Deputy Assessor resigns

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Miguel “Sam” Jojola’s done working for his first cousin, assessor Henry Jojola, as of Oct. 24, said the department’s office manager Julie Griego at Tuesday’s county commission meeting. She gave no reason for his resignation.

The commission granted the assessor’s office request to hire two temporary full-time appraisers to replace Sam Jojola and approved extra hours for part-time livestock clerk Bernadette Montoya.

Griego said the move will enable the assessor’s office to finish a mass appraisal of properties within the city by the end of 2013, which will bring in much-needed tax revenues for the county. In a letter to the commissioners, Assessor Henry Jojola said he and Griego will decide in March if hiring another deputy assessor makes sense. In the same letter, Jojola gave Griego “the authority to sign documents and to make any pertinent decisions that may arise in my absence,” duties carried out by the deputy assessor.

Griego said she already handles all of the deputy assessor’s obligations so the office can make do without another deputy until next year. Commission Vice-Chairwoman Pauline Jaramillo asked if Griego shouldn’t be paid more for these additional responsibilities, but Griego declined her offer.

“It’s not about the money,” Griego said. “We need to get the job done.”

In other business

  • The commission approved dipping into the county’s cash reserve fund for the $200,000 needed to fix the county courthouse roof. County manager Delilah Walsh said the contractors are all lined up and will be able to get the job done in a month, before any major snowstorms hit. The reserve fund will drop to $8,867,891 if revenues and expenses stay within budget in the next fiscal year, she said.
  • Dennis Harris, Luis Aguilar and Brad Strong were named to the Freeholders’ Committee to consider the vacation by the county of Church Street in San Antonio.
  • Oct. 26 is the annual Senior Citizens Halloween party at the Socorro center, senior centers director Lewis Auerbach said. The party will be held from 1-4 p.m.
  • Deputy treasurer Tina Lujan said her office has received the tax rolls from the assessor’s office. Tax bills are at the printers and will be ready to mail out on Nov. 1. Taxpayers can pay their taxes earlier in person at the courthouse. The treasurer’s office has already collected $3,917 in 2012 tax payments out of the $7,733,064 on the 2012 tax roll. Treasurer Genevie Baca discussed the possibility of offering a monthly property tax payroll deduction to taxpayers who want to spread the cost out over the year instead of making two large payments in the fall and spring.
  • Maintenance, sheriff’s and solid waste departments were all over budget, according to county finance director Roberta Smith in her report. The maintenance and sheriff’s departments were over by about 5 percent already, and solid waste by 40 percent. Smith expressed concern about what the overages would look like by the end of the fiscal year. Commissioner Juan Gutierrez requested overtime data, which the county manager agreed to provide at the next meeting. County manager Delilah Walsh said much of the sheriff’s department expenditures had to do with damage to two vehicles, but she expected insurance and grant funding to cover most of those expenses. Smith’s report indicated that tipping fees were responsible for most of the solid waste department overages.
  • County Clerk Rebecca Vega said her office is busy with early voting. “We’ve got a lot of votes — the count is really high,” she said. Valencia County has requested two of the five or six spare Socorro County voting machines to help with their early voting, but Vega was reluctant to grant their request without a contract to cover damage and maintenance. Walsh said she and county attorney Adren Nance would draft a contract for the loan.
  • Walsh gave the DWI Office report. October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and on Oct. 27 the county D.W.I office is sponsoring a domestic violence awareness candlelight vigil scheduled to begin at 5:30 p.m. on the plaza. There will be a guest speaker.
  • In the county manager’s report, Walsh said as a follow-up to feedback she has been collecting from the employee satisfaction survey she has conducted, training in Microsoft EXCEL and Word will be offered to county employees. Employees will be awarded a certificate for satisfactory completion of the courses. The courses cost the county $75 per person, and Walsh suggested the commission consider instituting incentives to reward employees who pass the courses. County departments will be expected to pay for the costs. County attorney Adren Nance and Walsh also worked on revisions to the county personnel policy and will present the commission with a change draft in January proposing to increase employees’ annual leave to match that of surrounding counties, among other changes, most of which reflect alignment with state and federal policy.
  • The next county commission meeting will be held Tuesday, Nov. 13, at 10 a.m. at the County Annex Building on Neel Street.