Mayor Spotlight: Mayor Duane Blumberg, Town of Sahuarita

Name, title & city/town:
Duane Blumberg, mayor, town of Sahuarita
Year elected to office: Elected to town council in May 2009; re-elected in May 2013. Selected by council as mayor in June 2011; selected for second term in June 2013.
Years served as mayor: Three years
Hometown: Lafayette, Louisiana

Town of Sahuarita
Incorporated: 1994
Population: 25,259
Elevation: 2,844 ft.
County: Pima
Area within Limits: 30.83 sq. mi.

Why did you decide to serve in local government?
My professional career was spent as a faculty member and administrator in higher education, and in economic development. I came to Sahuarita in 2005 (to retire!) and found the town's economy to be heavily concentrated in the retail and service sectors, and in construction and construction-related activities. Town officials and staff recognized that a more diverse economy would be better for long-term financial health, but also realized the vital importance of retail and construction sales taxes to provide public services and infrastructure. (Sahuarita does not levy property taxes and has no impact/development fees.) So I volunteered to work with the economic development director and other members of the staff on strategies for continued retail growth and the attraction of primary businesses. Then a few years later, one of the members persuaded me to run for a council seat, and I found myself in my first elected office.

What are the biggest challenges facing your city today?
Today Sahuarita is in good shape financially, with reserves exceeding one year's general fund revenues. Its infrastructure and facilities are relatively new, and the town is able to provide a high level of services in its core public activities and programs: public safety, roads and streets, and parks and recreation. A major challenge is how to maintain a strong financial position and service levels as demands grow (Can there ever be enough soccer fields?) and infrastructure ages.

What opportunities do you see for your community?
Location, demographics, and quality of life are the foundation for the town's future. Located at the top of the I-19 corridor, Sahuarita is the largest community between Tucson and Mexico. The population is highly educated (35% of residents over age 25 hold at least a bachelor's degree), has substantial annual household income (median $73,000), enjoys a variety of housing opportunities (including three large master planned communities) and amenities, and is served by strong public school systems. So I see opportunities for the town to become a regional retail/service destination, as well as a center for primary businesses.

What are you most proud of during your time in office?
I am proud that recent councils have been able to lower the per capita cost of government, and to begin to change the culture to make the government a partner in and facilitator of projects by residents and investors.

Why is the League important to cities and towns in Arizona?
The League provides cities and towns with a mechanism to discuss issues of common interest, and to make their positions clear to the Legislature and to the public. The League, through its various workshops, seminars, and consulting services, offers valuable education and training for municipal officials and staff.

League of Arizona Cities and Towns
1820 W. Washington St.
Phoenix, AZ  85007
Phone: 602-258-5786
Fax: 602-253-3874

If you have ideas for this newsletter or encounter difficulty reading this email,
please contact Samantha Womer at with your concerns.