After a campaign that was often marked by rancor and accusations, one new board member was elected to the Georgetown Divide Public Utility District and an incumbent was returned to office.
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Incumbent Norm Krizl won out against challenger Pat Snelling 57.6 to 42 percent with Krizl crediting his reelection to name recognition, experience, and a desire by the community for continuity.
Looking ahead, Krizl said staffing is the biggest challenge facing the district. “By spring we will be down seven or eight employees from a year ago. If this keeps up, Hank (White, general manager) will be answering the phone. The Auburn Lake Trails treatment plant retrofit is also ahead.”
When asked for her response to the election, Snelling said, “The people have spoken. I just didn’t have enough time to get the word out.”
Joining the board for the first time is Maria Capraun who bested Bonnie Neeley 59 to 40.6 percent.
Capraun said her first goal is to address the policies and procedures of how to conduct a board meeting as well as the policies of the district. She also said she wants to take up the district’s projected budget deficit by seeing where costs can be cut.
Saying she appreciates all the support and input she has received from those in the community, she said she wants to make the district more fiscally responsible and customer oriented.
In response to her loss, Neeley said she was really sad for the district and shocked at the election results. “I didn’t know the community had so little faith in me,” she said. “I can’t believe people would vote for someone (Capraun) who sued the fire department and is not a ratepayer.”
Aside from worrying about the staff whom she described as nervous about the election outcome, she wondered if Otermat, McLane, and Capraun might eventually vote to reinstate health benefits for the board.
Neeley went on to say in an e-mail, “Serving as director of GDPUD was a wonderful and educating experience. It was the first public political office I’ve held. I learned a lot about the complexity of the water district, even though small, since all districts have to follow the multitude of state and federal regulations.
“I found the district, through its employees, of great value to the Divide. Amazingly productive. professional, business-like, and in the last year, they all performed well, and with integrity under various pressures. They say one can measure a man by how well he performs under stress. An A plus for everyone. As far as the board itself, quite an experience. At times, smoothly running, at times lost in the roadside, and then again, each member’s attempt to bring their personal decision, values into the whole. It will be interesting to watch how the district evolves under changed leadership,” she said.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.