AZTEC — Members of the Aztec Board of Education started the process that will lead to a special public school capital improvements tax election on May 7 at a special meeting on Tuesday night.

Aztec residents had voted 411 to 273 against continuing the capital improvements tax on Feb. 5. The continuance would have included an increase of a little more than 11 cents, from $1.886 per $1,000 of net taxable property value to $2.

That tax, a mill levy, had been in effect since the 1930s, according to Aztec Municipal School District Superintendent Kirk Carpenter.

If voters approve the new measure, it would go into effect on July 1. The money primarily funds building maintenance and campus technology. The two departments together have an annual budget of approximately $1.4 million.

The new tax proposal does not include the increase included in the defeated proposal. It would yield less money for the school district than the previous six years, Carpenter said.

"The mill money is something important for our students, our staff and the upkeep of the district. So we feel like we want to go out again," Carpenter said.

He said the election paperwork had to be filed by March 1 in order to allow a May election. If the paper were filed with the San Juan County Clerk's Office after March 1, the election would have to wait until the start of a new fiscal year in July.

"I feel like (if) we have this done before the end of the school year, that would be more beneficial than having a summer election," Carpenter.

The Feb. 5 vote was the first time Aztec residents rejected a capital improvements tax.

In his last meeting as a board member, Wayne Farmer said the levy is essential to running the school district.

"We have many maintenance issues," Farmer said. "You skip your roofing projects, you have rotted walls and rotted floors. It's just a snowball effect, without having the mill money, it's like having a car and not changing the oil."

Voting will be conducted in the Aztec Municipal School District Administration Building at 1118 W. Aztec Blvd. Registration for voting in the special election will be closed at 5 p.m. on April 9.

Joshua Kellogg may be reached at jkellogg@daily-times.com; 564-4627. Follow her on Twitter @jkelloggdt.