South Tahoe Public Utility District candidate profile: Eric W. Schafer
Occupation: Certified Public Accountant
Why are you running for election?
My family moved here in 1986. I have a significant record of community service:
12 years on the Lake Tahoe Unified School District Board
14 years on the STPUD Board from 2001-2014
Financial leadership as treasurer and board member for Tahoe Heritage Foundation, Kiwanis Sunrisers and South Lake Tahoe Chamber of Commerce
Full commitment to board member service and responsibilities
Comprehensive understanding of public finance
High desire to continue my service to our community
What are your qualifications?
48 years as a Certified Public Accountant; tax practice in Tahoe since 1994
20 years with National Accounting Firm as audit partner
Reputation for unbiased and fact-based decision making
Understanding of complex financial information and business operations
District budgets for 2018-19 are over $46 million; this is a big business
Leadership skills further evidenced by service to California Lutheran University:
Two years as Alumni Association president
Eight years as member of the Board of Regents, seven as Budget/Finance Committee chair
What is the No. 1 issue facing the District? How would you address it?
Infrastructure improvements and maintenance
Fire safety follows closely
Complying with the water meter mandate has reduced the opportunity to accelerate the District’s maintenance program. However, the recent acquisition of a better camera truck and increased inspection is providing prioritization of aging pipe replacement. The challenge is striking the best possible balance between District infrastructure needs with community resources.
The upsizing of waterlines, largely from small, private districts STPUD was asked to acquire, has been an ongoing priority for years. Also, the District should be applauded for organizing the Tahoe Water for Fire Suppression Partnership; this has brought $16 million in federal funding to public agencies around the lake.
Without the District’s organization and grant administration capabilities, this would never have happened. Including local funding, over $47 million in nine years has been used to increase water storage and capacity and install fire hydrants.
You address the needs by:
Continuing the District’s asset management program to identify and prioritize projects
Budgeting regular, affordable increases to service fees
Using our successful ($36 million) grant program to the fullest extent
Exploring new revenue sources; Diamond Valley Ranch has electricity generation, alfalfa sales and cattle grazing revenues
Annually reducing operating and maintenance expenses as much as possible
Why should voters select you to serve on the board?
My past service demonstrates the following:
Leadership skills and respect of other board members
Clear understanding of financial information
Listening to public concerns in conducting board meetings
Active participation in organizations outside the Tahoe Basin to enrich my knowledge of water and wastewater as related to the District
Belief that improving the environment is a consideration in every board decision
I am proud to have been part of making the District one of a handful of wastewater agencies in the world that can claim 100 percent reuse of both recycled water and biosolids
I offer dedicated service committed to listening and understanding community concerns.
I would appreciate and respect your vote.