County assessors meet with commission
Socorro County will be seeking a private option for revaluing its properties.
During a regular county commissioners meeting on Tuesday, July 10, Julie Griego, manager of the Office of the Assessor, presented the annual report and valuation maintenance plan for the coming year.
In the report, she said the Assessor’s Office would require three more appraisers in order to properly do the mass re-appraisal of the county, which has not been done in nine years. However, after having discussed Santa Fe County’s current mass re-appraisal with its assessor’s office, Griego recommended the county make use of a private contractor in the interest of expediting the process.
Griego said the cost to re-appraise Socorro County’s residential land would be around $200,000, and it would take only a few months to complete the assessment.
“We’d be starting with a clean slate,” Griego said.
Certifying a new appraiser is a lengthy process — the certification takes between one and four years, with classes only offered every six months. The Office of the Assessor has current employees who require certification.
County Manager Delilah Walsh suggested issuing a request for proposal, which Commissioners Phillip Anaya, Juan Gutierrez and Pauline Jaramillo approved. Walsh estimated a three to four week period between issuing the request and selecting a contractor.
The assessor’s office’s re-evaluation plan was tabled for further discussion.
The Office of the Assessor has also trained a new mobile home clerk in order to properly deal with mobile homes previously unaccounted for. These mobile homes will be assessed and taxed as houses, and back taxes will be pursued based on precedent set by assessors in Roswell.
Griego praised her office’s new mapper, Gail Rogers, saying she had done more in three months than had been done in 10 years. The county fire marshal currently employs an emergency mapper, but Walsh reported that Rogers’ work might be making this effort redundant.
In other business, the commission
â€¢ Heard from County Clerk Rebecca Vega, who said her office has completed its state canvas with perfect results as with years past. She commended her staff for their hard work.
â€¢ Voted to support Socorro General Hospital, which wants to build a 22,600 square foot medical building for general physician services. Funding would come from a state bond — SGH has not requested any county funding. Walsh will draft a letter of support.
â€¢ Heard from Walsh, who asked the board to consider purchasing four licenses for a grant tracking and query program called eCivis. The South Central Council of Governments has reported satisfaction with the program.
Walsh summarized the gist of her request, asking “Do we want to pursue more grants (on the Federal level)?”
Gutierrez, though, was concerned about matching requirements — a condition for all federal grants. If the county gets a $4 million dollar grant with a 25 percent matching requirement, it still needs to spend a million dollars, he said. Walsh will follow up with SCCOG’s use of the program.
â€¢ Tabled the fiscal management plan after some discussion, pending the presentation from the assessor’s office. Walsh reiterated that the goal of the plan is to address long-term concerns about compensating for this year’s deficit budget.
The federal payment in lieu of taxes makes up about 25 percent of the county’s budget, and while this year’s PILT passed both the House and the Senate recently, President Barack Obama has not signed it yet.
Walsh was more concerned about the PILT’s future; the next federal fiscal year might be its last.
â€¢ Discussed establishing a business license system for the purpose of better collecting gross receipts taxes. As it stands, the county has to request a list of licensed businesses from the city in order to see if all GRTs have been collected.
“We are probably losing some revenue,” County Attorney Adren Nance said. He also estimated that 25 of the 33 counties in New Mexico have such a program.
Griego said this system would also help her office assess properties more efficiently, especially in more sparsely populated parts of the county. Walsh said the fee for this license could be as low as $5 or $10, though the state average is $25, as the goal of this program would primarily be organization.
This will be brought to a public hearing at a future meeting.
â€¢ Passed a request that the Department of Taxation and Revenue perform its statutory duty and conduct a sale of delinquent parcels of land. According to the Socorro County treasurer, Rio Grande Estates and Valle de Mañana account for 80 percent of all delinquent real properties, and that the cost of processing tax bills and delinquency notices outweighs the $22 income per year per parcel the county currently receives.
The board formally requested the state foreclose and sell these properties. In the meantime, Walsh was asked to get in touch with the owners of these parcels and ask that they donate this land, which would result in more income for the county.
â€¢ Learned the budgeted deficit has been reduced by around $20,000 since May
The next Board of County Commissioners meeting will take place at 6 p.m., Tuesday, July 24.