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North Tahoe PUD, special district boards take shape

Rebecca O’Neil
Special to the Tribune

The North Tahoe Public Utility District operates out of Tahoe Vista. All 3,683 of the voters who participated in the special district’s 2020 election hail from Placer County. Five candidates — two of them incumbents — vied for four positions on the board. 

Incumbent Sarah Coolidge garnered the majority with 1,110 votes.

“I am honored that North Shore recognized the value of what we have accomplished at the NTPUD and that they voted to send me back for four more years,” Coolidge said. “It is exciting to be given the opportunity to solidify our infrastructure work and continue our collaborations with other local agencies, all of which supports a vibrant local community.”

Coolidge said her appreciation for the election’s outcome extends to the results of many other races in the area.

Coolidge said she is grateful that the board opted into open elections — as opposed to challengers targeting a specific incumbent — in 2016.

“We decided on open election years ago in order to get people more involved as opposed to fighting against each other for a seat,” Coolidge said. “If the people want someone new, let them vote for it.”

Danielle Hughes is a newcomer to the board, and received 893 votes. Hughes is the capital program manager at the Tahoe Transportation District. Her campaign website indicates Hughes’ career trajectory has given her professional experience working on water quality, restoration, recreation, technology and transportation.

Coolidge said she believes the board will continue to work well together with its newest member.

“We’ve had a wonderful board in the past and I believe we will continue to have one,” Coolidge said. “I respect all the education and work Danielle is doing, so I’m sure she’ll be a great addition.”

Pending election certification, incumbent Phil Thompson secured the third available seat on the board with 855 votes, or 23.21% of the district’s support.

Tim Ferrell received 821 votes, currently losing the election by 34 votes.

Coolidge said the board makes crucial financial decisions to ensure the district’s infrastructure is safe and replaced in a timely manner.

Truckee-Donner Recreation and Park District

Incumbents Mark Tanner and Jason Hansford appear to have secured the two available positions on the Truckee Donner Recreation and Park District.

Hansford led with 2,466 votes from Nevada County, and 274 votes from Placer County, giving him a total of 2,740.

Hansford said he looks forward to returning for another term to offer continuity to the district as the nation transitions out of the COVID-19 era.

“Getting back to normal operating procedures is the first order of business,” Hansford said.

Hansford said regardless of surges in the pandemic, his board maintains focus on providing services that best serve the needs of the community.

“I think it’s important for board members to have an open dialogue and be receptive to community input,” Hansford said. “Our staff do a great job and make it easy for board members to make choices.”

Tanner led the way in Placer County with 357 votes of ballots cast. Between the two counties, Tanner received 2,517 votes total.

Tanner said he feels fortunate to continue his service for district.

Tanner said he is looking forward to establishing stability and balance between the district’s finances and facility maintenance.

“(I’m) looking to opportunities to add to our base,” Tanner said. “I’m really looking forward to 2021 and beyond.”

Lori Marquette received 258 votes from Placer County and 1,977 votes from Nevada County, bringing her total to 2,235.

TRUCKEE DONNER PUBLIC UTILITY DISTRICT

Jeff Bender is the frontrunner in the race for the Truckee Donner Public Utility District board.

Bender received 239 votes from Placer County and 2,508 votes from Nevada County, for a total of 2,747 votes.

Kim Harris’ Placer County votes totaled 227. Combined with her Nevada County votes, she has a total of 2,617 votes. 

Bob Ellis and Joseph “Joe” Aguera vie for the third available position on the board. 

As of Thursday morning, the counties recorded 122 votes from Placer County and 1,799 votes from Nevada County, giving Aguera 1,921 votes total. Ellis receive a total of 1,905 votes from district members in both counties.

Aguera currently is beating Ellis by a 16-vote margin. 

The top three vote-getters will be seated on the board. The vote total is incomplete and unofficial.

Cathy Stewart received the fewest votes from either county — 164 in Placer County and 1,100 in Nevada.

District Clerk Shanna Kuhlemier said the Placer County voters are “a much smaller group” than that of Nevada County. Kuhlemier said the results won’t be official until the district gets a certified canvas, which is likely to happen the first week in December. 

“Generally speaking in the election world, the count has 30 days to certify the election to agencies who have consolidated and to the Secretary of State,” Kuhlemier added, “and that is the finality of the results.”

Kuhlemier said her multi-county jurisdiction opted to add their election to the November ballot in Placer and Nevada County to save money.

Rebecca O’Neil is a staff writer for The Union, a sister publication of the Tribune.

Correction: This article has been updated to reflect that the North Tahoe Public Utility District operates out of Tahoe Vista.


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