Commissioners to vote on gross receipts tax increase

By Kent Graves: PNT Staff Writer

Roosevelt County Commissioners will vote June 21 on an ordinance that, if approved, will increase the county gross receipts tax and raise county revenues by an estimated $115,000 a year.
A public hearing was held on Ordinance 05-03 yesterday in the Commissioner’s meeting room at the Roosevelt County Courthouse. No members of the public appeared before the commission.
If approved at the June 21 meeting, the ordinance would raise the tax rate .0625 percent on the six different tax rates in various sections of the county. That means that consumers would pay an additional six cents in taxes per $100 on items purchased in the county, except food and medicines.
County Administrator Charlene Hardin said the revenues would go into the county’s general fund and be used for everyday operating expenses.
“The county is like everyone else,” Hardin said. “We have to pay the higher fuel costs, higher insurance premiums and cost living increases for county employees.”
Commission Chairman Gene Creighton pointed out that this is a tax for everyone.
“Even though there are various rates in different parts of the county,” Creighton said, “everyone will see the same increase.”
If approved, the gross receipts tax increase would go into effect January 1, 2006.
The last time the commissioners raised the tax rate was in January 2004 when they raised it by .125 percent, twice the rate of increase they’re asking now. Last year the commissioners levied another tax increase specifically for funds to operate the county corrections department. Before that, the last county gross receipt tax increase was in 1988.
Commissioners also held a public hearing on the proposed property tax increase, again with no one appearing before the commission. If approved, commissioners are consider a one mil increase, which would generate about $198,000 a year. It would also go into effect Januny 1, 2006.
Currently the property tax rate in Roosevelt County is 8.85 mils, the minimum rate allowed in the state. Only three other counties have the same low rate; San Juan, Eddy and Lea Counties.
“Those are the three richest counties in the state and generate lots of revenue,” Hardin said. “These are hard decisions but we have to stop operating our county in the red. We have to face the tough choices.”