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Socorro considering property tax increase, residents outraged

KDBC
Thursday, September 5, 2013 - 11:20pm

Property taxes may soon go up in the City of Socorro.

The city is proposing a hike of a little more than 5%, and some residents are outraged at the idea of paying more.

At a meeting Thursday night, residents gave council an earful, speaking for almost two hours during public comments, and arguing that their elected officials aren't properly spending tax payer money.

Residents also insisted the city doesn't need to be raising property taxes as a way to make up for a funding shortfall for city projects.

Socorro is considering a property tax hike of $14 from last year, for the owner of a home valued at $80,754 - the average taxable value of a home in Socorro.

If council members approve it, residents would have to pay about $466, a proposed tax rate of $0.57 per $100 - that money would be used for infrastructure projects, such as improvements to city streets.

Many residents at Thursday's meeting argued that would just be the tip of the iceberg.

El Paso County has also proposed a property tax increase, and the Socorro Independent School District approved one back in June.

Residents said those increases coupled with this new one could really burden taxpayers.

"A lot of these people here in Socorro, they cannot afford it. A lot of the senior citizens, they're on social security, and Medicare or whatever, they cannot afford to get hit by all three entities," said Tommy Faulkner.

"We want them to use money from city savings, and to use them as much as they possibly can so that the people don't have to pay," said Sergio Jaime.

Three Socorro city council members support the tax increase while two do not.

Thursday evening's meeting was just a public hearing, and a final decision on the proposed increase will happen only after a budget for this upcoming year is approved first.

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