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SAD Frequently Asked Questions
Q: What is a Special Assessment District?
A: Special Assessment Districts are a means to provide property owners infrastructure that was not built at the time the subdivision was created. The state of New Mexico refers to such subdividing of land as “Premature Platting”.

Q: Why does the developer not have to build the required infrastructure?
A: Developers of planned subdivisions are required to build the required infrastructure associated with their development. However, as a result of the premature platting having been performed long before the city of Rio Rancho existed (incorporated in 1981) there is no single developer of the subdivision. Each individual property owner when he/she builds on the individual property owned is the developer of that lot. Therefore the SAD mechanism does place the cost of the infrastructure on the developer who, in this case, is also the individual property owner.

Q: Does my vote count?
A: The city of Rio Rancho normally uses the Provisional Order Method for initiating Special Assessment Districts. In this method the only votes are those of the members of the Governing Body. However, the city of Rio Rancho does poll the property owners to reflect their desire to participate in a Special Assessment District and the results of this poll are presented to the Governing Body prior to their votes being cast.

Q: How much will my assessment be?
A: The amount of the assessment is first estimated by the design engineer so a cost may be compared to the benefit to the property. This estimated amount is available at the time of Resolution 2. However, the actual amount of the assessment will not be known until bids are received from the contractors and the low bidder is identified. This information is mailed to each property owner and is presented at the Assessment Hearing.

Q: How am I notified that my property is in a Special Assessment District?
A: The address used for this mailing list is obtained from the County Assessors Office. Therefore, the mailings are sent to the same person and address that the county property tax bills are sent. It is thus in your best interest to contact the county tax assessor’s office to verify that they have the correct name and contact information. It is best if you provide them with both the physical address (if one exists) and the legal address. For the legal address be sure to provide the Unit number, Block number, and Lot number for each lot of concern.

Q: When will I be notified that my property is in a Special Assessment District?
A: At the very beginning of a Special Assessment District the city sends out a poll to each property owner to reflect their desire to participate in a Special Assessment District. The poll is not part of the legal SAD process and is therefore only sent via regular mail to the same address as the county property tax bills. The legal SAD process notifications such as those for the Benefit Hearing and the Assessment Hearing are sent via certified mail.

Q: When do I have to pay my assessment?
A: Assessments may be financed through the city or they may be paid in full during the cash pay period. On the average it takes about a year from the time a Special Assessment District is started to the time of the Cash Pay Period. If the assessment is financed the pay back period and schedule is set in the Assessment Ordinance after Resolution 4.

Q: What is the interest rate if I decide not to pay the assessment during the cash pay period?
A: The interest rate is set by the New Mexico Finance Authority at the time the bonds are sold.

Q: How long do I have to pay the assessment?
A: If the assessment is financed the pay back period and schedule is set in the Assessment Ordinance after Resolution 4.

Q: Can I “opt out” of a Special Assessment District?
A: In general the answer to this is no. However, in some instances the inclusion of a particular property may not be required from an engineering perspective.

Q: What if I want some of the infrastructure improvements but not all?
A: Inclusion of infrastructure improvements is determined based on engineering research. Therefore, the improvements either will be included or not be included based on engineering principles.

Q: Can I get more improvements than those proposed?
A: If the inclusion of additional improvements is supported by engineering research and the other SAD participants then it may be possible. Such changes are governed by the maximum benefit to the property, the cost of the improvements and the timing of the request.

Q: Who can I contact for further information?
A: You may contact either the city engineer or the city’s SAD Engineer by calling (505) 891-5016 or by sending a letter to:
City of Rio Rancho
Department of Public Works
3200 Civic Center Circle NE
Rio Rancho, NM 87144
Attn: SAD Engineer