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Eddy County leaders get words of Wisdom; Audit headed by Jerry Wisdom shows large portion of oil and gas equipment not reported for tax purposes

Eddy County Manager Rick Rudometkin addresses county commissioners during Tuesday's meeting in Carlsbad. (Mike Smith Photo)

Copyright © 2021 Roswell Daily Record

CARLSBAD — Jerry Wisdom visited the Eddy County Commission earlier this year and Tuesday he made a return appearance.

Wisdom is with Total Assessment Solutions and his company was hired last year to conduct an audit on behalf of Eddy County Assessor Gemma Ferguson and her office.

Wisdom’s company has been identifying the valuation of oil and gas property in Eddy County. The audit was put in place after the Assessor’s Office raised a red flag saying that oil and gas companies may not be reporting and paying taxes on their properties in the county.

Wisdom gave a report to the commission back in March and during Tuesday’s update, he told those gathered that personnel from his office have driven over 150,000 miles during the last year inspecting pipeline markers, aboveground pipes, well bores, natural gas compressors and other pieces of property associated with the oil and gas industry.

“Half are being reported and half aren’t,” Wisdom said of those gas compressors.

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Wisdom estimated that nearly $201,000 was being omitted on some pipelines in the county. He said that $177,000 has been collected and the remaining balance, “will be billed.”

He said over 700 miles of post-production pipeline has been mapped and “378.52 miles have been omitted.”

Wisdom added that his company plans to get more information from the state and “work back.” He also gave commissioners and county staff a current update on the project.

“The assessor is sending letters to compression companies,” he said. “The assessor has also sent first notices to nine additional companies concerning omitted pipelines.”

Wisdom said Total Assessment Solutions is also looking at omitted pipelines installed from 1969 to today.

Ferguson said money uncovered by the audit will be going to the three county school districts.

Wisdom added the report is “helping the county and the state at the same time.”

Former Eddy County Commissioner Royce Pearson agreed.

“Many thought this was a bad move,” he said.

Pearson said $350,000 in new money has been discovered for the county bank account.

“This is all about downstream pipeline (businesses) and looking at pipeline companies,” Pearson said.

Pearson said the work by Wisdom’s organization will also help those involved in public safety in the county.

“EMS and fire services people will be receiving some good maps from the county,” he said. “Hats off to Gemma Ferguson and her staff and certainly to the company retained to do the audit.”

General assignment reporter Mike Smith can be reached 575-622-7710, ext. 307, or at sports2@rdrnews.com.