MEET THE CANDIDATES: North Tahoe Public Utility District | SierraSun.com

MEET THE CANDIDATES: North Tahoe Public Utility District

Sierra Sun staff

In advance of the November general election, the Sierra Sun reached out to area candidates, asking each why they're running for office, what's the biggest challenge facing their district and how they would address it.

The following are responses from four candidates who seek one of two open seats on the North Tahoe Public Utility District.

Sue Daniels

Age: Over 50

Hometown: Kings Beach

Occupation: Realtor for Coldwell Banker

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Website: votefor.LakeTahoeSue.com

Why are you running for office?

I am running for re-election to keep working on several projects in the NTPUD. I have helped manage over $12 million invested into our aging water and sewer systems and I've helped our parks acquire a new playground, restrooms, soccer field, dog park and now a world class tree top adventure course. I believe the Event Center is a locally owned asset that should be managed to encourage more access to all locals while providing excellent wedding, party and event space for public at large. I believe in protection of Tahoe's environment and well-designed water systems built for fire safety.

What is the most important issue your district faces and how would you address it?

As with most public districts, our finances are a continual challenge. Our water and sewer systems were originally built in the 1940s-1960s. Recognizing this, we have implemented 2-3 large capital improvement projects each year. At the same time, labor costs have continued to climb. We offer a comprehensive pay and benefit program to our happy employees. And our customer rates have not been raised since 2012. As costs to rebuild and operate our systems climb, I know we can re-allocate our funds and secure available grants to keep our rates steady and still provide all that we do provide. Each year I address each water, sewer and parks budget with a sharp calculator in hand. My goal is to keep our rates from going up any more than absolutely necessary, while continuing to provide all the obligations of the district.

S. Lane Lewis

Age: 62

Hometown: Kings Beach/Tahoe Vista

Occupation: Owner/operator Old Brockway Golf Course

Website: None for campaign; Oldbrockway.com for my business

Why are you running for office?

I am running for re-election because I feel that I am the most educated and experienced candidate on all of the issues the NTPUD is currently facing, and will face in the future. I have a record of proven leadership, proven experience, and a passion for and commitment to our North Lake Tahoe Community. I have been a property and business owner, in Kings Beach, for 37 years. I want to hand over to the next generation a NTPUD that is fiscally sound with adequate reserves, facilities that are state-of-the-art, rehabilitated infrastructure, and recreational amenities that are beautiful and well maintained.

What is the most important issue your district faces and how would you address it?

The NTPUD Board directed staff to conduct a recreation survey in 2017. This survey was quite telling, as 65 percent of ratepayers responded, "Keep the status quo" for funding. Therefore, as a district, we need to continue to find creative ways to aid in the funding of recreation, by establishing private/public partnerships. For example, the ropes course in the NT Regional Park provided $250,000 in additional funding to Recreation & Parks in its first year. I am fully in favor of private/public partnerships provided they do not compete with local businesses. I am very mindful of this. The Event Center in Kings Beach is a community asset. We will continue to seek community input, while working on a long-term solution to the sustainability of this incredible facility. This is our No. 1 challenge!

Pippin Mader

Age: 38

Hometown: Carnelian Bay

Occupation: Environmental engineer

Website: http://www.PippinMaderforNTPUD.com

Why are you running for office?

I am running because I think that the district needs clear, transparent leadership to maintain our vital resources and support our community. I have spent 13 years in public service as an engineer with the California Air Resources Board, working to ensure clean air statewide. I have extensive experience working with communities throughout the state to craft practical solutions to complex problems. I have the vision and experience to lead the PUD in a direction that better supports the district and its local members. Our community assets belong to the people, and I will protect them.

What is the most important issue your district faces and how would you address it?

I believe that the NTPUD needs to prioritize environmentally conscious, community-supported, fiscally sound decisions that protect our publicly owned assets. We need to ensure that our infrastructure is world class because the effect of any environmental spill is magnified in this pristine Lake Tahoe basin. The PUD needs to be looking at every economically feasible opportunity available to reduce our impact on the environment, invest in solar and other alternative energy sources, and reduce the effects of climate change. We need to make the same smart choices to improve our recreational opportunities, invest in the event center so that the public maintains control over this important asset, and ensure that locals and visitors alike can take advantage of all that the district has to offer. As a board member I will actively seek community input and focus on long-term investments instead of short-sighted quick fixes.

Alex Mourelatos

Age: 58

Hometown: Tahoe Vista

Occupation: Hospitality

Website: alex4ntpud.com

Why are you running for office?

The rate payers and community members of the North Tahoe Public Utility District deserve more value for the rates they pay and the services they enjoy. I would like the opportunity to provide my leadership experience and knowledge of North Lake Tahoe to the Board to deliver greater value.

What is the most important issue your district faces and how would you address it?

For the past two years, I have sat on the Recreation and Parks Commission, where I have worked with other community members and NTPUD staff to improve recreation services offered to the community, increase revenue to offset the cost of those services, and increase the community awareness of those services. We recently recommended a plan to revitalize the Event Center to provide increased community offerings and generate sufficient revenue to cover future costs. I have come to believe that the best way to continue this momentum is as an elected member of the NTPUD Board.