Village of Questa (VoQ) Administrator and Finance Director Karen Shannon provided an update for the Village Council regarding the proposed lodgers tax and a potential increase to the gross receipts tax (GRT) at the September 26 regular meeting. There was no decision on either tax.
Shannon informed the Council that the Village will need time to consider the implementation of the lodgers tax, which is currently being reviewed by Village Attorney Chris DeFillippo. The Council agreed on January 1 as an optimal date for a decision on the lodgers tax, to give adequate time for businesses to weigh in on the issue.
“Part of the issue with this is we need to know when we’re going to start it so that we can make sure we have an ordinance written correctly and that we have the public hearings and advertisements for the public hearings,” lamented Shannon. “But we haven’t had anybody call in about this at all.”
VoQ Council meetings are usually attended by no one other than organizations speaking directly to the Council, individuals or organizations receiving accommodations by the Council, and the press.
Regrettably, the public seems to show little interest in attending meetings of their local government.
Regarding the potential GRT increase, Shannon corrected the record on the maximum increase available to the VoQ.
“I sent our ordinance to the New Mexico Taxation and Revenue Department,” said Shannon. “Questa’s current rate is at 1.4375 percent and the cap is 2.05 percent. The maximum available increase is 0.6125 percent.”
Shannon explained that the potential increase could be split between the VoQ’s general fund, EMS, fire, and police departments as it is intended to be used for public safety. Raising the GRT by the full amount of 0.6125 percent would place Questa at the same rate as the Town of Taos. This potential increase cannot be addressed again this year; it must be postponed until next spring.
Mayor John Ortega advocated for the rate rise because the VoQ needs more money for emergency department salaries making the positions more competitive with our neighboring municipalities. The Mayor expressed worry about losing our own emergency departments to Taos County, so the VoQ needs to raise their pay.
A recording of the September 26 VoQ Council meeting is available at Questa del Rio News’ Facebook page at the following web address: https://www.facebook.com/QuestaNews/videos/162971633529449.