Marana Mayor Ed Honea talked up the town's future in his recent State of the Town address.

Honea spoke April 26 at the Ritz-Carlton, Dove Mountain, 15000 N. Secret Springs Drive, at a $65-a-plate luncheon hosted by the Marana Chamber of Commerce.

Honea touted the town's growth, saying it had issued 657 single-family residential permits, permits for 170 multifamily units and 48 commercial permits since his 2012 address.

He said growth is a priority for the area.

"Marana is a growth community. We want to make sure we are an attractive, high-quality place where families, individuals and businesses want to locate," Honea said, according to a transcript of the speech.

Honea said it was important that Marana was able to take over its wastewater system, ending a years-long dispute. Voters approved of the action in a March vote, and Pima County agreed in April to sell the system to Marana.

"For the past several years we have focused on owning and operating our own wastewater system. There are two reasons for this - we must have affordable water resources, and we want to support our development-service process through a streamlined approach," Honea said.

"We want our utility systems to help support the commercial, industrial and residential growth we are planning. Our mission is to operate this utility system efficiently, ensuring we fully use the water resources to manage our long-term water costs."

Honea said he and other town officials have made it a point to take the pulse of the business community by touring local businesses and speaking to owners. He said he's seen signs of economic recovery.

"The business owners see the economy is getting better. More activity is taking place throughout town," Honea said. "We are going in the right direction."

One of Honea's final points was to acknowledge struggles while encouraging a positive attitude.

"We have several Herculean challenges but many reasons to be optimistic," he said. "Our community is headed in the right direction, and we all look forward to every new day and every exciting opportunity. A town is only as strong as its business owners and residents."

Contact reporter Phil Villarreal at 573-4130 or