Quay County Sun - Serving the High Plains

School board puts tax on ballot


October 24, 2018

The Tucumcari school board on Oct. 15 approved two resolutions that would place renewal of the existing “Two Mill” property tax on a February special-election ballot.

Unlike previous elections, however, the Feb. 5 election won’t be decided at ballot boxes. It instead will be a mail-in election where an estimated 4,400 registered voters in the school district will receive ballots weeks before they are tallied.

The Quay County Clerk’s office first will transmit ballots to qualified overseas voters, such as those in the U.S. military, by Dec. 21. The office then will mail ballots to registered voters in the school district by Jan. 8.

County Clerk Ellen White said her office will record mailed-back ballots as soon as they arrive. She said voters also can bring the ballots to her office.

White said the school district received a preliminary estimate of $5,500 for the special election. That doesn’t count returned, nondelivered mail, which costs 47 cents apiece. She said no one is sure how many pieces of mail that will involve.

This also will be the Quay County Clerk’s first mail-in election.

“It’ll be an education process,” White said.

The school district will pay the costs of the special election. The Two Mill measure requires a simple majority from voters for passage.

Mail-in balloting is part of the Local Election Act, which consolidated many nonpartisan local elections in New Mexico. The new law also forced a vote on renewing a longtime one-eighth-cent gross-receipts tax for Dan C. Trigg Memorial Hospital in Tucumcari. That measure will be decided during the Nov. 6 election.

The Two Mill question is a renewal of a $2 tax per $1,000 of property value. It would cover the tax years of 2019 through 2024.

The question states the property tax could be used for erecting or remodeling buildings, buying property or improving school grounds, maintenance of buildings, buying activity vehicles, buying computers and software, and buying and installing technology improvements.

Tucumcari schools superintendent Aaron McKinney said the Two Mill is vital for the maintenance of buildings and vehicles in the district.

“It helps keep us afloat,” he said. “We can’t do without it.”

According to the school district, the Two Mill generates about $223,000 a year.


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