Assessor reports values up, more staff needed

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Taxable land value is up in the county but the assessor’s office needs more staff, according to the assessor’s annual report acknowledged by the Socorro County Commission during its regular meeting Tuesday.

Julie Griego, office manager for the assessor’s office, told the commission assessors picked up over $3 million in net new construction value as of a couple of weeks ago when the notice of values was sent to print. She noted the data is broken down further in the assessor’s annual report, which is included in the county commission’s agenda packet.

A link to the agenda packet is available on the county’s website at www.socorrocounty.net.

Griego said assessors picked up about $598,000 in net new reappraisal value since December when the assessor’s office commenced its mass reappraisal of properties.

Griego said last year the county’s total taxable value was about $237 million, while this year it is about $249 million, “which is a big increase.”

“I don’t think we were expecting that much,” Griego said.

The annual report also states a lot of work remains for the assessor’s office to do, which will not be accomplished without adequate personnel. The report requests the commission increase the assessor’s budget so the department can hire the necessary personnel.

During her presentation to the commission, Griego said hired one of its temporary appraisers on a permanent basis, but two more are still temporary. She recommended hiring those two permanently as soon as possible, plus hire a fourth appraiser to help Elaine Briggs, chief appraiser, work on land values.

“We’ve got land for $500 when they’re selling it for $10,000 an acre,” Griego said. “We need to work all of that, and she can’t do that with all of the other stuff she’s having to do.”

Griego said the department needs to put an appraiser on commercial properties. She said about a quarter of the commercial properties were appraised last year, and the rest need to get on the rolls.

Griego said the assessor’s office is also expecting quite a few protests this year, and Briggs will have to address that.

“So I’ll have to take over what she’s doing,” Griego said. “And I think an extra couple (assessors) will at least be beneficial.”