Property owners in Rocky Point were shocked to learn that the city government had raised property taxes by 1,000 percent for 2023. This came without notice or explanation, causing anger, and in some cases, financial hardship.

In our case, taxes on our three-bedroom, two-bath house, which is one tier and 275 feet from the water, went from $70 a year ($56 with the 20 percent discount for payment in January) to $630 or $473 with the higher, 25 percent discount for early payment. It wasn’t in the monthly budget, but it was doable.

The truth is, if we put our house on the market today, we’d be eager to tell potential buyers that the taxes are ONLY $473 a year.

Our community association sent everyone links to articles that explained the reasons behind the increase. This is the Readers Digest version:

The city has not increased property taxes or assessed property values for many, many years. In our little community of La Cholla, many of the lots were still recorded as vacant lots, though some really upscale homes have been built on them. That’s probably not as true in other areas.

In addition, the value of the peso has dropped from 10 to the dollar when we bought to 18.

Unlike city and state taxes in the U.S., all taxes collected here are sent to Mexico City and Puerto Peñasco must then petition the federal government for the funds it needs to run the city efficiently.

Peñasco has approximately 70,000 Mexican citizens. It also has another 100,000 tourist or seasonal residents who, although they bring a great deal of money to the city economy, create a huge impact on the local infrastructure.

When the city petitioned for enough funding to deal with the population, the federal government declined the request because it was beyond what 70,000 residents should need. When Peñasco explained the impact from tourists, the feds said, “Then get the money from the tourists.” So voila! (Or, “Listo!” en Español.)

We have all complained about the potholes, graffiti, trash, traffic sign and the burning dump. And we all knew that we were being seriously undertaxed for our properties. In a perfect world, the federal government would reward Peñasco for raising the funds and return to the city enough money to resolve those problems.

Most of us want to sit back in retirement, or on holiday, and just enjoy this magnificent area. Others may want to be more involved. If so, here’s a suggestion: Peñasco is composed of numerous “colonies” each of which has a “presidente” to represent the people in that neighborhood. Those representatives can attend the city council meeting and bring petitions to the city government for neighborhood improvements.

If you’ve ever wondered why an obscure area of the city suddenly has newly paved roads, it’s probably because their presidente is the squeaky wheel, constantly asking for grease – in the form of asphalt.

We all hope that the windfall of tax dollars we are providing this year will go to community improvements. It would be great to see what Mayor Jorge Pivac has planned. Hopefully there is a plan for things that affect residents the most – especially clean air.

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