Want to be elected? Local park districts, school boards and more still need candidates
The clock is ticking for residents who want a chance to be more involved in Nevada County’s decision-making process. With the candidate filing deadline on Friday, a variety of positions up for election this year have yet to see any contenders emerge.
For some districts, the deadline will be extended five days due to lack of sufficient candidates to fill the ballot or because an incumbent has decided not to run again.
For example, the Bear River Recreation and Park District has four openings, but only three people had filed Wednesday. This district is responsible for recreational programs and park facilities for 22,000 residents and has meetings once a month.
“I certainly have enjoyed the time that I have spent,” said current board member Nancy Guerland, who was appointed in April to fill a vacated position and now must run in November to keep her seat.
Guerland said she decided to become involved because her daughter benefited from the programs the district offered, and “after my daughter went to college, it gave me time to focus on the bigger picture.”
Nobody has expressed interest in being on the boards of two districts that could be created this year – the Nisenan and San Juan Ridge recreation and park districts. When residents vote for the formation of the proposed district and the accompanying $25 special tax to finance it, they will must also choose new board members – five for each board.
If the districts are approved, the boards’ responsibilities will be similar to the Bear River Recreation and Park District Board. Members would adopt a budget, design a master plan and consider funding options, said SR Jones, executive officer of Nevada County Local Agency Formation Commission.
Jones said the beginning days of these boards would be busy, but she said she knows these communities are the “roll up your sleeves and dig in” type of people.
Other special districts have duties such as maintaining roads. The Mystic Mine Road Community Service District, for example, is responsible for maintaining a road near Bitney Springs that has about 100 parcels, said Chairwoman Sushila Merten.
The district was formed in 1983 and relies on money from district residents who pay $123 each year to keep the board running. Meetings are held six times a year, and Merten said that this year the biggest problem is the budget.
“We have had a little budget crisis, so we actually haven’t done anything with the road in the last year. We are looking at the five-year plan and what needs to be done,” she said.
School district and fire district boards are also seeking board members. Positions are still open on almost all of the fire district boards and several of the school board districts in the western county.
The North San Juan Fire Protection District board has three positions open for the district, which covers a large geographical area that stretches to Bridgeport and all the area around North San Juan. If the incumbents, Peter Goering and Matthew Gross, do not file by Thursday, the deadline will be extended.
Robert Paulus hopes to keep his North San Juan seat and said he has enjoyed his four years on the board.
“It can be very trying at times; we have pretty lively meetings,” he said. Paulus is a former chief of the California Department of Forestry and said he ran because a few people asked him to when he retired. This board also meets once a month, and Paulus said that the biggest issue this year is “staying within our budget and budget constraints.”
If there are still not enough people to fill the district board positions, the Nevada County Board of Supervisors will appoint people to fill the slots, said county Clerk-Recorder Kathleen Smith.
If you have questions about this year’s election, call the Nevada County Elections Office at 265-1298.
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