Another new candidate running for the board of directors of the Cameron Park Community Services District is Vicky Neibauer, 55.
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Neibauer comes with a strong financial background because of her experience as a senior budget analyst with Sacramento County. She has been employed there for 30 years with the last 10 spent working in the County Executive Office. She also has a BS in accounting.
Neibauer said she has lived in El Dorado County for over 27 years and in Cameron Park for eight. For a number of years she lived in Latrobe and while there was president of the school site council. “We raised money and did the site planning for the library and later saw it built,” she said. “I also served on a committee to select a new superintendent for the Miller’s Hill Latrobe School District.”
She said as a county employee she has served on many selection boards and has been through a leadership academy and total quality management program. “Because of my leadership skills, I have been placed in leadership roles throughout my career and have been successful,” she said. “I have a very collaborative style and try to lead from within. I bring people with me rather than pull them. It’s the best and most successful way of getting things done and I’m successful at doing that.”
Neibauer says she is familiar with the board and its subcommittees because for well over a year she has attended every board meeting as well as many sub-committee meetings. She said she decided to run for office after attending a budget review committee. “I saw some very poor behavior on the board and among the public,” she said. “It disconcerted me. I also had real issues with the budget. After that night, I told my husband I was running for the board.”
Saying the district is in serious need of some collaborative leadership, Neibauer said, “We have funding issues, budget issues, and a lack of understanding of the budget. We also need to work on team building among the board, between the board and the administration, and between them and the public. People in the district deserve that. We deserve better than what we’re getting.”
Neibauer said she believes she is a better candidate for the board than Thuesen because she has spent more time on the issues and because of her attendance at board and sub-committee meetings. “But I wouldn’t say anything disparaging about the other candidates,” she said. “The community has to decide who they think they would be better served by. They need to look at what’s currently going on and who is best able to bring functionality and leadership to the board.”
Neibauer said she believes that various issues have resulted in the disrespectful rhetoric and discussions at some board and committee meetings. However she also said she finds the majority of the board’s current budget methodology fiscally irresponsible and has said so. “I don’t think it’s prudent to budget with the intention of seeing if revenue streams will produce sometime in the future,” she said. “I think it’s dangerous, especially in the district’s case, where for two years in a row we have been unable to find a way to budget enough revenue to cover our expenditures. Last year (2011-2012), we had over a $200,000 deficit. This year we had over an $82,000 deficit. Yet in both years, we were able to backfill that deficit with prior year budget savings. Nonetheless, these deficits were not being covered by current year revenues.
“In addition, a majority of the board passed this year’s budget knowing we continue to see declining property values. Revenue is also declining in recreation programs and the community center is budgeted to lose $150,000 this year. That’s a problem. Cameron Park can’t live with that kind of budget. They can’t. The good news is the board put away, for the first time, $130,000 in the fire department’s replacement equipment reserve. That’s a great thing. The real issue is this is the first year they’ve done this since 2005 when the plan was first approved by the board. They were supposed to put away $90,000 every year but this is the first year they’ve done it. But we’ve had to wait until an election year? We waited until we had a $345,000 savings? The savings this year is excellent for year-end. But we spent all of it short of $65,000. That is another dangerous thing.
“We also need to revise the master plan for the fire department but we don’t need to contract it out. (Battalion Chief Dave) Teter is up for it. It should be done in-house by those who know what they’re doing. Teter would be very good at it. You don’t need to spend that money. We are also spending a lot of money on legal services that don’t need to be going on.”
Saying there is a need for more collaboration and a common vision, Neibauer suggested putting together work groups, developing a strategic plan for the district and a marketing plan for the community center, and keeping what they do best in-house while contracting out the rest. “Maybe we need someone to market our community center,” she suggested. “Package the community center and lake for weddings. Offer Ribstock as a competitive program followed by a backyard barbeque event. Maybe we need a true marketing approach to go forward in a real organized, strategic way. That’s what I would promote. An organized strategic approach. We need to stop focusing on each other and focus on the community.”
Neibauer said she is very committed to helping the district. “I think I would be excellent,” she said. “I decided to do this independently and I’m pretty much doing it on my own. I have a Website but don’t do any fundraising. I really feel committed to the community. I’ve never been involved in anything this big before, but with my experience, my knowledge and skill set, I know I can help. We can keep Cameron Park a special place to live. If the community will allow me, I will do my very best to make this thing work.”
For more information, go to her election Website at ElectVicky.com.
Contact Dawn Hodson at 530-344-5071 or [email protected] Follow @DHodsonMtDemo on Twitter.