Seven candidates are competing for the District 1 position on the Clark Public Utilities Board of Commissioners now held by Carol Curtis, who is not seeking re-election after 30 years of representing the North Clark County district.
The top two vote-getters in the Aug. 7 primary (ballots are being mailed out today) will move on to the Nov. 6 general election. That’s when voters county-wide will select the new commissioner, who will join Nancy Barnes and Byron Hanke on the three-member utility board.
Commissioners serve six-year terms in paid, part-time positions where they are compensated no more than $36,160 per year. They set utility policy, approve annual budgets, decide electric and water rates, and select the utility’s CEO.
The primary election arrives at time of increasing complexity for the utility.
While it still taps the Bonneville Power Administration for a portion of its power supply, the utility has recently taken on more responsibility for meeting the county’s energy demands. Meanwhile, Initiative 937 — the voter-approved, statewide renewable energy law — has meant a costly push into wind power for the utility. The law’s mandates contributed, in part, to the hike in electric rates that commissioners adopted unanimously last year.
The Columbian asked the candidates to describe their experience and qualifications. Candidates also offered ideas on how to increase public participation in the voter-owned utility, and discussed their priorities.