What’s going on w/ skyrocketing assessments on commercial real estate in Sandoval County?

There has been a spate of reports recently about soaring property tax assessments in Sandoval County. The Rio Rancho Observer had a detailed report and so did KOB TV. According to Sandoval County Assessor Linda Gallegos, “some properties were underassessed.” That MAY be the case, but the following assessment increases are unaffordable for many businesses:

  • The parking lot at Turtle Mountain went from $51,024 in 2023 to $324,608 in 2024, an increase of $273,584, or 536%, over the previous year.
  • Elevate also saw its property value spike, going from $1.3 million in 2023 to $6.6 million this year.
  • Joanna Boothe State Farm was valued at $179,857 each year from 2018-23. This year the value is listed at $548,910.
  • Guerrero Village went from $906,462 to $2,195,886 (a 142% increase).

Gallegos defended the increases saying, “Increased demand and higher sales prices in Sandoval County are the primary drivers of assessment valuation. Our role is to analyze the market in estimating the market value of the property. We also are aware that nonresidential property owners are alarmed by significant increases. This is why we encourage any property owner who feels that their property value is incorrect to file a protest and come forth with evidence to help us determine the correct assessment.”

Jerry Schalow, President of the Rio Rancho Chamber, said in response, “I’ve heard a lot of concerns around this. Based on the sample review, we see anywhere between 30% to 600% increases in the value. The small businesses that have already experienced 20% inflation over the past two years on top of wage inflation, a commercial property that is assessed at a higher value will also include higher property insurance rates.”

At RGF we have seen several dramatic increases including one of 240%. Commercial property owners are NOT protected by the same laws as are residential property owners. Unfortunately, it DOES seem like the assessor Linda Gallegos has taken it upon herself to “stick it” to the commercial real estate taxpayers of Sandoval County. Outside of an appeal which needed to be filed by May 1, there is not much that one can do. Highlight the issue and find a more pro-business assessor in the future.

Furthermore, the assessor operates largely on their own. This is yet another elected office with tremendous power to make what amount to life-and-death decisions for businesses. You MAY not think these down-ballot races matter, but they do.