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Las Cruces or City of the Crosses, is a thriving metropolis surrounded by desert and conveniently located less than an hour from El Paso International Airport. A university, vibrant cultural scene and mountain vistas enhance this oasis in New Mexico. Framed by the lush banks of the Rio Grande and the dry, jagged Organ Mountains, Las Cruces is New Mexico’s second largest city and one of the fastest growing in the United States. An economic, agricultural, tourist and cultural mecca in southern New Mexico, the city is the seat of Dona Ana County. Situated in the heart of the fertile Mesilla valley, Las Cruces has a reasonable cost of living, a warm and sunny climate, beautiful scenery, cultural diversity and educational opportunities.
For today’s active boomers who mix retirement relocation with second careers, Las Cruces continues to surpass job growth for any other metro area in the state outside of Albuquerque. Retirement dollars go a long way in Las Cruces, retiree can spend their newly acquired time contributing to the community, being active or volunteer. The robus list of volunteer organizations in the Las Cruces daily newspaper, the SunNews, confirms that volunteers are needed.
The city’s historic areas are filled with restaurants and a variety of museums and galleries. Any Wednesday or Saturday, stroll the downtown pedestrian mall and you’ll find local growers and artisans offering fresh produce and handcrafted wares at Las Cruces Farmers and Crafts Market.
The strong cultural presence of NMSU is the driving force behind a robust selection of performing arts theaters, chamber music and symphonic concerns and presentation of ballet, drama, comedies, and musical. There’s a lot to do outdoors as well. Golf, tennis, bicycling and miles of hiking trails can be enjoyed year round. According to surveys, articles and chamber information, retirees find Las Cruces an ideal retirement location.
The gross receipts tax is 7.125% in Las Cruces and ranges from 5.9375% to 7.375% in surrounding Dona Ana County. Sales tax exemptions: Prescription drugs, groceries and most services.
New Mexico uses a four bracket, graduated rate table. For single filers, ranges from 1.7% of taxable income of $5500 or less to 6% of taxable income over $16,000. For married couples filing jointly, ranges from 1.7% of taxable income of $8000 or less to 6% of taxable income over $24,000.
Depending on income level, taxpayers who are 65 and older may be eligible for a deduction from taxable income of up to $8000 each. Social Security benefits are not exempt. Unreimbursed and uncompensated medical expenses not already itemized on the federal 1040A schedule for the same year may be eligible for a tax deduction.
In Las Cruces the tax rate is $26.985 per $1000 of assessed value; in Mesilla, its $22.937 per $1000 of assessed value. Homes are assessed at 33.3% of the market value. Tax on a $195,000 home, minus the $2000 exemption below, would be about $1700 in Las Cruces and about $1445 in Mesilla.
$2000 of assessed value for heads of family and a $4000 exemption for veterans. Home owners age 65 or older or disabled, who have a modified gross income of $21,000 or less, qualify for a valuation limitation, which freezes the assessed value of a home beginning with the first year one qualifies. Homeowners must reapply yearly.
Las Cruces reports 159 houses of worship representing a wide variety of denominations and faiths.
The city enjoys substantial education opportunities with Dona Ana Branch Community College and New Mexico State University. Approximately 21,000 students are enrolled in higher education. Both NMSU 505-646-0111, and Dona Ana Community College 505-525-7500, are known for their adult and continuing education programs.
Las Cruces offers several major medical centers. Mountain View Regional Medical Center provides a full-service emergency room, specialized womens center, comprehensive intensive care services, surgical care and a specialized cardiology center. Memorial Medical Center is a full service hospital and serves as the acute care facility for the county. PromptCare, First Step Women�s Health and Pediatrics, the Family Practice Center, UNM Cancer Center and Memorial Ikard Cancer Treatment Center also offer quality service.
In Las Cruces, options range from restored or fixer upper homes to large custom built homes with acreage. County club master planned communities such as Picacho Hills 505-526-3818 offer a wide range of housing options. Home sites run $95,000 for a patio home lot on the fairway to $225,000 for a one acre plus site with valley views. Homes are prices from the low $200,000�s to $450,000 and up, depending on customization. Less expensive is the Country Club Estates subdivision with homes starting in the $150,000�s. The Village at Northrise 888-218-4013, offers independent living to complete 24 hour care. For those seeking a unique, energy efficient New Mexican home, Soledad Canyon Earth Builders 505-527-9897, builds rammed earth adobe custom homes.
Visitors can choose from 37 hotels, motels, bed and breakfast inns, or RV parks. Hotels include Fairfield Inn Las Cruces, with a year round outdoor heated swimming pool $65-$90 (505-522-6840); Hotel Encanto with 203 guest rooms $99-$149 (505-522-4300) and Comfort Suites $90-$120 (505-522-1300). B&B options include the 22 room Lundeen Inn of the Arts in the downtown historic district $58-$105 (888-526-3326) and Happy Trails B&B in Old Mesilla $85-$100 (505-527-8471).
Greater Las Cruces Chamber of Commerce, 760 W. Pichaco Ave. Las Cruces, NM 88005, (505-524-1968) or http://www.lascruces.org, other helpful websites : Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau, http://www.lascrucesbv.org, City of Las Cruces, http://www.las-cruces.org; Las Cruces Home Builders Association, http://www.lchba.com; Living in Las Cruces (a relocation guide) http://www.lascrucesrelocation.com; New Mexico State University http://www.nmsu.edu; and Mesilla Valley Economic Development Alliance http://www.mveda.com