Sahuarita is a "young, ambitious community" with many opportunities, said Mayor Duane Blumberg.

Its big challenge is planning for growth.

"Who would have thought," Blumberg said, that the town would grow from about 3,000 residents at the turn of the century to about 26,000 today.

The mayor, who is running for re-election, gave a 40-minute state-of-the-town speech Tuesday.

He said the town's priorities are safety, streets and parks. Some highlights from Blumberg's presentation include:

• The town should explore annexing state trust property between South Country Club and Wilmot roads, east of the town's boundary.

• The Interstate 19-Sahuarita Road interchange is ripe for development, but the interchange itself needs to be replaced. That's up to the Arizona Department of Transportation, and reductions in ADOT's projected revenue are "a major threat."

• The town has new businesses opening, including an expanded Jim Click auto dealership, Ace Hardware, Jo-Ann Fabric and AutoZone.

But retail sales tax revenue is flat and the town is pushing a new "shop local" message, Blumberg said.

• The town will oppose any bill at the Legislature that would eliminate the construction sales tax, which would shift an important revenue source away from the town to point-of-sale for construction materials.

"We use the construction tax for infrastructure projects," Blumberg said. "It's our way to try to ensure growth pays for itself, that present residents and businesses are not overly and unduly taxed for new development," Blumberg said.

Contact reporter Becky Pallack at or 573-4346. On Twitter @BeckyPallack.