For the last four years or so, the people of Las Vegas have not been able to water their property because of water restrictions imposed by the local governing council. As a result, those of us who do not have wells on our property have lost our trees, shrubs, lawns and other plants. I have lost several trees, the properties adjacent to and across the street from our home have also lost several pine trees.
The loss of trees and plants decreases the value of our property by at least 10 percent to 30 percent. Yet, our property is still being valuated, for taxation purposes, using the same values, classifications and allocations that were used prior to losing our landscaping.
State law, NMSA 7-38-24, allows property owners to “protest the value or classification determined by the county assessor for his property for property taxation purposes … by filing a petition with the assessor.” Filing a protest entitles the property owner to have a hearing on his protest. The protest must be filed 30 days after the mailing by the assessor of the notice of valuation.
I am writing this letter to inform the citizens of Las Vegas that they have the right to file a protest if they do not agree with the valuation of their property. It is not my intention to create conflict between the citizens and the county assessor’s office; however, it is my hope that if enough people protest their property valuations, it will come to the attention of state officials who will take action to help Las Vegas by providing much-needed funding to help address some of the problems that will improve our water situation.
With funding for infrastructure, the leaking water lines throughout the city could be fixed. That alone would save about 30 percent of our water that is now being wasted. Infrastructure funding would also be used to address the leaks in Peterson and Bradner dams, further increasing the amount of water available to our citizens.
It is not very often that regular citizens have an opportunity to have a voice in what happens in government. Filing a protest on how property value is assessed is just one way that citizens can have a say in how much tax they will have to pay on their property.
I urge everyone to consider speaking out on their own behalf by protesting their property valuations.
Frank J. Casey