January 1 marked the one-year anniversary of the closure of the Sonoita Courthouse by the county, and the beginning of the grassroots Sonoita Elgin Community Group (SECG). SECG has had an active and productive year and plans to continue to advocate for eastern Santa Cruz County in 2020. 

Over this past year SECG has worked with officials and members of the community and conducted two community town halls to capture and prioritize community concerns. The group has also hosted two county training sessions at the Sonoita Fairgrounds about understanding and appealing property taxes, expanded watch-dog efforts by attending numerous Board of Supervisors, School and Fire Board meetings, coordinated community presentations by the School and Fire Boards with focus on their budgets, conducted two community surveys and published nine articles in the Patagonia Regional Times and the Nogales International. SECG has also worked to expand outreach via email and Facebook. 

At the state level, SECG assisted Representative Gail Griffin in developing HB2486 on county boundaries and, after that bill failed in the legislature, assisted with the establishment of the current study group exploring a boundary change with results due by the end of 2020. 

The group coordinated at the state level to bring awareness of high taxes and residential assessments impacting Eastern SCC, met with Cochise and Santa Cruz County officials on community issues and connected with the Tubac Santa Cruz Valley Citizens Counsel. 

Future plans include discussions about how to repurpose the Sonoita Courthouse and exploring the creation of a 501.c.(3) or (4) foundation to facilitate grants and county contributions to benefit the community. The group would like to facilitate election debates and discussions, inform the community of vacancies on various boards and encourage citizens to run. 

SECG will continue to monitor and inform the State Study Group and continue to monitor and report on the Board of Supervisors, and the School and Fire Boards 

For more information about the Sonoita Elgin Community Group, contact sonoitaelgincommunitygroup@gmail.com