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Laura Montoya, Sandoval County treasurer

SC Treasurer collects millions in overdue taxes

—Sidney Hill

The Sandoval County Treasurer’s Office has shown a sizeable increase in the amount of delinquent property taxes collected.

From January through June of 2013, the treasurer’s staff recovered $2.8 million dollars in tax payments that were more than two years delinquent. That represents a $1.6 million dollar increase in the amount of delinquent taxes collected over the previous year.

County Treasurer Laura M. Montoya said those numbers are the result of a concerted effort to collect on delinquent accounts that began immediately after she started her first term as treasurer in January 2013. “We started by assessing the number of delinquent accounts that were on the books. Then we devised a plan that included sending letters to those property owners, and making follow-up phone calls at regular intervals.”

Montoya also noted that the strategy called for focusing on accounts that were just shy of two years overdue. That’s a critical timeframe, because once accounts become more than two years delinquent state laws requires that they be turned over to the state Department of Taxation and Revenue. If state officials collect on an overdue account, they return the taxes owed to county, but the state keeps all penalties and interest assessed on that account.

By closing delinquent accounts while they were still less than two years overdue, the Sandoval County Treasurer’s office was able to capture all the taxes, penalties, and interest associated with those accounts and keep that money within the county. “The penalties and interest collected on those account represent funds returned to the taxpayers of Sandoval County, rather than being lost to the state,” Treasurer Montoya said.

When the collection effort began in January, the Treasurer’s staff determined that accounts representing $3.6 million dollars in overdue taxes, penalties, and interest would have to be turned over to the staff if they were not collected by July 1.

Montoya also attributed the campaign’s success to the hard work of five tax researchers who contacted taxpayers directly and helped them make arrangements to settle their overdue accounts. In addition, the remainder of her staff contributed to the overall objective with assistance in on-line payments, mortgage payment processing and other vital functions.

Montoya said that this new approach will become a permanent part of the tax collection process. She also said her team is now ready to go after delinquent taxes on manufactured/mobile homes.

SC Workforce Connection office to relocate

—Augusta Meyers

The Sandoval County Workforce Connection office on Quantum Road in Rio Rancho is moving to the 550 Sandoval County Transit Station in Bernalillo in early August. The last day of operation at the Quantum Road location will be July 30, and the opening at the new location is set for August 5.

“The new location, which is adjacent to the Sandoval County/US 550 Rail Runner station, provides area businesses and clients with a Workforce Connection office that is centrally located,” says Arthur Martinez, Site Manager at NM Workforce Connection. “This location allows for improved public access for residents living in areas such as Rio Rancho, Jemez, Cuba, and the Sandoval County Pueblos who will now be able to use public transportation—such as the Rail Runner and other connectors—to access to the Workforce Connection Office and its many services.”

The new facility includes adequate space to accommodate large groups of people for job fairs and employer recruitments. There is also a significant savings in rental costs, which, considering the recent Federal budget cuts, will allow the Workforce Connection to continue to provide quality services for job seekers, military veterans, youth, and businesses to address their workforce and training needs.

Access to the new office is via US 550—follow the signs to the US 550 Sandoval County Station and Rail Runner Station.

Pueblo Independence Day

On August 10 and 11, in 1680, the Pueblo People of New Mexico, aided by some Apache and Navajo allies, launched a successful rebellion against Spanish colonization. On August 11, 2013, from 7:00 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., the Pueblo People of New Mexico will commemorate this revolt at the Jemez Historic Site. This year’s commemoration will begin with a pilgrimage run from Walatowa plaza to Gisewa Pueblo plaza. Participating in this run is a way to pay tribute to the Ancestors and show appreciation for the sacrifices they made. Their brave resistance helped preserve the Pueblo way of life, their culture, their languages, and their right to one day reclaim their aboriginal lands. The run begins at 7:00 a.m. At 10:00 a.m. the Jemez Historic site will feature guest speakers, and from 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., there will be traditional native dances, Red Bear Drum Group, native food, and arts and crafts. Admission is free for all New Mexico residents. Call the Jemez site for further details at 575-829-3530.

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