County Commission to discuss tax, Navajo Lake

Hannah Grover
Park Superintendent Gary Skiba looks across Navajo Lake March 4 near the Pinon Loop campground.

FARMINGTON – The San Juan County Commission will discuss two taxes and law enforcement at Navajo Lake State Park during a meeting Tuesday evening in Aztec.

The commission is considering ordinances that would repeal one tax early, repeal the sunset clause — which will get rid of the tax at a certain point in time — on another tax and discuss a New Mexico State Parks Division plan to change the boundaries at Navajo Lake State Park.

In January, Commissioner Jack Fortner brought up the possibility of repealing a 1/16th of 1 percent gross receipts tax that was enacted in 2014. The tax will sunset later this year and is one of two taxes that the commission approved about two years ago to deal with an unexpected deficit. The commission will also consider repealing the sunset on the other tax — a one-eighth of 1 percent gross receipts tax — that was enacted in 2014.

The commission also will discuss a plan that New Mexico State Parks has been working on that could cause the San Juan County Sheriff's Office to take over some law enforcement duties at Navajo Lake State Park. Based on the plan, the state park's boundaries would shrink, leaving the sheriff's office with more territory to patrol. Some county officials fear the impact that could have an impact on the budget. The state agency has managed the land at Navajo Lake State Park through an agreement with the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation since 1963.

Park Superintendent Gary Skiba walks along the Navajo Lake Marina at Navajo Lake State Park at Navajo Dam on March 4.

During a commission meeting on March 1, San Juan County Sheriff's Department Undersheriff Shane Ferrari told the commission about the plan, which he said the sheriff's office learned about in January. The sheriff's office fears it may be required to patrol about 15,000 acres of land currently patrolled by four park officers.

Hannah Grover covers Aztec and Bloomfield, as well as general news, for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652.