New swimming pools, patios, porches and even homes discovered as part of a countywide reappraisal project will add more than $29 million to Sandoval County’s tax rolls, and the work isn’t finished yet.
County Assessor Tom Garcia says his team of appraisers visited and remeasured 26,929 residential and 1,170 commercial properties in the first phase of the project, which began in April 2012. A second phase began in the spring of 2013 and is expected to be complete by April of next year.
Appraisers have already covered most of Rio Rancho, Corrales, Bernalillo and the northern part of the county, including Cuba, Jemez, Regina, La Jara and San Ysidro. Areas they still have to visit include Placitas, Peña Blanca, La Madera, Algodones and portions of central Rio Rancho, Garcia said.
Before starting the project, Garcia told county commissioners the reappraisal was needed because county records hadn’t been updated in more than 10 years.
Unrecorded construction appraisers found in the first few months included 56 new homes in the Cabezon development in Rio Rancho, 44 new swimming pools, 12 guest homes and 186 additions to existing homes.
Garcia said the first phase added $29,175,318 to the tax rolls. In cases where they found new construction the resulting change in valuation has already been reflected in tax bills that went out in November 2013, Garcia said.
The total budget for the first and second phases of the project is $1,746,185.
Money for the reappraisal came from the “1 percent Valuation Fund,” a special fund established for the purpose, not the county’s general operational budget, Garcia said.
It works like this, he said: The treasurer’s office puts aside 1 percent of the property tax money distributed to different entities within the county such as schools and the city of Rio Rancho.
“The legislature set up (the funding mechanism) for this purpose so we could have funds to update appraisals,” Garcia said. “If (the money) had to come out of general fund we could never have done this.”