LOVINGTON — While the value of taxable property in Lea County more than doubled last year, the tax rates have stayed much the same and the oilfield will pick up the tab — most of it.
At the request of County Tax Assessor Sharla Kennedy, and in compliance with state law, the Lea County Commission on Thursday certified tax rates for 2022 and issued an order to impose the taxes on property owners.
“The 2022 net taxable value is $15,189,711,507,” Kennedy told the commissioners. “This is an increase of $7,855,221,324 from the 2021 taxable value. This is a 107.1 percent increase. This includes all residential, non-residential, state assessed as well as oil and gas production and equipment.”
The oil and gas production increase alone was right at $6 billion while oil and gas equipment increase was just over $1.5 billion, for a total of $7,511,870,870 in increase taxable property value.
So, with the 2021 valuation at $7.3 billion and 2022 valuation at $15.2 billion, oil and gas accounted for 95.6 percent of the increase.
Residential taxable property values went up by $47,282,714, just six-tenths of a percent of the total increase, while the non-residential increase was $296,067,740, almost 3.8 percent.
While residential property tax rates in Hobbs increased three-tenths of a percent inside the city and two-tenths outside the city, Lovington saw an increase of six-tenths of a percent for residential properties both inside and outside the city and Tatum’s increase was four-tenths of a percent inside and two-tenths of a percent outside the town.
There were no percentage changes in taxes for non-residential properties in Hobbs, Tatum or Lovington, either inside or outside the cities.
But the cities of Eunice and Jal saw large decreases.
“Eunice and Jal, both of their rates went down and that’s because they paid off their school debt service,” Kennedy said. “Everything else either stayed the same or went up just a little bit.”
Eunice property tax rates dropped as much as 9.5 percent, depending on type and location of the property, while Jal’s reduction was even greater, up to 13.8 percent.
Actual rates are stated in mills or dollars per thousand dollars of value.
For instance, Lovington’s rate for residential inside the city in 2021 was $31.033 per $1,000 of taxable valuation. That rate increased to $31.207 in 2022, or up 0.6 percent. A house with an assessed valuation of $100,000 house, not counting discounts for head of household or veteran, would have been taxed $3,103.30 in 2021 and $3,120.70 in 2022, an increase of $17.40.
Taxpayers have the legal right to protest the assessments after receiving their notices in the spring of each year, normally in April.
“The state assessed has $687,870,571 in protest for 2022 and we have a total in non-residential protest for $5,138,885 and those have all been settled in informal meetings,” Kennedy said.
The following specifies each of Lea County’s incorporated community’s 2022 property tax rate picture, the amount and percentage changed from 2021 for residential inside the city (RI), residential outside (RO), non-residential inside (NRI) and non-residential outside (NRO).
Tatum: RI – $26.101, up $0.099, 0.4 percent; RO – $22.979, up $0.055, 0.2 percent; NRI – $32.447, up $0.011, 0.0 percent’ NR0 – $28.222, up $0.011, 0.0 percent.
Lovington: RI – $31.207, up $0.174, 0.6 percent; RO – $27.467, up $0.153, 0.6 percent; N/RI – $38.330, no change, 0 percent; N/RO – $32. 680, no change, 0 percent.
Hobbs: RI – $27.351, up $0.070, 0.3 percent; RO – $23.365, up $0.057, 0.2 percent; N/RI – $34.109, down $0.014, 0.0 percent; N/RO – $28.554, down $0.014, 0.0 percent.
Eunice: RI – $25.367, down $2.073, 7.6 percent; RO – $19.976, down $2.099, 9.5 percent; N/RI – $32.788, down $2.287, 6.5 percent; N/RO – $25.138, down $2.287, 8.3 percent.
Jal: RI – $23.555, down $2.922, 11.0 percent; RO – $17.924, down $2.880, 13.8 percent; N/RI – $30.710, down $3.027, 9.0 percent; N/ RO – $23.060, down $3.027, 11.6 percent.
Taxes on livestock also were certified at with no change for cattle or dairy cattle, 8.5 percent reduction for sheep and goats, 14.4 percent reduction for bison and 4.3 percent increase for horses.
The New Mexico Department of Finance and Administration developed the tax rates and issued its annual order to the county to examine and approve the rates then issue an order to the county assessor to impose the taxes.
The rates include all property taxes imposed by the state and local governmental entities, such as municipalities, hospitals and schools.