Property owners could see tax increase


BERNALILLO COUNTY, N.M. (KRQE) – For years Bernalillo County property owners were given a break on their property taxes.

But that could change.

Some county commissioners say it’s time for a property tax increase and they hope voters feel the same way.

But one commissioner says it’s just not needed.

The proposed tax increase would help fund the county’s Open Space projects.

There are different views on a proposed tax hike that could hit property owners soon.

It’s expected to bring in $1.5 million to fund Open Space projects like walking trails, bike paths or even national forests.

And the proposal is not completely new to Bernalillo County.

It was in place since the mid 90’s after voters approved it.

But in 2006 the county forgot to put it on the ballot.

“Well that mistake saved the tax payers for the last eight years and I support the way we have been doing it,” County Commissioner Wayne Johnson said.

Commissioner Wayne Johnson says he will vote no to the tax.

He says while the increase is about $13 for a $200,000 home, property owners are already paying enough.

He says the county has been making ends meet without tax payers forking over more cash.

Johnson believes there’s one main reason other commissioners want the tax increase.

“We’ve had some tight budgets, so whenever there is a tight budget people are looking for ways to find new money,” Johnson said.

One of the reasons for the tight budget is the fiasco involving the counties investments that lost millions of dollars.

Commissioner Art De La Cruz says that’s not the case adding what’s in the general fund has barely been enough to maintain the Open Space the county already owns.

Commissioner De La Cruz says without the tax increase the county can’t buy more Open Space to protect and save because there are not enough funds.

The commission is scheduled to vote on the elective tax hike next week.

If they do it would be put on the November ballot for voters to decide.

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