San Juan County assessor gets a reprieve on appraisals of new construction

San Juan County's assessor will have an additional 12 months to appraise all of the county's new construction under a recently-approved agreement with the state.

With the department behind in this year's annual property re-valuation and facing a $22,000 budget cut, Assessor Charles Zalmanek in late June notified the state Department of Revenue that his department would be unable to appraise all of the county's new construction, as required by state law.

The County Council on July 1 postponed its decision on cutting that $22,000 from the assessor's budget pending the outcome of a meeting between the assessor, the council and a representative from state Revenue.

According to DOR's R.C. Cavazos, manager of the state agency's new-construction program, the assessor will be allowed to appraise all of the new construction in the county through 2010 and hand in results of that calculation with the annual re-valuation of local property and real estate that's conducted in the upcoming year.

Cavazos said assessors in numerous counties are finding it difficult to keep pace with workloads largely because of budget cuts at the local level.

In 2007, the appraisal of new construction added roughly $64,000 in revenue to the county's operating budget and a combined total of about $200,000 into the county Road Fund and the county's other junior taxing districts. It also contributed roughly $250,000 into the state's coffers.

The assessor's office is slated for a budget cut of about $17,000 for the remainder of the year pending the outcome of a Aug. 11 public hearing.

Zalmanek said that the 12-month extension should provide enough time for the department to appraise all of the county's new construction, re-value one-third of the county's property and to get back on its 3-year cycle of on-site appraisals by 2011. However, he noted that all counties, beginning in 2014, will be required by state law to re-value property on an annual basis.

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