Nogales looks to expand its city limits

In Arizona, population size isn’t the only thing that’s expanding. City limits are getting their turn as the southern border town, Nogales, is looking to expand its boundaries to grow its population. This isn’t the first time that annexation has been proposed as Mayor Arturo Garino, who served previously from 2011-2014, tried once before.

Nogales, Arizona has about 21,000 residents who call it home. Compare this to sister city Nogales, Sonora, which has ten times as many (212,000) residents. The Arizona town relies on sales tax revenue to boost its economic status, so increasing population would help that cause.

For now, Garino is looking to expand the boundary limits north of the city, taking over some of the Coconino National Forest area as well as surrounding neighborhoods, and a busy truck stop that serves the ample trade economy with Mexico. Picking up the roughly 1,500 residents would tick up the sales tax revenue and open up more opportunities for federal funding.

“We want to expand the population so we can get more money for tax purposes. If you drive through the (proposed) area, you’ll see just one business and the rest are homes and warehouses,” Councilman Dr. Marcelino Varona Jr. said. “We don’t get taxes from those, but the potential is there. We would hope that something like this would attract more people to move here as well as more businesses.”

Another goal of the proposal is to attract newcomers from other parts of the state and country.

Based on numbers out of the Office of Economic Opportunity for the state, Santa Cruz County is projected to have a modest growth of one percent. But with wider city limits, better infrastructure system, and a growing trade economy with Mexico, city leaders are hoping to beat that projection.

“Currently, the annexation is an idea and we’re proposing a study session for it. From there, it will go to a petition for all property owners to weigh in on, and we’d need 51 percent of them to sign on,” Varona, Jr. said. 

Nick Esquer

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