Arizona House Considers Moving Boundary Between Santa Cruz County And Cochise County

By Claire Caulfield
Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Friday, March 8, 2019 - 9:07am
Updated: Friday, March 8, 2019 - 9:22am

The Arizona House of Representatives took the first steps Thursday to possibly move the boundary between Santa Cruz County and Cochise County.

Lawmakers gave preliminary approval to House Bill 2486, which would create a committee to study the "the fiscal and related impacts of a change in the county boundary line.”  

Some residents in the eastern portion of Santa Cruz county want to be part of Cochise county, citing high taxes and limited access to the justice of the peace court, which was recently moved to Nogales.

Rep. Gail Griffin from Hereford said residents in the Sonoita area also complained that county officials do not promote the developing wine industry in the area. 

"This is strictly a study committee to address the issues that they feel that they're not treated fairly and not getting the attention that they would like,'' Griffin said.

But Rep. Isela Blanc from Tempe pushed back, saying if residents are unhappy, they have the power to vote in new elected officials.

“Do we really need a study committee every time somebody throws a fit because they're paying a little bit more or less in taxes?” She asked.

Rep. Mark Finchem from Oro Valley objected to the characterization that the Sonoita taxpayers were "throwing a fit,'' saying the residents are doing exactly what they're entitled to do.

"When we have a collection of constituents who don't believe they've been treated fairly, who else are they to turn to?'' He asked.

The measure now needs a roll-call vote before going to the Senate.

If approved by the full legislature, the committee would research impacts of moving the country line, including how to deal with existing debts and obligations of each county, and present a report of their findings by June 30, 2020.

Under the Arizona Constitution, counties are administrative arms of the state, and county line can be moved only with an act of the Legislature.

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