Deborah DeMack started writing letters to county officials months ago, when she first noticed astronomical jumps in the assessed value of the home she bought through Santa Fe's affordable housing program. ---
Her letters have risen through the chain of command; the latest is addressed to New Mexico House Speaker Ben Luján and Taxation and Revenue Department Secretary Dorothy "Duffy" Rodriguez. But it doesn't seem to matter. No matter where she sends them, DeMack's letters get a single, uniform response: Silence.
DeMack's complaint, first reported in SFR's June 23 cover story, revolves around property tax assessments she says have risen astronomically in the past two years—even though any increase over 3 percent per year is forbidden under New Mexico law.
For DeMack, the concern lies in her ability to sell the house, her tax rates—and the question of how County Assessor Domingo Martinez is actually measuring property values. But despite her letters, and a formal complaint filed with the assessor's office, DeMack says she hasn't heard a thing.
"It's been total silence: Nobody calls, nobody writes me [back]," DeMack tells SFR. "The only response I've ever gotten from anybody was a July 12 letter from [County Assessor's Office Attorney] Bridget Jacober."
Since then, DeMack has sent letters to city, county and state officials. Her latest draft is posted below.
When SFR met with Martinez and Chief Appraiser David King in July, they told us they were working on updating the county's new tax-assessment computer system—and that glitches and the decision to load affordable homes into the new system first were contributing to erratic assessment values. (Read the interview here.)
SFR currently has calls in to Martinez, Tax & Rev Deputy Director Michael O'Melia, who received an Aug. 29 letter from DeMack but has yet to respond and House Speaker Ben Luján, who sponsored the bill imposing a maximum 3% increase per year in property assessments. We'll keep you posted. For now, here's the situation in DeMack's own words.
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