The Quay County Assessor’s Office has, under a mandate by the State of New Mexico one year to evaluate the value of 5,500 pieces of property in the county.
The mandate means allowing for holidays, the Quay County Assessor will have to average examining, measuring and evaluating 21 pieces of property every day. Which in an eight hour day means she has to check out a roughly three properties in the county every hour.
“And this is a big county,” said chief deputy county assessor and value appraiser Janie Murray. It falls to Murray to go out to every site in the state every few years to get an updated appraisal. “It’s our job to measure the value of the property every two years,” said Murray. Murray said often she goes out with an assistant appraiser Julia Trujillo to check out the properties, measure them, draw them and figure out just how much they are worth.
Every county in New Mexico is faced with the same situation every two year so the state can charge the right amount when they tax the individuals who own the different properties that are appraised.
Despite the possibility that her arrival at a specific place could mean an increase in a property owner’s tax burden, Murray said that on the whole, she is well received by residents where ever she goes in the county.
“For the most part, they understand I have a job,” said Murray. “They realize that if we’re there with a tape measure, we’re doing it to increase the value of their property.” Which can, she admits increase the property owner’s taxes but it also increases the resale value of his or her property.
“For the most part there are no real negatives. As I said people realize that it is a difficult job are very accommodating when we do show up. Nobody ever meets us with a gun: 99.9 percent of the people understand.” said Murray.
The deputy assessor even said she often gets invited in for a cup of coffee or out of the hot sun for a cool glass of water or even lemonade while out on her job especially when it takes her out to some of the farther reaches of the county.
Since the county is as large as it is, Murray said she has learned some survival tricks that help her survive on some of her longer treks.
“I’ve learned to be sure to take a jacket, a bottle of water or two, some cheese crackers and sometimes a sack lunch so I have something eat,” said Murray. The expanse of the county and the questionableness of the county roads comes to bear on her job also as she could easily be stranded on some lonely stretches of back roads.
“We’ve been issue four-wheel-drive vehicles,” said Murray. “We’ve been fortunate though. So far we’ve never been stuck although we’ve had a few flats. But people have been great. They stop and help us change them for us.” According to Trujillo, perhaps the worst part about going out to the different properties, is not angry taxpayers, but rather their angry dogs which don’t like strangers coming by their property.
“Yeah, those dogs can be a problem.”