APS asks public to approve property tax increase | KOB 4
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APS asks public to approve property tax increase

Brittany Costello
January 08, 2019 05:19 PM

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.- New Mexico’s largest school district is asking voters to approve a property tax increase.

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Mail-in ballots were sent out Tuesday.

Over the next six years, APS is asking for about $900 million. If approved, a person with a home worth $150,000 would pay about 100 dollars more a year in property taxes.

District officials said the money would be sued to rebuild, repair and refresh more than 100 schools.

“We have to have that to maintain our current facilities,” said Scott Elder, APS chief operations officer. “That’s 190 million over the next six years to keep the schools running, cool, whatever it needs to be.”

Elder said the money would also go toward new technology, a security command center and security.

“Things like perimeter fencing, classroom locks, door access so people have less access in the school,” Elder said.

Paul Gessing, president of the Rio Grande Foundation, a free market policy research institute in Albuquerque, said APS is asking for a lot from homeowners.

“First and foremost, they just built a $20-plus million training facility, brand new, not for the students at all. It’s for training teachers. We all want well trained teachers but you have to wonder if you really needed to build a very expensive facility when you say you have all these other needs.”

From his perspective, Gessing said APS had other options to obtain money.

He said the district could sell its old property, consolidate schools and working with the legislature.

“There are other options, other avenues available but it’s up to the voters to say, 'No APS, you have to do something more creative than just coming back and asking us for more money.’"

Gessing and school officials will be at a public forum Tuesday breaking down the pros and cons to the bond/mill levy package.

It’s hosted by the League of Women Voters of Central New Mexico from 6-7:30 p.m. at the KANW radio station at 220 Coal Avenue SE.

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Brittany Costello

Copyright 2019 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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