[Editor's Note: This is the eighth of a series of articles on the Grant County Commission work session on March 12, 2024. It continues the review of the March 14, 2024 regular meeting agenda and covers county reports at the regular meeting.]

By Mary Alice Murphy

Grant County Manager Charlene Webb continued the March 12, 2024 work session review of the March 14, 2024 regular meeting agenda by noting elected officials' reports would come next.

At the March 14, 2024 regular meeting of the Grant County Commission, the first came from Treasurer Patrick Cohn.

He reported the total taxes collected for the month of February totaled $193,749.47. That raised the taxes collected to date to $9,160,461.34, for a percentage collected at 65.75 percent. Taxes uncollected for the year to date totals $4,771,276.69.

The total 10-year collection percentage stands at 92.61 percent, with a total of $114,631,300.19 collected, leaving the uncollected 10-year total at $9,144,289.11.

Cohn said his department was preparing to send out the first delinquency postcards to people, who need to pay as soon as they can to prevent their properties going to auction the end of June. The reminders usually bring in some tax payments.

"I'm also looking forward to the second half tax collection beginning April 10 and ending May 10, 2024," Cohn said. "I would also like to welcome Rachel Torres to the Solid Waste Department. She's very motivated and inspired to hit the ground running."

District 3 Commissioner asked Cohn, "for the public's knowledge and my personal knowledge, could you please tell us the tax schedule - when should people expect their first tax bill, their second tax bill. Please just remind us."

Cohn said: "Normally, we bring the tax roll from the assessor's office starting in October. Then I develop tax bills and they are mailed by Nov. 1. First payments are due between Nov. 10 and Dec. 10 for the first half or in full. If you choose to pay in two halves, the second half is due April 10-May 10. If you fail to pay your first half by Dec. 10, you will accrue a $5 penalty charge and 1 percent interest on your first half. It continues until you pay your first half. We don't send out another notice for second half because the first notice has an option to pay half during the appropriate time frames. If you do not pay your taxes within three years, your property is sent over to the state Property Tax Division and that's when we have a public auction by the state for tax-delinquent properties. "

"I really want to work with our property owners," Cohn continued. "I want to keep the money in Grant County, not going to the state. I've talked to a lot of property owners, and we are working with them. I want owners to feel comfortable coming in and talking to me and working out a way to pay off their delinquent taxes. I do allow a few people to prepay, but only right now for the 2024 tax year, not following years."

Sheriff Raul Villanueva presented the next report. He said the calls for the month of February totaled 1,671. including 38 welfare checks and 45 animal complaints. "We investigated 17 domestic violence calls and had one suicide. We initiated 212 traffic stops."

He then addressed cases of interest, which included a missing person on the evening of Feb. 1, 2024. The husband noted that she usually did not go out that late. He had checked throughout the house and around the home. Because she has dementia, she was entered as a missing endangered person in the NCIC (national crime investigation center. State Police was contacted and initiated a search and rescue plan. She was found about 11 p.m. and checked out by EMS. She was returned home safely, with a referral to Adult Protective Services.

On Feb. 4, deputies responded to a call in regards to a runaway. After talking to the girl, who had been thinking about running away, but had not, sheriff's' deputies filed a child abuse report to CYFD on the father and gave custody to the mother until further investigation.

On Feb. 15, deputies responded to a domestic disturbance between husband and wife. The wife waited outside for law enforcement and told them her husband had fired a shot toward her head, but she managed to dodge it and did not get hit. The husband was transported to the Grant County Detention Center for arraignment, as he was being charge for attempted murder and aggravated assault with a deadly weapon.

On Feb. 22, 2023, deputies responded to a call in regard to a vehicle at an intersection and a male lying on the ground with a firearm. After investigation, the death was ruled as suicide.

Villanueva said the department is looking into hiring another certified officer in March and possibly two uncertified officers. "I would also like to welcome Anthony Macias to the department as he started earlier this year. We also lost Marcus Salas to the Bayard Police Department."

He noted the office has received $13,000 from the U.S. Forest Service to conduct forest runs within Grant County, especially patrols in the campground areas.

Fiscal year 2022 Stonegarden operations continue to be active in Hachita and Highways 180, 152, and 61. "The 2023 funding has been approved, but we are still waiting on a confirmation from FEMA before we start expending funds for equipment. Meetings are being scheduled with Border Patrol and friendly forces to commence budgets for 2024 later this month."

Villanueva noted that multiple operations have been conducted by the FAU (fugitive apprehension unit) utilizing JAG (justice assistance grant) funding. The unit has conducted surveillance on multiple residences known for active warrants and narcotics. In February, FAU had 12 arrests with active felony warrants. "The new taser 7s purchased with FY 20 JAG funding have finally arrived. They will be deployed to patrol once taser training is complete. We have received all six new vehicles from Alamo Auto Supply fully equipped. We have one waiting to be decaled at J&J Signs. All the others are done and out in the field."

He gave special recognition to Alamo Auto Supply for completing the "up fitting of all six new vehicles in a timely manner. I would also like to thank J&J Signs for decaling all our new vehicles."

With no other elected official reports, commissioners at the regular meeting approved minutes from past meetings.

Finance Director Linda Vasquez presented the financial report at the work session, covering the period from Jan. 31 to March 5, 2024. Expenditures totaled $5,528,962, including two pay periods, VPO (?) clerks over 240 hours for 2023 and pay corrections totaling $501,913.32. She also included the list of extraordinary expenses over $10,000 in the following PDF.

Commissioners approved the expenditure report at the regular meeting.

The next article will begin with new business items.

To read the previous articles, please visit https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/83233-grant-county-commission-holds-work-session-031224-part-1; https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/83277-grant-county-commission-holds-work-session-031224-part-2; https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/83348-grant-county-commission-holds-work-session-031224-part-3; https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/83364-grant-county-commission-holds-work-session-031224-part-4; https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/83386-grant-county-commission-holds-work-session-031224-part-5; https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/83406-grant-county-commission-holds-work-session-031224-and-regular-meeting-031424-part-6; and https://www.grantcountybeat.com/news/news-articles/83418-grant-county-commission-holds-work-session-031224-and-regular-meeting-031424-part-7


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