PROPERTY OWNERS TO SEE RELIEF FROM TAX-RATE DECREASE

PROPERTY OWNERS TO SEE RELIEF FROM TAX-RATE DECREASE

The Doña Ana County Assessor's and Treasurer's offices verified Wednesday a state-designated decrease in the property-tax rates residents will pay for 2005.

Assessor Gary Pérez and Treasurer Jim Schoonover said the decrease is due to the combined efforts of their offices to keep up with the county's growing population and property values.

"We send our valuations to the state, and the state applies the appropriate tax rate based on the county's total value," Pérez said.

Due to combined increases in valuation and new construction throughout the county, "the county's total valuation has risen by almost $1 billion," Pérez said. The total assessed valuation was about $6.75 billion in 2004 and is now at about $7.64 billion. Pérez said that results in individual property-tax savings to residents.

For example, a Las Cruces resident with a home assessed at $100,000 paid $895.47 in property taxes in 2004. If the 2005 valuation remained the same, then this year's property taxes would be $883.10, a savings of about 1.38 percent.

"It's terrific that we can pass these savings back to our residents," Schoonover said. "Much of this is due to the assessor's appraisers staying on top of new valuations and my staff collecting taxes so efficiently. The state wouldn't have adjusted the mil rates otherwise."

The mil rates for non-residential properties actually increased at an average of about 0.65 percent. The Board of County Commissioners is slated at its regular Sept. 27 meeting to approve the county's residential and non-residential mil rates assigned by the state.

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Reporters seeking more information or interviews may call county Assistant Public Information Director Grant A. Taylor at (505) 639-6509.