As a native Tucsonan, the monsoon season is my favorite time of year. There is nothing more magical than rain in the desert, with the drop in temperature, the smell of creosote, and the flowing arroyos. Most people I know in Tucson make it through the oven like heat of June with hopes of a good monsoon season.

Well, our hopes, prayers and good thoughts have been rewarded. Here at the Ward 2 office we have received well over 2 inches this past week and for a variety of reasons, this is good news. As I’ve mentioned before, we make extensive use of rainwater harvesting. The rain that hits the asphalt runs off to water our Palo Verde trees that shade the west side of our parking lot while the rest of our landscaping is watered by harvested rainwater that flows into basins and collects in our cistern from the roof. Given the area of our building, we have collected over 2000 gallons of water that is now saved in our cistern and ready to irrigate when needed.

Monsoon season is a good time to talk about water harvesting and how we can encourage more Tucsonans to utilize this ancient and basic technology in our neighborhoods. Rainwater harvesting made human settlement possible in Southern Arizona 3,500 years ago. The Hohokam Indians captured rainwater with rock dams and built sizable storage tanks. The Tohono O’Odham still store rainwater in earthen tanks for cattle. Here in Tucson, any chance we can use rainwater instead of potable water, we make an investment in our future.

To that end, the Mayor and Council recently directed staff to institute a program using water conservation funds to provide grants to neighborhoods and community groups in the City of Tucson. These funds are available to facilitate the installation of storm water harvesting features in their neighborhoods. The aim of these grants is to provide neighborhoods with appropriate resources to plan and implement neighborhood scale storm water harvesting projects in publicly owned areas or a homeowner association’s common area such as a right-of-way, park or other open space

Taking storm water off our streets is a good thing. Runoff causes potholes and, more importantly, causes flooding, property damage and potential loss of life. Putting that water to beneficial use is even better. One of those uses is to increase our tree canopy. By planting more trees and shading the asphalt and concrete we reduce the heat island effect (therefore reducing temperatures,). Additionally, trees absorb CO2 (helping to improve air quality and mitigate climate change) tree lined streets help calm traffic, provide habitat for birds and lizards, improve aesthetics while increasing property values.

Read the councilmember’s full article here:

Profiles of Arizona Municipal Clerks: Brenda Aguilar, City of Douglas

Brenda Aguilar, Douglas

Brenda Aguilar, CMC
City of Douglas

How many years have you served as a clerk? 27 years with the city and the last 10 years serving as city clerk.

Where are you originally from?  Mexico

What is the strangest/most unique task you have had to perform as part of your duties?  The strangest task has been that in response to a challenge: I played kickball against elementary students and had a great time doing so!

What is the most rewarding part of your job?  One of the most difficult, but rewarding responsibilities of this job is directing and coordinating the elections for the City of Douglas in order to ensure a fair, accurate and convenient voting experience for its citizens.

City of Sierra Vista Wins Back-to-Back Awards

Good Neighbor Alliance recently recognized its longstanding partnership with the City of Sierra Vista in serving the local homeless population by honoring the city with this year’s Good Neighbor Award.

Through the allocation of Community Development Block Grant dollars, the City of Sierra Vista helped Good Neighbor Alliance get on its feet back in 2003 and has funded significant improvements since then. These include a CDBG funded infrastructure project to change access to the facility last year, which improved safety for families and children served by the shelter.

The city’s support extends beyond allocating grant dollars for projects, though the shelter covers its own operating costs. In March, Good Neighbor Alliance celebrated the completion of a new laundry room, including a new washer and dryer that were purchased through donations raised by the Sierra Vista Police Department and Sierra Vista Fire & Medical Services. The city also waived fees associated with the addition.

“The city and Good Neighbor Alliance partner on all things homeless and we wanted to acknowledge the city’s invaluable support over the years,” says Kathy Calabrese, executive director of Good Neighbor Alliance. The shelter established the Good Neighbor Award last year and the city is the second recipient.

“Good Neighbor Alliance, along with the Fry Task Force, kickstarted the redevelopment of the Fry area,” Sierra Vista Mayor Rick Mueller says. ”Good Neighbor Alliance, partnering with the City, county, and the Industrial Development Authority, is not only responsible for helping our homeless neighbors in need, but has transformed Fry and North Seventh Street. Our citizens should be justifiably proud of this effort.”

The City was also recognized by the Association of Defense Communities to receive this year’s Community Excellence Award in recognition of its outstanding support and partnership with Fort Huachuca.

“It is an honor to see the longstanding and ongoing collaboration between the City of Sierra and Fort Huachuca recognized on the national stage,” Sierra Vista Mayor Rick Mueller says. “This close relationship has resulted in innovative partnerships at the airport, in our library, with other municipal services, and in efforts to conserve and recharge our local water supply. The fort remains an integral part of our community.”

Find out more about the City of Sierra Vista and all the great things they’re accomplishing! 

Jenny Howard

Utilities Director
City of Safford


The City of Safford, settled at the base of Mount Graham in rural southeastern Arizona, is a very unique municipality.  Safford is the sole owner of all utilities; water, wastewater, gas and electric. Jenny Howard has have been employed with the City of Safford for 11 years.  In the spring of 2015 she accepted the position of utility director, managing all Safford utilities as well as wastewater treatment, landfill and solid waste services.

With a 23-year background in electric infrastructure projects in western and central a US and 12 years in project management and controls, she feels right at home in the industry.  Howard came to the City of Safford in 2004 from POWER Engineers, a world- renowned electrical engineering firm based in Idaho. She relocated temporarily to Safford from Sun Valley, Idaho for a job assignment in construction management on a large high voltage transmission line and substation project for Phelps Dodge Mining (Now Freeport McMorran).

Well, during her tenure with Phelps Dodge, she met and fell in love with a cotton farmer and they were married in 2004.

“It’s kind of funny that happened,” says Howard. “The first agricultural crop I saw when driving to Safford was a cotton field and I laughed out loud asking myself, ‘They grow cotton in Arizona?'”

After her contract was complete at the mine, she was hired by the City of Safford in procurement. Once on board with Safford she continued to develop knowledge in infrastructure operations and regulations in the wastewater, water and gas industries while attending the college of business at Eastern Arizona College.  In 2007 she moved to a project management position and in 2015 became utility director. Howard loves the diversity of managing the utilities.  As with all utilities, the challenges of replacing aging infrastructure, planning expansion with new development, and keeping the lights on and water flowing, means a well-managed maintenance program and a very detailed and well planned 5-year CIP.  That is a challenge in itself (x 6).  The city water infrastructure consists of 8,000 services and 250 miles of water pipe and serves not only the City of Safford but also the surrounding communities and unincorporated areas of Graham County.  Safford also serves 4,000 electric and 3,500 gas, sewer and solid waste customers within the Safford city limits, as well as owns and operates the landfill which serves all Graham County population of 30,000.

Along with the daily challenges of providing multiple utility services to our customers, Howard loves Safford’s diverse community and the networking associated with the director position.

“Getting involved in community outreach and working alongside such a great team of Managers and employees is certainly an attribute to the overall success of the Utility Department.  I couldn’t ask for a better team.”

Doug Graeme

Queen Mine Tour Manager
City of Bisbee

Douglas Graeme

People find their careers and their passions through a variety of different ways. For Douglas Graeme, he was born into it.

Doug Graeme’s storied history with the city began in 1883 with the arrival of his great grandfather, who came into town looking for work. Over the next several decades, he settled and raised a family in this town, growing a passion for its history.

Doug was born years later in Bisbee and took his cues from generations past, as he spend much of his free time exploring, collecting artifacts and learning about his city’s history.

Together, with his siblings, Richard W. Graeme IV and Emily Grame Larkin, Doug helped write a book about Bisbee’s history. Inspired by the past of their own family members, the siblings took to paper to share tales about copper mining, natural disasters, and the people who came to settle and grow the popular southern Arizona community.

Bisbee is an old mining city in southern Arizona, rich in history and culture. Their account of the city’s past incorporates the geological significance of finding copper ores, the major influences of Native America culture, presence of early culture like opera houses, rodeos and saloons, and the tragedies that occurred during the early days of mining camp.

In addition to sharing Bisbee’s history through the written word, Doug serves as the Queen Mine Tour Operator for the City of Bisbee. Approximately 50,000 people a year visit the Queen Mining Tour to commemorate Bisbee’s prosperous mining heritage and experience what it was like working underground.

A.C. Marriotti

Finance Director
City of Sahuarita


Born in Tacoma, Washington and having grown up in a military family, A.C. Marriotti settled in Tucson where he attended Palo Verde High School and the University of Arizona, earning bachelor’s degrees in accounting and finance. Marriotti has served as the Town of Sahuarita’s finance director for nearly 12 years. He was recently awarded the town’s first Manager’s Choice Award in 2015. His finance department has received national recognition for excellence in financial reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association many times throughout the years for the town’s budget publications and Comprehensive Annual Financial Reports.

In addition to the normal duties expected of any financial officer, Marriotti oversees the Finance and Investment Advisory Committee, as well as the town’s IT department. “I really enjoy the variety in my job and learning new things,” Marriotti said.

Known as a team player by his workmates and colleagues, he’s always willing to take on new challenges. Just this year, Marriotti’s department took over waste water utility billing services for the town. This role was taken on suddenly when the private company responsible for billing discontinued their service. Under Marriotti’s leadership, billing cycles were brought up to speed and services were streamlined, including better online payment options, real-time tracking and additional staffing to allow for better customer service. Marriotti has also served on the Pima County Bond Advisory Committee and actively volunteers in his community.

Marriotti’s strength of character shines through in his personal life. He and his wife are licensed foster care providers and advocates for children in need of homes, families and positive learning environments. “There are a variety of ways that we can help kids in need of foster care, and anyone can participate,” Marriotti said. “Donations to foster care agencies help tremendously, and the need in Arizona is great.”


Asia Philbin

Water Resources Coordinator
Town of Marana


No matter who we are, what continent we live on, or our circumstances, the need for water is one common thread we all share.

Perhaps that’s why Asia Philbin was drawn to the field of water.

Having been the child of a father in the Navy, Asia was born in Naples, Italy and traveled Italy, Spain, France and the UK with her parents as an infant. While her primitive years aren’t ingrained in memory, Asia certainly believes her early-aged treks led to a love of travel she still carries with her.

Following her beginnings in Europe, Asia grew up in northeastern and central Pennsylvania in Scranton and State College. Both of her parents also grew up in Scranton. She went on to attend the University of Miami, Coral Gables in Florida to earn a bachelor’s degree in science, marine science and geology.


For more than a decade, Asia worked with the City of Tucson as a hydrologist. Most recently, she joined the team at the Town of Marana where she works as the Water Resource Coordinator. In her capacity, she deals with water resources, water and wastewater system assets, and energy management. She is also coordinating the design and construction of a facility to recharge the treated effluent from the wastewater treatment plant. The project is helping provide water resources for the growth planned by the town. She believes it is a great opportunity to create a multi-benefit project that incorporates public amenities and natural enhancements for wildlife.

She also believes in bringing water to people throughout the world.

While in graduate school at the University of Arizona, she heard a presentation from the Water for People Committee of Arizona. At the time, she learned, two billion people lacked access to safe drinking water – Asia was inspired to join their volunteer group.

When she began working with the City of Tucson, Asia soon learned that her director and many coworkers also volunteered with Water for People. As public servants whose roles involved bringing safe water and sanitation and human health to their communities, they viewed working with the organization as a natural extension of their day job.

At Tucson Water, she helped form a subcommittee that would focus on events to connect people in the water industry while raising much-needed funding for projects. Their events now include two golf tournaments, the Run for World Water (Phoenix-area), Team Pedal With Purpose at El Tour de Tucson, and a newly added wine tasting.

Because of help from individuals like Asia, over the past decade, Water for People has helped reduce the number of people without access to safe drinking water. The number is still a staggering 1.8 billion people and the organization is committed to helping four million more gain access to safe water and adequate sanitation.

Working with the Town of Marana for the last 18 months, Asia has come to enjoy the positive work environment the town provides, the coworkers and the multi-benefit projects.

“It’s important to me to enjoy working with people I see every day, and also to be supporting a larger vision for the town and the community,” said Asia.

She certainly has a large vision for the world’s community and is making a lasting impact by helping bring water to the citizens of Marana, Arizona and people around the world.

Steve Moore

City Attorney
City of Yuma

Steve Moore grew up in Hayden, Arizona.  After graduating from the University of Arizona Law school he hitchhiked around the world for almost three years.  During that time he visited 36 countries and had various jobs, including working in three Olympics, a movie in Holland (“A Bridge Too Far”) and a brewery in Western Australia.

He served as the assistant city attorney in the City of Yuma for about two and a half years before going into private practice.  He then became the city attorney in 1986 and has been the city attorney for the City of Yuma for 29 years.  Moores responsibilities include both civil and criminal (prosecutor’s office ).  In Yuma, the risk management department is also part of his responsibilities.  During Moores tenure, hes worked for eight mayors and eight city administrators (including interims).  The City of Yuma has grown from approximately 60,000 people to almost 100,000 people while hes been in office.

Moore says he has been fortunate to have been elected to the Yuma County Bar Association, twice as president of the Arizona City Attorneys Association and president of the International Municipal Lawyers Association (IMLA), which is comprised of the city attorneys of the United States and Canada. He was also only the second president of IMLA from the state of Arizona and the first in 30 years.

In general city attorneys have a position similar to a corporation counsel for a large corporation.  In Arizona a municipal corporation handles contracts, claims, demands, law suits, legal advice, human resource issues, personnel issues, bond financing issues, purchasing regulations, etc.  The only difference is particular types of municipal corporations have public safety personnel and issues that are usually not present in other large corporations.

One of Moores proudest accomplishments in this position is being part of a small group of individuals that was responsible for increasing the net water resources available to the City of Yuma from the Colorado River by approximately 80%.  He thinks all city attorneys are rewarded in practicing through the diversity of issues in their jobs.

“About the time I think Ive seen it all, something unique comes through the door,” Moore says. “When I took the city attorneys job, I said I would quit if it got boring.  Twenty nine years later its still not boring. “

Culture and Connection in Downtown Nogales

Skyline view of Downtown Nogales.  Photo from the City of Nogales

Skyline view of Downtown Nogales. Photo from the City of Nogales

At the southern point of Arizona, just a stone’s throw from Mexico, the City of Nogales is a center of culture and connection. Downtown Nogales is filled with historic architecture, unique local stores and restaurants, and picturesque views.

Morley Avenue is home to classic boutique department stores and local shops, serving as the nucleus of the Nogales Downtown. Owners of the shops hail from all over the world, each with a unique story and collection of goods. Avenida Obregon is a peek at another world of shopping – small shops, vendors, restaurants and clubs give this area character of “Old Mexico” and many annual festivals are held right here.

Nogales City Hall serves as the political center of the city. Photo from City of Nogales.

Nogales City Hall serves as the political center of the city. Photo from City of Nogales.

The park in front of City Hall boasts the Santa Cruz County Wall of Honor, a splash pad for children, and an LED fountain. Photo from City of Nogales.

The park in front of City Hall boasts the Santa Cruz County Wall of Honor, a splash pad for children, and an LED fountain. Photo from City of Nogales.

Visitors will also experience history and architecture, with the Historic 1904 Courthouse and Old City Hall and Pesqueria and Ochoa Plazas offer areas of activity, arts and culture for visitors and residents alike.

Historic 1904 Courthouse, an architectural masterpiece that houses a gorgeous period courtroom.  Photo from the City of Nogales.

Historic 1904 Courthouse, an architectural masterpiece that houses a gorgeous period courtroom. Photo from the City of Nogales.