New county tax assessor officially takes reins

By Helena Rodriguez: PNT Staff Writer

Tex Belcher officially became the new Roosevelt County tax assessor on Monday. The Democrat, who ran unopposed in November, is switching places with Royene Tivis, the former tax assessor who reached her term limit.

Tivis will now become Belcher’s chief deputy, a position that Belcher held for more than seven years. The term limit for county tax assessor is two terms or a total of eight years.

Belcher, who was elected to his first, four-year term, has already been to an Association of Counties meeting in Santa Fe and said he is proud of his little office in Roosevelt County which is made up of himself, Tivis and three appraisers.

Nevertheless, he said that with a two mill levy tax increase for Portales last year, his office oftentimes catches the brunt of that. Therefore, he reminds people not to shoot the messenger as his office sends out tax notices in late January.

“The Treasurer’s Office is actually the one that collects the taxes. We figure out in our office how much the taxes will be,” Belcher explained. “I think we do a good job in our office, but it is a no-win situation because people don’t like to pay taxes. We like what taxes do, but none of us like to pay taxes.”

He added, “I’ve been on both sides of the fence, so I have plenty of sympathy. I own property myself. In our office, we try to be as fair and honest as possible.”
Belcher is a lifelong resident of Roosevelt County. He went to high school in Rogers and Dora and graduated from Dora High School.

In addition to property taxes, Belcher said that in New Mexico, there is a tax on cattle as well. Other responsibilities the County Tax Assessor’s Office handles include building permits and property deed updates.

Tivis said that since Belcher has been with the Tax Assessor’s office previously, there should be no problems in the transition.

She will be assisting Belcher in sending out the tax notices. Although taxes will not be due until November, she said that now is the time for people to look over their property value notifications and contact the office if they have any problems or disagreements. She said that waiting until the tax bills come out in November will be too late.

In addition, Tivis noted that veterans only have during the months of January and February to file an exemption of up to $4,000 for the tax year.