What to know about the Feb. 5 school district elections

Ballots should be postmarked by Jan. 31 to reach clerk in time

Hannah Grover
Farmington Daily Times
Aztec High School students use computers Jan. 10, 2019 that were paid for using mill funding.

FARMINGTON — Registered voters who live in the Aztec and Bloomfield municipal school district or Central Consolidated School District boundaries received ballots in the mail this month.

The ballots are asking voters to approve extending existing mill levies.

Voters have until Feb. 5 to cast their ballots.

What is a mill levy?

A mill levy is a type of property tax. Each mill is equal to $1 for every $1,000 of net taxable value. The net taxable value is a third of the market value of the property.

Voters are being asked to approve extending existing 2-mill levies in Bloomfield and CCSD. In Aztec, voters are being asked to approve a 2-mill levy that will replace an existing 1.87 mills.

How will this impact property taxes?

Property owners in the Bloomfield and CCSD boundaries likely will see little to no change in property tax if the mill levy is approved.

Aztec-area property owners could see a slight increase in property tax. A house with a market value of $150,000 would see an increase of $6.45 annually, according to numbers from Aztec Municipal School District.

If the mill levy does not pass, property taxes could decrease.

Why is the Aztec Municipal School District asking voters to approve an increased mill rate?

Aztec has traditionally had a 2-mill levy. In 2013, that mill levy failed. The school district had a second election, and a 1.886 mill levy was approved, according to Superintendent Kirk Carpenter. That meant the Aztec school district could not impose more than 1.886 mills.

The district currently has 1.87 mills imposed. Those mills expire this year. The district is asking to replace the existing 1.87 mills with 2 mills. That will increase the property tax by 0.129 mills.

What will the mill levy fund?

The money generated by the mill levy will fund maintenance and technology purchases at schools. It does not fund salaries.

School district superintendents say the mill funding is essential for operations.

How do voters cast ballots?

Registered voters should have received ballots in the mail. The envelopes have instructions on the back. Ballots must be filled out using black or blue pen. Voters must sign the return envelope, which is marked “Election ballot enclosed,” in order to have their vote counted.

The election is mail only, which means there are no polling places. All ballots must be returned to the San Juan County Clerk by 7 p.m. Feb. 5. That means the ballots should be postmarked by Jan. 31 to ensure they reach the clerk's office by deadline. The ballots also can be delivered to the clerk’s office during business hours. The clerk’s office is located at 100 S. Oliver Drive in Aztec.

Why aren't there polling places?

The Local Election Act, which was passed during the 2018 legislative session, changed school district elections. The mill levy election is considered a special election. The Local Election Act requires all school district special elections to be mail-ballot only.

Special elections can only be held for ballot questions, including recall elections. A special election cannot be used to fill vacant elected offices, according to the New Mexico Secretary of State's Office.