On Monday night, the Sahuarita Town Council convened to consider Town Manager Kelly Udall’s performance evaluation. Having served the town as manager for six years, Udall presented the council with a list of accomplishments for the past year that show how the town has influenced economic development in Sahuarita—among many other things.
Mayor Tom Murphy noted that Udall has been the key component in many town successes for the past six years. “Mr. Udall has been invaluable to all of our recent successes. His leadership of the town is giving us a clear view for the future in realizing the goals set out by the council according to the needs and wishes of residents, ” said Murphy.
A few major areas of interest that were highlighted in the report are listed below. A more detailed and expansive list is available in the annual Town Manager Report as a peripheral reference for what the council considered during Udall’s evaluation.
Improved Website, Online Services and Social Media Communications: In 2018, Udall led the town’s efforts to improve its website and expand the offering of online services. For example, residents are now able to complete business licenses, and special event permit applications online. A facelift on the town website has made it easier to navigate, find information, and stay up-to-date on news about the town. Use of social media has expanded to engage the public on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter—and its reach and effectiveness has grown substantially with a 30% increase in engagement on Facebook. Additionally, council meetings are now streamed live on YouTube.
Outstanding Maintenance and Enhancements to Town Infrastructure and Parks: Through Kelly Udall’s leadership, Sahuarita maintains vigilant oversight of town roads, ensuring that they are in top condition and planning for maintenance well into the future. Duval Mine Road improvements received an award and dignified recognition by The National Asphalt Pavement Association (one of many awards won for various projects by various departments throughout the year). Partnership with Sahuarita Unified School District has resulted in new sports fields being added to the roster of town assets open to the public. The town is presently working with Pima County toward the possible addition of a regional wastewater facility and investigating the establishment of a town water utility to meet community needs in anticipation of future growth.
Sahuarita Advanced Manufacturing and Technology Center (SAMTEC): Using a $3 million dollar grant won from the Economic Development Administration (EDA) in 2017, Udall has led the town toward breaking ground in 2019. Throughout 2018-2019, the town has reviewed the design of the building, and coordinated architects and stakeholders to move the project forward. SAMTEC will bring an estimated 75 high-tech jobs to Sahuarita.
Sahuarita Town District: In 2017, the town began a re-branding project that has developed into a physical project to facilitate the building of a “Town District” as a place for residents to gather, socialize, shop, dine and enjoy arts related entertainment. This area will be a place where existing town events can expand and flourish. Throughout 2018-2019, staff led by Udall have worked with Norris Design to refine boundaries and coordinate stakeholders to reach a consensus on the overlay, and keep the public apprised of developments.
Economic Development Outreach to Small Area Businesses: Started in 2017, the town has improved its “Shark Tank” event—BizEDGE. The program encourages small businesses to consider strategies for expansion and continued success with the offer of free business classes. In 2018, the Town also started working on a second business outreach concept called Launch, for applicants who are considering opening a business in Sahuarita.
In addition to the major projects listed above, the town has influenced 500,000 estimated square feet of new development over the past two years including many retail and commercial spaces (and approximately 650-700 additional jobs) within the town boundaries, helping to bring more sales tax revenue in for maintaining and augmenting town assets. Please see the annual Town Manager Report to council for other projects and peripheral details to the projects mentioned above.