By Susie Ouderkirk
On Tuesday, Feb. 2, voters in Las Cruces will be asked to go to the polls to decide on the outcome of a mill levy that, in a nutshell, will continue a tax to repair, maintain and renovate schools in Las Cruces.
Las Cruces Public School Superintendent Stan Rounds, in a recorded message, explained this mill levy already exists, and, if approved by voters, will continue to fund “repairs, maintenance, and renovations for all Las Cruces public schools.”
Referred to as the Two Mill Levy for School Capital Improvements (or SB9), the tax would generate “about 6.2 million (dollars) per year,” Rounds stated, for “major repairs and improvements, musical instruments, safety equipment and student technology.”
More specifically, issues to be addressed include roofs, heating and cooling, restrooms and playground equipment.
Approving the two-mill levy will not increase the current tax rate. It will maintain what property owners already pay to maintain our public schools, protecting taxpayers’ investments, Rounds said.
A mill levy is one way many state and local jurisdictions raise money from property taxes based on the value of the land each person or business owns. According to Mark Kennan on the website Small Business by Demand Media (http://smallbusiness.chron.com), “The mill levy represents how much of your property’s taxable value will be charged in real estate taxes. Each ‘mill’ represents a tax of one-thousandth of a dollar for each dollar of the assessed value of the property (from the prefix “milli-,” or “thousandth).”
Kennan goes on to explain (for what it’s worth), “To figure the mill levy, divide the amount of money that needs to be raised from the real estate tax by the taxable value of the land in the jurisdiction. Then multiply the result by 1,000. For example, say there’s a total of $100 million of property in the area and the government wants to raise $150,000 from property taxes. Divide $150,000 by $100 million to get 0.0015. Then multiply 0.0015 by 1,000 to find that the levy equals 1.5 mills.”
Las Cruces Public Schools Chief Communications Officer Jo Galvan said that in addition to the $6.2 million, the Public School Capital Outlay Council will match the funds for additional construction and remodeling projects. “But we have to have the Mill Levy funds to begin with.”
Money given to and used by Las Cruces Public Schools can be tracked by going to the LCPS website and clicking on the Sunshine Portal on the left side of the homepage. Links to all of the LCPS budgets, town hall meetings, overviews, presentations, audit reports and quarterly reports are available at the touch of a button.
On election day, regardless of where you live, you can vote at any of the 12 Voting Convenience Centers. Polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at:
• Branigan Memorial Library, 200 E. Picacho Ave.
• Desert Hills Elementary School, 280 Roadrunner Pkwy.
• Doña Ana Community Center, 5745 Ledesma Drive, Doña Ana
• Doña Ana County Government Center, 845 N. Motel Blvd.
• Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum, 4100 Dripping Springs Road
• Jornada Elementary School, 3400 Elks Drive
• Las Alturas Fire Station, 4145 Cholla Road
• Mayfield High School, 1955 N. Valley Drive
• Mesilla Elementary School, 2363 Calle del Sur in Mesilla
• Sonoma Elementary School, 4201 Northrise Drive
• Tombaugh Elementary School, 226 Carver Road
• University Hills Elementary, 2005 S. Locust St.
For more information about the election, call 527-5811 or go online at www.lcps.k12.nm.us.