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Booming New Mexico border town eyes incorporating into new city amid annexation threat

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LAS CRUCES, New Mexico — Residents in a booming border town want to incorporate as a new municipality amid an annexation threat from a nearby troubled city.

An organizer of incorporation efforts said Tuesday that a provisional government for Santa Teresa has been established and most of the town's estimated 4,300 residents support the plan, the Las Cruces Sun-News reports (http://goo.gl/puVZSR).

Santa Teresa Country Club resident Craig Carpenter said documents will be filed within the next four months. "Nobody knows an exact date. But I've been telling people that 2015 will be an exciting year," Carpenter said.

The initiative comes after the councilors in the troubled border city of Sunland Park adopted a resolution last week to explore annexing unincorporated areas adjacent to Sunland Park.

The Santa Teresa Country Club, a private, unincorporated community currently governed by Dona Ana County, is within five miles of Sunland Park's city limits. New Mexico law allows municipalities to annex unincorporated areas within five miles.

In 2012, Sunland Park drew national attention after a mayoral candidate was charged with extortion for secretly recording an opponent receiving a lap dance from a topless woman in his campaign office. Arrests of city officials followed over allegations of voter fraud.

The year before, Mayor Martin Resendiz said he was drunk when he signed nine contracts with a California company for $1 million.

Meanwhile, Santa Teresa is seeing rapid growth as state officials work to plan more projects. Last year, for example, Gov. Susana Martinez announced the creation of a 70,000-acre, master-planned community around the Santa Teresa-San Jeronimo border crossing in an effort to expand the fast-growing border region even more.

Under the plan, the project would create new trade zones, joint health care programs and "quality residential living." Officials said the goal was to create an industrial powerhouse capable of transforming the area into a busy international trading zone.

But unlike other areas, officials hope to prevent unstructured development that has sparked congestion and industrial sprawl.

In addition, a $400 million Union Pacific Corp. railroad facility near a young New Mexico border town could open next year, the company said recently.

The New Mexico Border Authority said last year the Santa Teresa Port of Entry processed more than 81,000 commercial trucks — 13 percent higher than the previous record.


Information from: Las Cruces Sun-News, http://www.lcsun-news.com

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