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Effort to disincorporate Sunland Park fails

The city of Sunland Park remains. Efforts to disincorporate the city a little more than 30 years after it was created, have failed. Abc-7 confirmed those behind the push were just 13 signatures short of sending the issue to voters.

The petition failed, but organizers behind the effort to dissolve the city tell Abc-7 they’ve already filed another petition with the county clerk’s office today.
They plan to move forward, but so does the city of Sunland Park.

The group had two months to gather 1,165 signatures – 25 percent of the city’s registered voters. Petitioner Penny Gray says they were 13 short. She suspects foul play.
“One of our team members had their vehicle broken into and pages stolen,” Gray said.

Kraig Carpenter is not a Sunland Park resident. He advised the group – hoping to fend off the annexation of Santa Teresa. He says the city’s history of corruption drove the effort.

“No one wants to be associated with corruption or theft,” Carpenter said.

It was just last week when the county held a meeting to discuss what would happen if the city was disincorporated. County officials talked about the alleged misinformation floating around by the petitioners.

“At one point, I got into a debate they were saying all the services were going to stay the same. Taxes are going to go down, but all the municipal remain the same level. It didn’t make sense. I think a lot of people were being misled into signing these petitions,” Mayor Javier Perea said.

County officials said emergency response times would be longer without local police and fire services.

“I think Dona Ana county had the appeal, and a written plan it was perfectly acceptable,” Carpenter said.

Perea says he’ll be ready if there’s another disincorporation effort.

“You’re talking about a city that’s a little more than 30 years old. And that’s why it’s a passionate thing for a lot of people that helped create the city,” Perea said.

The group doesn’t know how soon they’ll go forward with the process, but says they’ll do so once they’re ready. They’ll again have two months to gather signatures and turn the petition in to the county.

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