Properties up for auction for back taxes

By Chelle Delaney: QCS Staff

About 70 properties are expected to be auctioned on Oct. 24 for unpaid taxes by the state’s Taxation and Revenue Department, tax assessor Janie Murray said at Monday’s County Commission meeting.

Property owners have until 5 p.m. on Oct. 23 to pay the taxes or make arrangements for payment with the county, she said.

County officials have said that many property owners become more motivated to pay their taxes when they learn there will be an auction and that many of the properties’ taxes in arrears will be paid by the auction date.

Prospective bidders are required to register with state’s auctioneer.
Bidders should do their research on a prospective property because the bidder also assumes responsibility for any liens, Murray said.

The auction will begin at 10 a.m. at the Quay County Courthouse. For more information, contact the county treasurer at 461-0470.

Monday’s meeting was the first meeting attended by interim county manager Wayne Cunningham, who was hired when Terry Turner died Aug. 30.

Commissioners have said it would take some time to find a replacement, and they took steps in seeking a permanent manager by agreeing to place advertisements for the county manager in several publications. Commissioner Bill Curry said the ad had been reviewed by the county’s attorney.

In other business before the commission:
l Susan Lease, ASAP Coordinator, made a presentation on efforts to reduce smoking and use of smokeless tobacco among the county’s youth.

The percentage of youth (grades 9-12) who smoke or use smokeless tobacco is higher in Quay County than the overall average for the state, Lease said.

Youth smokers in Quay County comprise 38.1 percent of the population compared to the state average of 30.2 percent. For smokeless tobacco use, Quay is at 14.1 percent compared to 8.8 percent of youth in New Mexico.

Lease said ASAP would be manning a booth at the Red Ribbon Celebration later this month and would be providing cans of smokeless tobacco substitutes designed to help users kick the habit. ASAP routinely provides information and takes it presentations into the schools.

She also provided the commissioners with a look at one of the educational displays that is used with children and adults to demonstration what happens to the teeth, gums and tongue because of tobacco use and some of the warning signs that may signal the onset of cancer in the mouth because of tobacco use.

l A request to solicit a medical practitioner who will come for two days a week to the Quay County Detention Center was approved.
Tony Elebario, detention center administrator, said that the current visit by a nurse practitioner for two hours each week was not sufficient. It was also too costly, he said, if an inmate had to be taken to the emergency room for an illness or condition that was not life-threatening.
l Commissioners approved spending about $8,000 to update the county’s computer system.
l Commissioners agreed to the listing of the airport road on county’s contingency list of road projects to be submitted for the state’s GRIP project. Larry Moore, county road superintendent, recommended the action so that Quay County could be selected for funds in case another project drops out. He said the state would pick up 90 percent of the costs and the county would be expected to contribute 10 percent.
l The commission discussed purchasing a car that would be available for commissioners, other elected county officials and county use.
The current reimbursement rate of 32 cents per mile does not cover gas expenses or the wear and tear on a personal vehicle used for county business, commissioner Bill Curry said.
Commissioner Robert Lopez said, “It makes sense to look into it, we are going to more and more meetings all the time.”

Cunningham was charged with doing a cost analysis on purchasing a car.
l Commissioners are considering drawing up an ordinance that would fend off an expected proposal by the United States Department of Agriculture requiring all animals, including pets, to be have an identification system, such as a microchip implant, and a requirement that the movement of all animals from their primary location be reported.

Commissioners said an identification would be a hardship on the farmer and rancher as well as individuals who have pets.

Lopez said the identification started out with cattle. But that it seemed unreasonable, when the number of riders who attend rodeos and other shows are considered.

Curry said, “I don’t think the federal government is in touch with the people who live in rural areas. Some ranchers don’t see their animals for a month or more.”