The Dec, 30, 2009, edition of the Bee-Picayune states in its front page, “lawsuit between county, BISD will hurt all taxpayers.” When the truth and fact is “BISD lawsuit against county will hurt all taxpayers.” BISD filed the lawsuit and ONLY BISD can withdraw and take the lawsuit out of court, something the editorial failed to mention. The county is ready and willing to continue to resolve this issue out of court.
The editorial states “after a study was supposed to be conducted on the rates, the county raised its fee by approximately $7,000.” There was NO “supposed.” It was conducted! This study was suggested by myself and school trustee Tom Beasley. We took this recommendation to our respective entities, with the understanding this would once and for all resolve our impasse on this whole issue. The BISD appointed Doug Arnold and the county appointed Joe Montez to conduct the study. After the study was complete, it recommended approximately a $7,000 rate increase on what the county had been contracting BISD to collect their ad-valorem taxes. The county stood by the “understanding”; BISD did not. What is more disturbing that to this date the BISD board of trustees as “a board” has yet to hear the report on the study conducted. A selective few have decided for the board on rejection of the study. The editorial failed to mention that.
The editorial also states that former Tax-Assessor-Collector Andrea Gibbud has repeatedly said that it should cost the county between $3,000 and $6,000 to do the collection of taxes for BISD. What the editorial failed to mention is that those figures Andrea has been preaching are not backed up by any study. Andrea’s figures come from her imagination and lack of concern or loyalty for the interest of the county she once represented as the tax assessor-collector.
The editorial also states “upon reflection, it would appear the county is overcharging the school districts” – indicating that the study the editorial first thought might not have happened has no merit, and like BISD the editorial refuses to acknowledge the results of study.
Finally, the editorial also fails to mention that the BISD can collect their own taxes or contract with the Bee Appraisal District to do so and leave the county alone. Yet they refuse those options, instead determined to have the county collect their taxes by filing a lawsuit and, yes, “hurting all the taxpayers.”
Carlos Salazar Jr.
Pct. 1, Bee County
Editor’s note: Commissioner Salazar is wrong about the front-page statement as nothing about the suit ran on the Dec. 30 front page. Salazar is stating the county’s position, but the BISD would beg to differ. The BISD contends it only filed suit when the county, through the tax assessor-collector and county attorney, threatened not to collect the district’s taxes only two days before statements were to go out. The BISD believed it needed a court injunction to preserve its tax revenue.
Simply put, if the goal of the joint study Salazar cites was to determine a fee, communicate it to both sides and have them sign off in agreement; it broke down somewhere or taxpayers wouldn’t be caught in this standoff.
Ham-handedness from the county and a contentious attitude on both sides is part and parcel of the stalemate between the county and BISD. Both sides need to come together in a spirit of cooperation with the taxpayers at heart for this to get done. Neither side is without claim or fault.