Property taxes going up in county

By Thomas Garcia, PNT Staff Writer

Portales residents will see a 3 mill increase on their 2008 property taxes.

Other Roosevelt County residents will see a rate increase of 1 to 2 mills.

Taxes on a $50,000 home will jump from $408 to $456, according to Roosevelt County Chief Deputy Assessor Royene Tivis. A mill equals $1 per $1,000 of taxable value, Tivis said.

The Roosevelt County commissioners approved the implementation the state-mandated mill levy increase from 24.485 to 27.411 during Tuesday’s regular commission meeting.

Property taxes are submitted by the State of New Mexico Department of Finance and Accounting to be imposed by commissioners, according Roosevelt County Manager Charlene Hardin.

For Portales residents, 2.226 of that mill increase is from the Portales school district — 2.204 mill for a non-city resident.

“A portion of the increase is from the school bond election in September,” Hardin said. “The residents approved and voted for the bond to aid in the construction of the new school.”

There was also a shortfall in the 2008 debt tax collection in taxes collected by Portales schools, according to Al Clemmons, financial advisor for Portales school bonds.

The shortfall resulted in the school being unable to pay off the principal and interest of a retiring bond, resulting in a $131,957 deficit, Clemmons said.

“The deficit has to be paid, so the school transferred the owed amount from their operating funds,” Clemmons said. “The increase in the school mill (levy) is to compensate for that transfer of funds.”

Each community’s property tax increase will vary depending on the bonds and projects approved by that community, according to Roosevelt County Deputy Treasurer Mickie Williams.

With the tax issue addressed, the commissioners turned their focus to public health.

The commissioners authorized the county’s public health office to purchase and install a box that would provide residents with a location to properly and safely dispose their used syringes.

During the meeting, public health nurse manager Carol Morgan advised the commissioners that Roosevelt and De Baca counties were the only counties in Region IV that did not provide this service.

“It is very important to the commissioners to ensure the public safety and health of Roosevelt County residents,” Commission Chairman David Sanders said.

Sanders said the diseases that can be spread by dirty syringes is disturbing.

“They cannot be left out in area where the public is in danger of exposure,” he said.

There is always a danger of syringes that have been used by drug users being left in public, Morgan said.

“I know that there are syringes in the community that are a potential source of infection,” Morgan said after the meeting.

Morgan said that Hepatitis C is a common virus spread between intravenous drug users.

“There have been 200 people in Roosevelt County that have tested positive for Hepatitis C,” Morgan said. “The disease can live on the syringe for an extended period of time. A sanitation worker or someone picking it up can still be infected by that syringe.”

The drop box will be set up at the rear entrance to the Public Health office located at 1515 West Fir St.

In other business, the commission:

• Awarded the bid and purchasing of four pickup trucks from Steven’s 5-Star Car and Truck Center in Hereford, Texas. The purchase total for the pickups is $88,898.

• Adopted an Infrastructure Capital Improvement Plan of:

— County road project, $1 million

— Fairgrounds improvements, $750,000

— Courthouse renovations, $400,000

— Senior Center, $500,000