A special state legislative committee convened to study moving parts of Eastern Santa Cruz County into Cochise County is set to meet next week in Sonoita.
The Joint Ad-Hoc Committee on County Boundaries is scheduled to hold a public meeting starting at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 29 at the Sonoita-Elgin Fire District station, just north of the crossroads of State Routes 82 and 83, according to a notice posted Friday by the Arizona State Legislature.
Agenda items include “identify potential topics for working groups and assignment of tasks,” “public testimony” and “committee discussion.”
State Rep. Gail Griffin of Hereford convinced legislative leaders to form the committee after a bill she sponsored to study moving the county line died in the Arizona Senate last year.
She’s been acting at the behest of a group of Eastern Santa Cruz County residents who are upset at the county government over rising tax rates and what they say is a lack of county services in the area. They were particularly angered by the decision last year to close the justice of the peace court in Sonoita.
Griffin has also told Capitol Media Services that area residents “feel they have more in common with Cochise County.”
Griffin and Sen. Sylvia Allen co-chair the study committee, which also includes Sens. Andrea Dalessandro and David Gowan, and Reps. Becky Nutt and Rosanna Gabaldon.
Of the six lawmakers on the committee, four are Republicans (Allen, Gowan, Griffin and Nutt) and two are Democrats (Dalessandro and Gabaldon). Three represent Cochise County (Gowan, Griffin and Nutt) and two represent Santa Cruz (Dalessandro and Gabaldon). Allen is from Snowflake and represents a district in north-central Arizona.
The committee also includes Sonoita-Elgin-area residents Todd Bostock, Kent Callaghan, David Green and Matt Parrilli; former Cochise County supervisor Richard Searle; Jennifer Stielow, vice-president of the Arizona Tax Research Association; and Craig Sullivan, executive director of the County Supervisors Association of Arizona.
The committee is supposed to report its findings back to legislative leaders at the end of 2020.