Court rules Jicarilla Apache Nation must pay tax

The New Mexico Supreme Court on Friday ruled that the Jicarilla Apache Nation must pay an increased tax on a 32,000 acre ranch.

The tribe's Lodge at Chama was initially valued at $2.1 million. The tax assessor in Rio Arriba County was treating the property as agricultural.

But the county reassessed the property at $21.3 million and said the ranch could no longer be considered agricultural because the tribe is using it as an elk habitat. Therefore, the property taxes would increase from $15,000 to at least $110,000.

The tribe had challenged the higher taxes and won at the court of appeals. But the Supreme Court, in a 2-1 decision, upheld the county's view.

The tribe is trying to have the ranch placed in trust but the county opposes the designation.

Get the Story:
Supreme Court sides with Rio Arriba in tax dispute (AP 9/4)

Get the Decision:
Jicarilla Apache Nation v. Rio Arriba County Assessor (September 3, 2004)