Election 2014: Tahoe PUD board mulling at-large voting change
TAHOE CITY, Calif. — The Tahoe City Public Utility District is considering changing its method to elect board members.
Since the district’s inception in 1938, candidates have run for a seat number (1 through 5), with the top vote-getter for each winning it. The district’s five seats don’t represent geographical areas.
Based on public feedback from past elections, TCPUD is considering switching to a voting-at-large method, in which candidates run for all available seats.
A recent postcard survey sent to the district’s 3,132 registered voters and a newsletter survey to its 7,800 water and sewer customers found majority support for the at-large method.
The surveys cost the district $2,720, coming from its governance and support services budget, said Kelli Twomey, director of resources development and community relations for TCPUD.
The board of directors will vote on the matter at its 8:30 a.m., March 21, meeting in the TCPUD Administrative Office at 221 Fairway Drive.
Current directors have mixed opinions on the proposal, which fueled the collection of public input, according to the district.
Board vice president Erik Henrikson is in favor of staying with the vote-by-seat method, according to the newsletter survey, while director Ron Treabess supports switching to voting-at-large.
Among other reasons, one argument Henrikson cites is the current system works and there is no evidence to support a change in election method would result in better representation.
Treabess, meanwhile, argues that voting-at-large encourages candidates to promote what they can do for the district, versus running a negative campaign against a fellow seat runner.
If the change is adopted, it would be in effect for the Nov. 4 election.
Two seats are up for election this year — one held by TCPUD board president Dan Wilkins, the other by director Lou Reinkens.
Each director serves a four-year term.