Clerical error leads to high bill
November 4, 2020
A Tucumcari woman received an unexpectedly high bill of $148,000 for her property taxes, but the county treasurer and assessor’s office said it was an isolated clerical error and not a computer glitch that potentially could have affected scores of residents.
Kristine Paulson Husman on Oct. 22 posted on Facebook an image of her bill from the Quay County treasurer’s office that requested a full payment of $148,116.60.
Paulson Husman stated she “about had a heart attack today,” and “I must have a mansion, but where is it?”
She stated her bill usually is about $5.
Paulson Husman could not be reached for comment, but county treasurer Patsy Gresham and county assessor Janie Hoffman confirmed the billing error last week.
Hoffman said she commented on Paulson Husman’s post that night, pledging to look into the bill the next morning and make a correction if it was needed.
Paulson Husman replied: “Thank you so much,” and added “Whew.”
Paulson Husman the next morning commented on the post that the billing was corrected to $5.
“I apologize for the shock,” Hoffman added.
Hoffman said in her office last week it was a clerical error by one of her staff members.
“Things like this just happen,” she said. “They’re easy to fix once we find them.”
Gresham said one of the assessor’s office staff members erroneously put an account number in a valuation field on Paulson Husman’s bill after being momentarily distracted.
Gresham expressed some irritation at the error being posted on social media.
“I don’t know why the hell she put it out on Facebook,” she said, then apologized for the epithet. “Her taxes have been routinely under $100. All she really had to do was call somebody. It was easy to see what happened.”
Gresham and Hoffman said that was the only error in the last tax-bill mailing of which they were aware.
On a related note, Hoffman during last week’s county commission meeting said she’d received numerous phone calls and social-media messages about increases to this year’s property-tax bills.
Noting that tax rates are set by the New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration and not the county, Hoffman said recent bond issues by the Tucumcari, Logan and House school districts primarily are responsible for the increases.