LL mill levy to help with maintenance

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There are no new taxes or any tax hikes in the Los Lunas Schools 2 mill levy election coming up on Tuesday, Feb. 5, said Claire Cieremans, the district CFO. It's an old tax the district would like voters to continue.

"It's a big boost to the schools," said Los Lunas Board of Education President Charles Tabet. "Without it, we'd really be sunk."

"It's very important that we get this passed," Cieremans said. "And most importantly, there's no tax increase. We are just asking for the voters to continue the property tax they are already paying."

This election is back-to-back with the general obligation bond and 3 mill levy election of last year, but after this election, there won't be another election for three years, Cieremans said.

The 2 mill levy election comes up every six years, the 3 mill levy is every five years, and the GO bond elections are every four years.

Basically, 3 mill levy funds are used for technology improvements, bonds are used for construction projects, and 2 mill levy money is used for maintenance of the schools.

The 2 mill levy funding cannot be used for anything other than capital assets, which is the upkeep and improvements of buildings, fields, playgrounds and includes pest control, tree trimming, field fertilizers, sidewalk repairs, roof repairs, fencing and custodial supplies.

If the 2 mill levy doesn't pass, those maintenance costs would have to come out of the district's operations budget, Cieremans said, but with confirmation of the continuation of the 2 mill levy, the New Mexico Public Education Department offers a financial match when the ad valorem taxes are approved.

The state match is based on the district's 40-day student enrollment count.

Basing the monetary impact of the 2 mill levy on this year's figures, the district would receive roughly $1.4 million from property taxes, plus $950,000 from the state match, and total about $2.3 million annually for the maintenance and repair of the 17 district schools over the next six years.

"Every year, the property tax assessments change depending on properties coming in or out, and different things like that," Cieremans said. "So, for this particular year, it's $1.4 million that we received from the ad valorem tax."

The levy is about $2 per $1,000 of assessed property value annually. For a property valued at $100,000, the cost to the homeowner would be about $200 per year.

Some of the projects identified in the district's five-year fiscal plan for safety include a new PA system and fire alarm system to replace the aged systems at Valencia Elementary, an electronic marquee for Peralta Elementary, upgrading kitchen equipment district-wide, plus heating and cooling replacements as necessary along with the regular maintenance and repairs for all schools.

"All of our students benefit from this money," Cieremans said.

Voting locations for the Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2 mill levy and board of education election include the Valencia County Clerk's Office at 444 Luna Avenue in Los Lunas, Daniel Fernandez Campus, Ann Parish Elementary, Bosque Farms Arena, Isleta Head Start, Los Lunas Elementary, Meadow Lake Community Center, Tomé Community Center, Sundance Elementary, Peralta Elementary, Desert View Elementary and the Los Lunas Schools Administration Building.

For more information call, 866-2080.


-- Email the author at dfox@news-bulletin.com.