The deadline for protesting the value of property in Socorro County is fast approaching, with April 29 being the final date residents can submit a protest.

Current property owners were mailed their Notice of Value at the start of the month, and each year, Socorro County Assessor Julie Griego’s office hears from residents about everything from increased values to asking for help understanding how to read the form they have been mailed.

The assessor’s office fields a variety of questions and attempts to be as transparent as possible. It also tries to ensure that taxpayers are getting the exemptions that are due to them. Those can include being a head of house, over 65 years of age (senior freeze), veteran status, and more.

One of the most significant aids the tax office has for taxpayers is its mapping system, which is now online, and the data contained in it will continue to grow. Currently, you can find two years’ worth of property values online.

“One thing we would like people to remember is that the lines are not exact, and only a survey will show you the exact lines of your property,” Griego said. “Those lines on the map are not survey lines. We just draw them based on the information that we have. We might not have any information, so it’s the process of elimination.”

A property owner can help with that process of elimination by bringing certified documentation to the assessor’s office that might determine a property line dispute.

One thing to remember is that while Griego’s office wants to be as helpful as possible, it can’t offer legal advice and sticks to valuing property and the associated business that comes with it.

Property values are on most people’s minds at this time of the year. New property owners and others buying property might be surprised to find out that Griego more than likely already knows about the transaction.

Griego is very hands-on in her work and checks the courthouse records for recorded deeds daily, which allows her to send assessors out to work the property as soon as possible. There may be exemptions to be reworked, or a cap of value may have been placed on the property.

While Griego likes to balance the scales, she is also legally bound to review properties as quickly as possible to ensure state guidelines are followed, and Socorro County valuations are set where they are mandated.

While Griego does keep a close eye on county records, the new owner has the burden of proof to let the assessor know they have assumed the title of a piece of property.

“It’s the responsibility of the property owner to come into our office and tell us they bought a piece of property. It’s your responsibility to make sure that you check those notices of values that come out. That’s your only notice from us. So that’s very important that you check that it’s right. Suppose the legal description isn’t what you thought. If you see a big difference in value, whether there is for the better or the worse, you need to come in and tell us.,” Griego said.

Residents can learn about the various exemptions available to them at the assessor’s office. A “senior freeze” will cap the value of your property, but that doesn’t mean your taxes won’t go up because there may be a change in the tax rate.

Property valuations and their exemptions can be confusing, but Griego wants Socorro County residents to know that her staff is there to answer questions.