Silver City >> Grant County Commissioners took the opportunity at their Tuesday work session to once again urge residents to vote in favor of an increase in the county's gross receipts tax for public works in the upcoming special election.
Ballots are being printed now and will be mailed out to Grant County residents on July 29. The measure, if approved, would raise the county's gross receipts tax to 6.44 percent, up from 6.19 percent - which, while higher, is still lower than other counties and municipalities in the state like Ruidoso, Espanola and Santa Fe.
The increase, if approved, would bring. The tax in Silver City would increase to 7.63 from 7.38 still lower than other counties and municipalities in the state like Ruidoso, Espanola and Santa Fe. Gross receipts tax is paid by everyone who buys goods or services in an area, not just the residents, so the small burden of the increase rests on visitors as well. The increased revenue the County would earn from the tax is planned to be used for community improvement projects and has had fully support from the Grant County Board of Commissioners since it's inception.
The first chance for a commissioner to voice his support for the measure came during Sheriff Raul Villanueva's monthly report.
Villanueva said that crime was up so far in July, largely because teens were out of school and getting into trouble.
"I'm looking forward to school starting back," he said. "Kids have nothing to do so they're out committing crimes."
"This is exactly the reason we really need people's help passing this gross receipts tax bond," Commissioner Gabe Ramos said, "so we can start forming some services for our youth. "They have nothing to do. They can't even go to a movie unless they want to drive 45 miles down the road. It is very important we get this done."
Commissioner Ron Hall and Commission Chair Brett Kasten echoed Ramos when it came time for their reports. Hall said he had been to a meeting in the Gila/Cliff region of the county where they were discussing setting up a youth center which could be made possible with the additional revenue from the tax increase.
Hall also took the opportunity to warn residents of the effects of flooding during the dawning monsoon season following the large Silver Fire.
"I've seen big trucks just blowing through areas with sand all over the roads," he said. "Please take these flood warnings seriously, people. It can be very dangerous, especially closer to where the fire was."
Indeed, Road Department Manager Earl Moore said that he and his crew had just cleared up four feet of mud from Bill Evans Road on Friday after the early rains of recent days. That was the worst Moore said he's seen so far, but it is still early in the season.
On Thursday's regular meeting, the Commission will vote on resolutions to enter into three separate cooperative agreements - with the New Mexico Department of Transportation proper, the Department of Transportation's School Bus Routes Program, and their coop projects - for aid in improving Grant County roads.
Benjamin Fisher may be reached at 575-538-5893 ext. 5803