Officials from both cities will discuss possible hikes on Tuesday

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FARMINGTON — Two local cities are considering raising gross receipts tax rates.

The Aztec City Commission will discuss increasing its gross receipts tax rate by 1/8th of 1 percent during a work session at 5 p.m. Tuesday at Aztec City Hall, 201 W. Chaco St.

The Farmington City Council will discuss two possible gross receipts tax increases during its 6 p.m. Tuesday council meeting at 800 N. Municipal Drive. That includes a 1/4th of 1 percent increase and a 1/8th of 1 percent increase.

Neither city will approve increased rates yet. The city of Farmington is considering the tax increases as an option, along with expenditure reductions. The City Council will further discuss the tax increases and expenditure reductions during a special work session on Aug. 14.

On its agenda, Farmington states it is publishing the two draft ordinances regarding the tax increases as part of an effort to be transparent. The agenda states the city may not necessarily approve raising taxes.

In addition to declining reserves, the city of Farmington is facing the phase-out of so-called "hold harmless" funding from the state. The state provides the city with hold harmless funding to offset the money the city previously collected from taxes on food and medicine.

Aztec’s 8 percent gross receipts tax rate is already the second highest in the county. Bloomfield has a gross receipts tax rate of nearly 8.2 percent and has enacted every increment that it is allowed to implement under state law. The 8.2 percent includes the city's share as well as the county and state's shares in the gross receipts tax.

The city of Aztec has an approximate 3 percent gross receipts tax rate, Bloomfield is more than 3.2 percent and Farmington's is about 2.7 percent if the state and county portions are not included. The cities do not have control over the state and county rates.

If Aztec wants to have an increased tax rate take effect Jan. 1, it would need to adopt an ordinance raising the tax rate during its Sept. 11 meeting.

Aztec may appoint Mueller as city manager

The Aztec City Commission work session will be followed by a 6 p.m. meeting. The meeting includes a closed session to discuss appointing a new city manager.

Commissioners likely will appoint Steve Mueller as the new city manager. Mueller has been serving as interim city manager since former City Manager Joshua Ray left in October. Mueller was the city’s general services and parks director.

According to the agenda packet, the city will pay Mueller $104,000 a year if he is appointed as city manager. The contract also includes a stipulation that would allow Mueller to resume his position as general services and parks director if he chooses to resign or the commission asks him to step down prior to June 1, 2020.

County, Bloomfield will also meet

The San Juan County Commission will consider a resolution supporting the Stepping Up initiative that aims to reduce the number of people with mental illnesses who are incarcerated. The commission meets at 4 p.m. at the county offices at 100 S. Oliver Drive in Aztec.

It also will hear an update about the drought and the fire ban. The commission also will discuss which infrastructure projects it will prioritize in the upcoming years.

the Bloomfield City Council will discuss some budget adjustments, as well as its final fiscal year 2019 budget during its 6 p.m. Monday meeting at 915 N. 1st St. in Bloomfield.

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