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County Assessor Tanya R. Giddings presented her 2020 Property Valuation Maintenance Program and Annual Report to the Board of County Commissioners administrative meeting on Tuesday, June 30, 2020, for approval. The approved valuation maintenance program and annual report updates the board, and the public, on the overall effectiveness and efficiency of the Bernalillo County Assessor’s Office and convey logistical and budgetary requirements associated with the program.

As part of the County Assessor’s responsibilities, Assessor Giddings presents a written report setting forth improvements and additions of property added to valuation records during the year, increases and decreases of valuation during the year, the relationship of sales prices of property sold to values of the property for property taxation purposes, and the current status of the overall property valuation maintenance program in the county. The goal is to ensure compliance with the laws enacted by the NM legislature in order to accurately and impartially value property within the timelines set forth in NM Property Tax Code. The maintenance program is a comprehensive outline of how all departments within the Office of the Assessor work together, following the property assessment calendar, to locate, identify, determine, and maintain current and correct values of property and applied qualified legal exemptions ensuring the over 285 thousand taxable real property and personal property accounts in Bernalillo County are being treated and assessed, fairly and equitably. County commissioners use the program outline and its results to determine the efficiency and effectiveness of the work being done by the office to ensure there is adequate allocation of funds to fulfill the responsibilities and duties of the Assessor.

Assessor Giddings highlighted the Notice of Value (NOV) statements that were sent to Bernalillo County property owners in May for real property, residential and manufactured homes, and non-residential, commercial and vacant land, totaling 266,292 NOV’s sent out. In June, 19,126 NOV statements were sent to property owners with personal property accounts for business and livestock. The NOV statements notified property owners of their 2020 assessed property value for property taxation purposes as of valuation date January 1, 2020. The unprotested total net taxable value for Bernalillo County increased by 2.82% from $16.7 billion in 2019 to $17.2 billion in 2020. The amount of appeals saw a 24.99% decrease from 6,099 protests filed in 2019 to over 4,575 protest filed for 2020.

The presentation further outlined the processed, reviewed and analysis work performed by Assessor staff on 20,001 property transfers and ownership changes for real property, 10,761 building permits that were field checked which included 1,057 in new construction permits. For the reappraisal and maintenance of personal property, there were 4,274 business licenses and building permits that were reviewed and field checked, 18,314 business equipment reports that were processed, and 6,608 manufactured home rendition reports all entered into the Assessor’s Computer Mass Appraisal (CAMA) system to ensure the most current property data and information.

The annual data and statistical analysis portion of the property valuation maintenance program presentation for the 233,217 residential properties reported that 24,357 parcels, or 10.44%, saw a decrease in assessed value, 151,824 parcels, or 65.10%, saw an increase, and 57,036 parcels, or 24.46%, saw no change in assessed value. For the 25,593 commercial and apartment properties in the county, 561 parcels, or 2.19%, saw a decrease in assessed value, 314 parcels, or 1.23%, saw an increase in value, and 24,718 parcels, or 96.58%, had no change in value.

Residential property is to be valued at its current and correct value in accordance with the provision of the Property Tax Code of New Mexico, provided that the value of a property in any tax year shall not exceed the higher of either one hundred three (103) percent of the value in the tax year prior to the tax year in which the property is being valued. This state statute is known as the limitation on increases in valuation for residential properties, or the 3% cap. The limitation does not apply to a residential property being valued for the first time, any physical improvements made, a change in ownership or a change of use or zoning. Therefore, the Assessor maintains two sets of values, market, based on analysis of prior year market activity for current and correct values and the assessed value for ad valorem purposes recognizing the limitation on increases in valuation of residential properties.

The assumption, of property assessments frequently seen by the public, is that a 3% increase in assessed value is automatically applied to all residential properties every year, regardless of adjustments in the market, when that is not true. A property’s assessed value will adjust upwards, no more than 3%, if its’ assessed value is under the market value for its area. Just as true if it reached its market value then a property owner will see a no change or decrease in the assessed value as highlighted in the property valuation maintenance program report. The valuation date for taxable properties is January 1 of every year taking into account the market fluctuations of the prior year. For example, the January 1, 2021 values will reflect the changes to the market in 2020. Overall, the average percentage of market based cost values compared to assessed values in the county for 2019 was 91.26%.

“My philosophy is simple – treat everyone fairly and equitably,” County Assessor Tanya R. Giddings says. “I strive for an efficient, transparent, ethical, and professional county government agency where you can expect to receive the highest levels of customer service and attention.”

She went on to provide further data, detailing exemption applications that were processed and reviewed for residential property owners. This included over 5,007 head of family exemption application processed, 1,190 veteran and 300 veteran waivers, and for the limitation on valuation increases, otherwise known as the “Value Freeze” program, over 1,149 applications were processed. Other exemption and special method of valuation data information is outlined in the annual report section of the property valuation and maintenance program report.

Madam Assessor proudly discussed her vigorous community and education outreach program, highlighting the cooperative partnerships with community, state and county governments, to detailed educational information and videos accessible to property owners through the Assessor website and social media pages, and to the benefit of informed Assessor staff assisting the public. Being accessible to property owners is central to the responsibility of the Office of the Assessor. Assessor Giddings highlighted her staff’s accessibility to property owners were not interrupted because of website information, telephone, and virtual means during the COVID-19 health pandemic when the decision was made to close down the office to the public, staff were assigned to work by tele-commuting beginning in early March. In June, the opening of the two walk-up transaction windows located on north side of the Assessor’s Office, allowed for further tax payer and Assessor staff interaction to address property information, assessment and exemption needs while protecting the staff and health of our community as the office closure remains in effect.

In her final statements, Assessor Giddings again proudly highlighted her Team and staff for their dedication and professionalism, and always going above and beyond in service to our county and state.

The valuations, that the office produces, funds many aspects of state and local government – from public education, community programs, first responders, and infrastructure projects. Through this program the Office of the Assessor supports the growth and stability of Bernalillo County.

You can find the full 2020 Property Valuation Maintenance Program and Annual Report, and many more helpful property assessment information by visiting www.bernco.gov/assessor.

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