By Tony Parra
Roosevelt County Commissioners held a special session on Tuesday to take another step for what commissioner Gene Creighton said, “None of the commissioners wanted to do”. Raise taxes.
Commissioners held a public hearing Tuesday afternoon to receive input from Roosevelt County residents on the adoption of two gross receipt tax increments and one correctional facility gross receipt tax. The taxes are .125 multiplied times the cost of the purchase.
For each tax, there would be an additional 12.5 cents for each $100 spent at a Roosevelt County business. If all three tax increments are passed, the purchaser would pay an additional 37.5 cents per $100 spent.
Three people showed up to the session.
“I’d like to know if there is a way the inmates or the families of the inmates pay for the correctional facility,” Cynthia Etchepareborde said. “I don’t figure I should have to pay for it.”
Commissioner Tom Clark informed the residents of the problem with the suggestion.
“Legally there is not a way we could do that,” Clark said. “State statute doesn’t allow us to do that. We do have the inmates work. They get paid, but it’s not much.”
Hardin said the final step to adding the three proposed tax increments will take place at the July 6th Roosevelt County meeting. Commissioners will vote on adding the tax increments. She said the only other possibility would be if 5 percent of the registered voters from the most recent election sign a petition to add it to the general ballot or have it in a special election. There were 1,390 registered voters, according to the New Mexico Secretary of State’s Website.
Clark said the petition would lead into a direction in which voters must pick from additional property or gross receipt taxes — an avenue Clark said he would like to avoid. After the commissioners’ explanations, the three residents agreed that no other option existed and supported the commissioners’ decision.
“I agree with the taxes,” Etchepareborde said. “I was concerned that there would be a property tax added and I don’t think it would have been fair. I’m a homeowner and I believe everyone should have to pay for it.”
Creighton said many other New Mexico counties already have the three tax increments in place. Roosevelt County Administrator Charlene Hardin said the tax increments would add 1 million of revenue to the general fund over the span of one year.
Hardin said if the tax increments are passed on July 6, they will go into effect on Jan. 1.