Upper Blue Sanitation District election raises eyebrows
summit daily news
SUMMIT COUNTY – Locals will vote in four special-district elections regarding fire and sewer services across the county Tuesday. While these are ordinarily low-key campaigns, the Upper Blue Sanitation District race has raised a few eyebrows.
“It’s exciting,” district manager Andy Carlberg said of the election, which occurs every two years. “They only get better.”
David Jefferson, Barrie Stimson and incumbent board member Robin Theobald are running for two four-year seats on the district’s five-member board.
Support for Jefferson, of Jefferson Construction, has included automated phone calls of endorsement from Mayor John Warner as well as postcards sent to voters.
“I think more of it is just to make sure everybody knows there’s an election,” said Jefferson, who lost by six votes in the 2008 sanitation district election.
The Breckenridge resident said he aims to support local water quality and “add some value to the oversight of construction at Farmer’s Korner” where the district is expanding a wastewater treatment plant for about $34 million.
Carlberg said he investigated stories that a district employee was campaigning door-to-door against Jefferson on work time, which is against district policy. As of Saturday, he had found no wrongdoing.
“I do take it very seriously,” Carlberg said. “But at this point it’s just a rumor … It’s unfortunate it came up.”
Theobald, who lives in unincorporated Summit County, has served about eight years on the board. He said he wants to see through a successful treatment plant expansion and the expansion of sewer services in Blue River before retiring from the board.
“The reality is Farmer’s Korner isn’t out of the ground yet, and we’re not in the ground in Blue River,” he said. “I want to be there when the ribbon’s cut.”
Theobald said that while local governments have had to make difficult budget cuts, the district has sustained itself.
And the policy of making growth pay its own way has proven successful, he said. The treatment plant expansion was financed through tap fees, and no property-tax increase was necessary.
“The district has been well-managed. It has a clear mission,” Theobald said.
Stimson, owner of Colorado West Real Estate Group, came in fourth among eight candidates in last year’s Summit School Board election for three seats.
The Blue River resident anticipates the sewer expansion in his town, which was recently annexed into the district.
“The option of having sewer in an area that is predominantly septic will be nice in the future,” he said. “I’d like to be part of that process.”
He said he also anticipates supporting a “friendly relationship” among the district, Breckenridge, Blue River and the county.
Other district elections Tuesday include Lake Dillon Fire Protection District, Red White and Blue Fire District and Frisco Sanitation District.
The fire districts will be electing board members while voters in the Frisco Sanitation District will decide whether $397,682 in grant money may be used on a disinfection system for the treatment plant.
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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