County commission to vote on gross receipt tax increase

By Argen Duncan

The Roosevelt County Commission is scheduled to vote on a proposed new gross receipts tax at its meeting at 9 a.m. today in the County Courthouse.

At the Jan. 6 commission meeting, County Manager Charlene Hardin brought the matter before the commissioners. If passed, the tax of one sixteenth of 1 percent on all taxable goods and services in the county would help fund indigent health care.

The measure would take effect in July.

Before making a decision, Commissioner Gene Creighton said he would need to speak with Hardin and county Indigent Administrator Vicki Aguilar to find out whether it was critical to have the extra funding. He hopes it isn’t.

“The whole country’s in an economic bind right now, and I hate to add more tax on the people,” Creighton said.

Commissioner Bill Cathey said he wanted to hear input from the public, other commissioners and Hardin before making his decision.

Statute requires a public hearing before the commissioners vote on the issue, Hardin said. Anyone can comment, and speakers usually have a two-minute limit.

“I’ve had some people speak out in opposition and say it’s a terrible time to raise taxes,” Hardin said of residents’ comments she has already received.

The agenda also contains consideration of a resolution requesting the division of maintenance responsibility for roadways under joint responsibility of the city of Portales and Roosevelt County. The roads are near the city limits.

Creighton said he was opposed to sharing the maintenance, and each entity taking half of the roads would eliminate confusion.

If commissioners passed the resolution, Hardin said, it would go to the city. The commission has been talking about it for about six years and has decided that taking formal action on the issue would help resolve it, she said.

Commissioners David Sanders and Jake Lopez said they would not attend today’s meeting due to scheduling conflicts. Commissioner Paul Grider could not be reached for comment.