RIO RANCHO, N.M. — The Sandoval County Commission has unanimously voted to place a property tax question on the Nov. 8 general election ballot proposing to extend a 4.25 mill levy for eight more years to support two hospitals in Rio Rancho, despite strong protests from several taxpayers.
“When this mill levy went in, it was understood that it would be a maximum of eight years. The taxpayers met their obligation. The hospitals need to meet theirs,” said Melvin Carlisle of Rio Rancho, one of four speakers who lashed out against the measure. “I don’t care about all the excuses or whitewashing. … This tax is hitting people hard. … It’s not helping us.”
The levy, initially passed by county voters in 2008, expires this year. It generates about $13.7 million annually, which is split almost evenly between Presbyterian Rust Medical Center and the UNM Sandoval Regional Medical Center. It costs the owner of a home valued at $100,000 about $141 a year.
Commissioner Don Chapman, who spoke at length at the meeting last week, enthusiastically praised the existence and success of the hospitals, and stated his belief that the mill levy is beneficial and profitable to taxpayers. “I’ve just got to say ‘Hallelujah’ one more time,” he said.