By Steve Hansen
QCS Managing Editor
New Mexico’s Tax and Revenue Department might nullify Quay County’s gross receipts tax approved by voters to fund Dr. Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital operations.
Quay County commissioners voted Monday to fight the state’s objections to the measure. Voters approved a measure in July to keep paying the tax.
County Attorney Warren Frost said the dispute is over failure to include a sentence in the state’s model ordinance for local gross receipts tax measures.
The sentence reads: “Section 2. General Provisions. This ordinance hereby adopts by reference all definitions, exemptions and deductions contained in the Gross Receipts and Compensating Tax Act as it now exists or as it may be amended.”
Frost insists that this addition does not significantly affect the meaning of the measure voters approved, and commissioners decided unanimously to support that stand, even if it means the county must file legal action against the state, according to Brad Bryant, chairman of the commission.
“We really need that hospital,” Frost said, “and we’re willing to fight to keep the tax in place”
In another tax matter, County Assessor Janie Hoffman told the commission the New Mexico Association of Counties seeks to oppose a proposal from the State Health Department that would return a share of tax money currently reserved for county indigent medical care. The take-back would compensate for apparent savings to county indigent funds resulting from the federal Affordable Care Act and would total one-eighth of gross receipts tax receipts reserved for Sole Community Provider funding that compensates Trigg Hospital for care of the poor.
At Monday’s meeting the commission also”
• Approved a re-roofing contract for the Quay County Detention Center for with Dekker Perich and Sabatini.
• Voted to join the Northeast Economic Development Organization (NEEDO). NEEDO’s territory includes Quay, Harding, Union, Colfax and parts of San Miguel counties.
• Gave responsibility to Alida Brown, coordinator for the Quay County Health Council, to direct a promotional campaign to increase registrations for Affordable Care Act, enhanced Medicaid and New Mexico’s Health Exchange, using a $3,000 from the New Mexico Association of Counties.