Voters should vote to preserve Fraser Sanitation District
October 27, 2009
To the Editor:
As a property owner within the Town of Fraser and a former long-term Fraser Sanitation District Board member, I am convinced that the proposed takeover of the Fraser Sanitation District by the Town of Fraser is not an effort worthy of either entity’s constituents.
When the town began talking takeover with the Sanitation District years ago, I was in favor of pursuing the options to determine if we could save our constituents money. As a result, the District did combine some services with the town, but the District remained a separate entity.
The District has a decades-old history of running a tight and thrifty operation with objective regulatory enforcement, successful bond issues, prompt payment and an impressive share of under-budget projects. Those reasons are why the District has always been so financially stable and why the District as a separate entity is to be protected.
When takeover talks first began 14 years ago, a certain board member was adamantly opposed to it, even leading the opposition. That board member was also on the town council. His argument was that the checks-and-balances afforded by a separate entity in the form of the Sanitation District was necessary to keep the area from being run over by developers who did not want to bother with following regulations as well as a Town that was looking for additional revenue sources. That board member was the late Kit Klancke and his public service was an asset to both the San District and the town.
Over the years, the takeover subject would heat up and then cool off, but it was always apparent that the town wanted to control the Sanitation District. My personal feeling at the time was that the town’s primary interest was in the San District’s financial assets because the talk would tend to heat up whenever the town faced financial straits. At that point I told the board that as long as I was on the board, I would oppose giving away the district’s independence because we were the only ones who would say “no” when it was appropriate.
Now that another few years have passed and I have retired from the San District Board, I don’t feel that the situation is any different now from what it has been before except that a vote is now on the calendar.
I WOULD HOPE THAT BEFORE YOU CAST A VOTE, YOU ASK A LOT OF QUESTIONS: Will this dissolution actually save us constituents any more than we are currently saving? What are the town’s plans for operating the sanitation-side when it seems to have its hands full with just the water?
If you as a voter, don’t know, DO NOT VOTE YES. This issue will come up again and perhaps that future time will be the right time to relinquish all decision-making to the town.
For all the voters who own property in the district but not in the town, this is your only chance to voice an opinion. One the District belongs to the Town of Fraser, you can’t vote anymore because you cannot vote in town elections.
At one of our Sanitation District Board meetings before my retirement, a local developer made the comment that he was tired of dealing with the district’s regulations. “Sorry,” we said. “Comply.” San District regulations were in place long before this developer showed up and were evenhandedly adhered to, no matter who the applicant. This same developer said that he only wanted to deal with one entity and get approvals from only one board. VOTERS, I WANT TO EMPHASIZE THIS AGAIN – THERE GOES THE CHECKS-AND-BALANCES SYSTEM AT A TIME WHEN WE NEED OVERSIGHT THE MOST.
I must also comment regarding the comments published about the fees paid to the district’s attorney. I can assure you, and I know I am not alone, when I say that the fees paid to Stan Cazier is money well-spent. He is an advocate for the district who has gone far beyond what is often required of a district such as ours. His knowledge of the district and his stature as one of the leading authorities in the West on water rights has kept the district on the straight and narrow from day one. It is possible to economize oneself into financial stupidity. Thanks, Stan, for assisting our Sanitation District in performing fiscally responsibly, professionally and objectively on behalf of its constituents for all these years.
So, before you vote the Fraser Sanitation District down the drain, KNOW WHAT YOU ARE VOTING FOR. Call the mayor or Sanitation District president and VOTE SMART.
Thanks and I urge your support for the continuation of the Fraser Sanitation District as an independent entity,