Of taxes and commissioners:

county resident has her say

Editor:

At the Valencia County Commission meeting on March 19, 2002, Rita Padilla-Gutierrez asked the commissioners if the Valley Improve-ment Association was paying their fair share of county taxes. She stated that Valencia County was in a financial bind and any additional money would be a help to the county. Rita also asked to see the tax record. One county commissioner asked “Are you on a witch hunt?” A second commissioner told her to go to the VIA and ask to see their books.

Commissioner Alicia Aguilar told Rita to go to the appropriate county office and ask for the records. Isn’t this the county commissioners’ job? Were our commissioners more concerned with evading the question instead of answering it? The residents of Valencia County have the right to the correct answers to our questions without our integrity being questioned.

Even more surprising were the happenings at the next county commission meeting held on April 2, 2002. There were only eight people left in the audience as the others had left after concluding their business. The last item listed on the agenda was the county manager’s report on the jail. … When County Manager James Fernandez finished the jail report, he said Bob Davey wanted to speak about the VIA. Mr. Davey confirmed that the VIA had indeed not been paying taxes on land they owned. Commissioner Daves asked him directly if it was VIA land that the taxes had not been paid on. Mr. Davey answered, “Yes, we own the land.” Mr. Davey said he is willing to pay $500,000 in back taxes. How many years have these taxes gone unpaid? How many dollars in back taxes are owed by the VIA to Valencia County? Is the VIA willing to pay all the back taxes they have avoided paying in the past? Why didn’t the county commissioners have their staff research this issue?

Will the public get answsers to these questions at the commission meeting at 6 p.m. April 16, 2002? Be in attendance and see for yourself.

Clara Rehrer

San Clemente

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