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Jun 22, 2013 1:58 AM by Erika Flores

Mayors on both sides of border hope to improve economy

NACO-Decision makers from both sides of the border gathered Friday for the 4th annual Arizona-Sonora Border Mayors Coalition meeting.

They discussed how to promote tourism, increase employment and beef up border infrastructure and security.

The mayors also talked about the comprehensive immigration reform.

The mayors are trying to work together to build up the reputation of both Mexican and American border towns and to develop their economies.

It's apparent that border communities could use an economic boost.

"Pretty much the whole industry in Sierra vista is down 30 percent," said Glenda Cobb with Sierra Suites.

Cobb manages Sierra Suites and said on average the 100 room hotel is only 20 to 40 percent occupied.

"We don't have the occupancy that we are used to," said Cobb.

Those on the Mexican side of the border said part of their struggle is how Americans are afraid to travel there.

"We have a lot of security," said Agua Prieta mayor Irma Villalobos Rascon.

Rascon said building up Mexican workforce by expanding commerce trade would also help both the U.S. and Mexico.

"With employment, there's security, peace and not so many Mexicans will come to live in the U.S.," said Rascon.

Congressman Ron Barber agreed that commerce trade would benefit the neighboring countires.

"What we want to see happen is that the commercial traffic come through Douglas and Cochise county to benefit all of the communities here," said Barber.

Tourism is also a big part of border towns like Bisbee.

Mexican officials were given a tour of the Queen mine.

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