Election 2016: NLTFPD Board of Directors — read 4 candidate statements | SierraSun.com

Election 2016: NLTFPD Board of Directors — read 4 candidate statements

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — Four residents are in the race to fill three seats on the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Board of Directors.

The general election is set for Nov. 8. For the NLTFPD race, residents will be asked to vote for three of the four candidates; the top three vote-getters will be elected to the positions.

The three open seats are currently held by Dale Smith, Paul Zahler and Susan A. Herron. Herron is the lone trustee to file for reelection.

In Nevada, early voting for the general elections begins on Saturday, Oct. 22.

To better inform readers heading to the polls, the North Lake Tahoe Bonanza reached out to the candidates a couple weeks ago and asked each to provide a short biography, as well as a 750-word maximum candidate statement.

To read more about the candidates, to view early voting locations and hours, or anything else about local elections, visit the Washoe County Registrar of Voters web page at washoecounty.us/voters, and then click on “Election Information 2016.”

Below, you can read the candidates’ statements, which are printed verbatim (including typos and grammar errors) in random order:


Name: Denise Bremer

Age: 45

How long you have been a full-time Incline Village/Crystal Bay resident: 6 years

Current occupation: Real Estate

Formal education: Business Administration Degree from St. Norbert College, DePere, Wisconsin

Current and previous political/governmental experience: Six years as a Liberty Grove Town Board Member, Liberty Grove, Wisconsin (2000-2006); Ten years as a volunteer Firefighter and Lieutenant for the Sister Bay Liberty Fire Department (1998-2008)

Candidate statement:

I am running for the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District (NLTFPD) Board of Incline Village and Crystal Bay. Experience is the basis of my campaign. Before moving to Tahoe eight years ago, I was a Firefighter for ten years and was a local Town Board member for six years. I understand the fire service and their needs as well as being fiscally responsible and a voice of reason as a board member. As a Firefighter of the Sister Bay Liberty Grove Fire Department, I worked my way up to Lieutenant, Training Officer, Driver/Operator and Secretary/Treasurer. During my tenure on the Liberty Grove Town Board, I served on the following committees: Finance, Personnel, Planning, Highway, and Parks/Property. I have been attending the NLTFPD board meetings for the past year in preparation and feel that I am up to speed on how this Fire Board and Fire Department operates. At this time, the Fire Department runs efficiently and effectively. They remain in their budget each year and do not have unreasonable requests. I intend to continually monitor and assess the efficiency of the Fire Department. Our new Fire Chief was appointed in September and I look forward to what Chief Sommers has to offer the District. Thank you for your support. Vote Denise Bremer for North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Board. Thank you.


Name: Susan A. Herron

Age: 58

How long you have been a full-time Incline Village/Crystal Bay resident: Full time Incline Village resident for 18 years

Current occupation: Executive Assistant/District Clerk at IVGID

Formal education: Bachelor’s Degree in Business Administration

Current and previous political/governmental experience: Incumbent for the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District currently serving as its Board Chair

Candidate statement:

When Don Epstein left our community, I was appointed to complete his term. This appointment was an honor and I have since spent the last two years working hard on behalf of the beautiful community where we all live, work and play. I am currently the Board Chair and have most recently worked through the transition of Fire Chief. We are all very fortunate to have North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Fire Chief Ryan Sommers on our team! I support all the work done to date by the hard working men and women of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District and I will continue to bring to the table a different voice, an open mind, and a commitment to doing my homework on the topics that may present themselves. I value the service given to date by each member of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District Board and by each member of the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District. In order to allow me to continue my service, which is a core value of mine – giving back to the community where I live full time, year round, I kindly and respectfully ask for your vote on November 8.


Name: James Costalupes

Age: Sixty Three years

How long you have been a full-time Incline Village/Crystal Bay resident: Since 1974, 42 years.

Current occupation: Small Business Owner, James Costalupes, General Contractor Inc., licensed in Nevada and California.

Formal education: South San Francisco High School, 1971; College of San Mateo, 1973; Nevada State Real Estate Lic, 1999; United States Merchant Mariner; Master’s Licensed, 50 Ton, Inland Water’s, 2011

Current and previous political/governmental experience: None

Candidate statement:

As a Small business owner, we are held accountable for each and every commitment we contract for.

In Custom Home Building, Statutory and Fiduciary obligations require us to assume Financial Responsibility, and to be competent and of moral turpitude, if you wish to remain in business.

We are frugal and deliberate with our manpower and resources, and this is what I will offer to the North Tahoe Fire Protection District. We have no feelings of entitlement or tolerance for waste of funds… in other words, we are Bean Counters, as we are ALWAYS BEING SCRUTINIZED and held accountable.

I will offer my honest and humble talents for the business of running this (our ) Large Fire District.

I admit, I have no Bureaucratic Background , and I will need a break in period, but I will apply myself, and work diligently to be a credit to the Fire District.


Name: Greg McKay

Age: 63.

How long you have been a full-time Incline Village/Crystal Bay resident: 40 years

Current occupation: Retired

Formal education: Bachelor of Science, Business Administration, Chico State College .1975 Majored in Business Management, Minored in Marketing. Attended University of Nevada Reno M.B.A. Program from 1975-1977.

Current and previous political/governmental experience: Current: I have been the Chairman of the Nevada Off-Highway Vehicle Commission for the last two years. There are roughly 300,000 Off Highway Vehicles in Nevada. Our mission is to promote “Responsible Off-Highway Vehicle Recreation in Nevada.” Off-Highway Vehicle owners pay $20 a year to operate their vehicles on Public Land. These funds go into a Grant Program that funds law enforcement, public education and outreach activities, as well as studying, building and rehabilitating off-road trails and facilities. In my tenure we developed the appropriate regulations to disburse public money, got those regulations passed by our State Legislature, created a state and federally approved grant application process and then executed that process several times. I have also been the President of the Lake Tahoe Snowmobile Club for several years, a member of the Carson Valley ATV Club and the Central Region Director of the California- Nevada Snowmobile Association.

Previous: Served as an IVGID trustee from 1984-1988. Original Board Member of Red, White and Tahoe Blue. Served six years. Served two terms on the Lake Tahoe Federal Advisory Committee that advised the Federal Government how to disburse federal funds in the Lake Tahoe Basin. Represented the Nevada Local Government and the Nevada at-large positions. Member of the Pathway 2007 Planning Process for several years. Past Incline High Boosters Club President for two years. Past President of Incline Optimist Club.

Government experience while working for the Fire District: I worked for the North Lake Tahoe Fire Protection District (NLTFPD) from 1980-2010, retiring as Assistant Chief. I held almost every position (Fireman, Engineer, Captain, Battalion Chief and Assistant Chief) in that time. I know how the District works from a fiscal, logistical, political and operational basis. Wrote Incline Village’s original 10-year Hazardous Fuels Reduction Plan by coordinating with the United States Forest Service, the Nevada Division of Forestry, the Nevada Division of State Lands and the Incline Village General Improvement District. Shared plan and assisted neighboring Fire Districts in the Tahoe Basin to develop their plans. Assisted the USFS and neighboring fire Districts in preparing their 10-year Multi-Jurisdictional Hazardous Fuel Reduction Plan. Wrote several of our first Fire Districts Hazardous Fuel Reduction Grants (worth several hundreds of thousands of dollars). Oversaw the NLTFPD Insurance Services Organization Project which resulted in a better insurance rating for our District and better insurance rates. Participated in the construction of NLTFPD’s two newest Fire Stations. Past President Lake Tahoe Fire Chiefs Association.

Candidate statement:

I feel that I can have a positive impact on the future direction of our Fire District because I already have a good understanding of how our Fire District operates from a financial, personnel, operational, and community perspective. Being a resident of Incline Village for forty years and being involved in many community issues has given me an opportunity to know how this community feels and operates.

We have been blessed as a Fire District to have a supportive community, a fantastic employee group and a long history of responsible management from our Board of Directors. I look forward to working with the other Fire District Commissioners and building consensus on how to move forward.

The Fire District’s Mission Statement is to “Protect Life and Property thru the Efficient Delivery of Quality Community Services.” Our Fire District considers itself an “all-risk” Fire District. Our Fire District principally provides a multitude of capabilities including fire protection, emergency medical services and transport, many forms of search and rescue, fuels reduction and suppression services connected with our handcrew program, many forms of public education as just a few examples. I am familiar with all these programs and how they work.

These services are a result of a long history of team work and collaboration with many agencies and cooperating groups.

Having these many services forces us to be very aware of changes that are happening within and outside of our community. Our Board of Directors will face several challenges in the future. One is that our infrastructure will need upgrades. While the Fire District has built two new Fire Stations (our Main and Crystal Bay Stations) in the last 20 years, there are a few other structures that need attention as whether to upgrade, consolidate or remove. Station 3 on Mount Rose Highway is in need of a remodel to handle additional equipment and personnel space. The Fuel Handcrews building on 219 Enterprise needs extensive upgrades to its HVAC systems and networking capabilities. There also needs to be a plan to efficiently coordinate with what to do with the old fire station and administration building and how to most effectively account for those needs. Then there are the usual maintenance needs of all the facilities to maintain their condition.

Around 87% of the Fire District’s budget is dedicated to wages, salaries, and benefits. This is typical of Fire organizations which are always labor intensive. The rising costs of salaries and benefits (particularly health and retirement costs) are something the Fire District will have to continue to focus their planning and budgetary efforts. Staffing levels must balance budgetary with safety needs. We want to continue to hire the best employees for our Fire District as they are our greatest asset.

We must be sure to continue to ensure that we know the community wants and needs. A Board of Director’s principal job is to represents the citizens in their decisions. Combining our permanent and our growing second and third homeowner ownership we must continue our public education and outreach activities to be sure those needs are met.

We must also continue to coordinate with all our other emergency responders and first responders to maintain a good system of coverage. These entail organizations like our Community hospitals, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Department (and the CERT Team), Washoe County Emergency Division, the State of Nevada and the United States Forest Service. It is also essential to continue the long and positive relationship with the Incline Village General Improvement District on our many common interests.

In closing I would be honored to represent you on the North Lake Tahoe Board of Directors and will work hard to represent your interests.

Please vote for me in this general election.

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