OPINION: Apache Junction and Pinal County need structured growth

Having read the current Apache Junction/Gold Canyon Independent, it seems like the region is trying to grow.

Your front-page article detailed a new clean industrial company moving in and highlighted the city’s Flatiron Park as well as the new location for Fry’s. Kudos for also holding a “State of the City” event.

All that being said, I feel the need to “weigh-in” on the area’s economic development. It seems your combined goal is to enhance the area transportation network, and bring in additional businesses and jobs and increase tax revenue. While I agree that sales tax revenue needs to increase I would hope that you are all working together to bring new retail business to the area to generate this tax. Do you have an “Economic Development Long-Range Plan” that citizens can look at to see the direction you are headed?

When I read comments from citizens requesting no more Goodwill-type stores I wonder if you are hearing their concerns. How about having your economic development agencies work with the commercial Realtors to bring in stores that bring in larger sales tax revenues? Lowes, Home Depot, furniture stores – stores that would benefit the citizens from having to travel to Mesa or other areas; and as a tax entity you would benefit from increased sales tax revenue. Buying a can of paint at $30 vs. a bag of used clothes for $5 brings in a lot more tax money.

If you can increase the shopping base you wouldn’t have to raise your sales tax rate to 9.6 percent. Raising taxes drives people who are living with modest income to drive out of the region to purchase their necessities let alone any other spending they might want to do.

This opinion is not meant as a criticism just a dialog to Pinal County, Gold Canyon and Apache Junction officials. Structured growth done with a long-term vision can only make the area more ideal for those who like calling it home.

Deborah Wolek
Unincorporated Pinal County near Apache Junction

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