Five candidates are vying for four seats on the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District Board of Directors.
The election, which takes place Tuesday, May 6, inclues three incumbents, Jim Cox, Lori Miller and Robert Sollenberger, and two newcomers, Kelly Greene and Joseph Newhart. Miller was appointed to her seat and is running to serve out the last two years of the term. All other seats will have four-year terms.
Early voting is underway and eligible voters of the fire district can submit their ballots from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday until May 5 at Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Station 10, 401 Blue River Parkway in Silverthorne.
Election Day voting will take place from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Station 10; Station 12, 0434 Summit Drive in Summit Cove; and Frisco Town Hall, 1 Main St.
Meet the candidates
Jim Cox, incumbent
During his first term, Cox served as board treasurer and vice president. Cox also serves as a representative to the Summit County Wild Fire Council, of which he is a founding member.
A resident of Summit Cove, and of Summit County for more than a decade, Cox has a history of serving on several boards and of volunteering, including positions with the Snake River Fire Protection District and the combined Snake River Fire and Lake Dillon Fire Board prior to the merger, as well as several HOA boards, the Snake River Sewer Fund Citizens Advisory Committee and the Lake Dillon Fire-Rescue Fire Corps group.
Cox also is a deputy coroner with the Summit County Coroner’s Office and an active volunteer with the U.S. Forest Service, The Summit Foundation, the Lake Dillon Theatre, the Summit Historical Society and at various events throughout Summit County.
“My concerns are that the district continue to provide for the needs of our firefighters and support personnel, while keeping within the district’s budget and providing the district with the best possible service,” Cox said in a statement. “In addition, I feel that the district should continue to explore possible combinations or mergers with other districts or entities that would provide mutual benefit to the district while realizing costs savings and efficiencies without affecting service levels or personnel.”
Robert Sollenberger, incumbent
Sollenberger, a resident since 2007 of the Willowbrook neighborhood in Silverthorne, is a retired U.S. Navy captain and a former volunteer firefighter and paramedic in Virginia. After moving to Colorado, Sollenberger joined the Summit County Rescue Group and has served on his HOA board and the Silverthorne Police Department Citizens Advisory Committee. He also had a four-year term on the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District board.
“Of the major issues facing the district in the next four years, the possible merging of the Summit County Ambulance Service with Lake Dillon Fire and Red, White and Blue Fire is of particular immediate concern,” Sollenberger said. “Combining my previous fire and EMS background with my experience on the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District board, I am well-qualified to ensure that every reasonable option is carefully considered, with the goal of pursuing the best course of action to provide the citizens of the district with the highest possible level of emergency fire, rescue and EMS services that they have rightfully come to expect.”
Lori Miller, incumbent
Miller, a Mesa Cortina resident since 2004, had a 28-year career in fire service beginning in 1985 with the Boulder Fire Department and ending in 2012 as chief of the Red, White & Blue Fire Protection District.
Miller holds an associate’s degree in fire science, a bachelor’s degree in education and a chief fire officer designation from the Commission on Professional Credentialing. During the last four years, Miller has served as an advisory board member to the Colorado Mountain College Fire Science program, in which she gained experience assisting with setting direction and goals for the program and evaluating its effectiveness.
“I believe my knowledge and experience in budgeting, international accreditation, wildfire planning, public education and firefighter safety will lend itself positively to being an effective board of director,” Miller said in a statement. “As a taxpayer and former fire chief, I am acutely aware of the fiscal responsibilities a fire district has to its citizens and guests.”
Greene moved to Summit County almost 40 years ago and in that time he has lived and worked primarily within the boundaries of Lake Dillon Fire Protection District, including a 30-year career with the fire district.
During his career, Greene was involved with fire district budgeting, as well as fire and EMS strategic planning and change implementation.
“I have a deep passion for the emergency services in Summit County and I believe I have the knowledge, the energy and the commitment to help guide the fire district into the future,” Greene said. “If elected, I would be honored to represent the taxpayers of the Lake Dillon Fire Protection District by serving with integrity and never taking the responsibility lightly.”
Newhart is another candidate who brings previous firefighting experience to the race, having served from 1988 to 1994 as a volunteer firefighter with a suburban fire department in Texas. In addition, Newhart served as the building committee chairman, overseeing the construction of three new fire stations. He also was a member of that department’s board from 1991 to 1994, serving as president in 1993 and ’94.
Newhart holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology and worked for 31 years in the petroleum industry. Before putting his degree to work, Newhart served in 1969 and 1970 as a damage control officer in the U.S. Navy, where his duties included training in firefighting techniques for members of the ship’s crew.
A relative newcomer to Summit County, Newhart moved here two years ago but has owned property for a decade.
“I want to utilize my emergency service and management skills and to serve the community as a board member,” Newhart said in a statement. “Over 25 years of my experience was in exploration and production management in both domestic and international assignments, which included budgeting, stewardship and strategic planning.”