San Juan County Commission will consider taking first step in possible GRT increase

Commissioners also will vote on approving interim budget

Mike Easterling
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Members of the San Juan County Commission will consider taking the first step in an extended process that would raise the gross receipts tax by 1/16th of 1% when they meet this week.

Commissioners will gather at 4 p.m. Tuesday, May 25 in their chambers at the County Administration Building, 100 S. Oliver Drive in Aztec. Included in their agenda is a proposal to approve a notice of intent to adopt a GRT increase. The proposed 1/16th of 1% tax hike would be dedicated to emergency communications, and emergency medical and behavioral health services.

If the commission approves the notice of intent, the ordinance would be placed on the commission agenda for a public hearing and formal approval on July 6. If commissioners vote in support of the item at that point, it would go to San Juan County voters for their approval during a referendum on Nov. 2.

Mike Stark

According to San Juan County spokesman Devin Neeley, the tax would not go into effect until July 1, 2022. Disbursement of the funds collected from the tax would not begin until September 2022, he said.

MORE:Music on the Pond fundraiser highlights full slate of chamber activities

The tax increase would raise an estimated $1.6 million to be used for operations and equipment upgrades to meet standards, Neeley said.

Commissioners will deal with a crowded agenda for this week's meeting. The list of items to discuss also includes the possible adoption of an interim budget of $130 million for Fiscal Year 2022.

An interim budget must be approved by the county by the end of the month and sent to the state for its approval. Commissioners will approve a final budget after the end of the fiscal year in June, a document that also must be approved by the state.

The proposed budget is highlighted by a planned 3% merit raise for all county employees. County Manager Mike Stark said county employees have received only 3% cumulative raises over the last five years, and he cited their compensation as one of his chief concerns during a May 11 budget workshop for commissioners.

MORE:Farmington hospital allows limited visitation for COVID-positive, non-respiratory patients

Stark has said the proposed interim budget is not only balanced, but that it features a 36% cash reserve above general fund expenditures — a sum that far exceeds the cash reserve requirement mandated by the state.

Members of the public may attend the meeting in person, but masks are required. The meeting also will be streamed live on the San Juan County YouTube page.

Mike Easterling can be reached at 505-564-4610 or measterling@daily-times.com. Support local journalism with a digital subscription.