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Only two have filed so far in Citrus Heights Water District election

Citrus Heights Water District
A map on the Citrus Heights Water District website shows the three divisions that make up the district.

Updated Aug. 9, 6:27 p.m.
Sentinel staff report–
The race for two seats on the Citrus Heights Water District’s governing board may not end up on the ballot this November, if no one else files to run.

With a quickly approaching deadline to file, only two residents have filed to run for the two seats up for election on the board, as of Wednesday afternoon. If no one else files to run, both candidates will automatically win their seats and will not appear on the ballot in November.

Although the water district’s three-member governing board has drawn the ire of some residents who disagree with the board voting to raise water rates and fees every year since 2012, the district has a history of uncontested elections and the same could be true this year as well. In the last election, Director Caryl Sheehan was automatically reelected to a four-year term on the water district board after no candidate filed papers to run against her.

From November: Residents protest repeated rate increases by Citrus Heights Water District

As of Aug. 8, the two candidates who have filed are Ray Riehle for Division 2, and David Wheaton for Division 3. Riehle is an incumbent seeking re-election, while Wheaton is seeking to replace Director Allen Dains, who is reportedly retiring and has not filed papers to run again.

In an email this week, Riehle called Wheaton a “very bright and capable man” and said he was looking forward to serving with him, if both win election to the board. Wheaton formerly served as the General Services Director for the City of Citrus Heights, and is currently a member of the water district’s newly formed Customer Advisory Committee.

Water district directors are compensated at a rate of $150 per day, which added up to total annual pay of $4,200 to $6,200 in 2016, depending on the director, according to most recent financial data from Transparent California.

The deadline to file for a position on the water district’s governing board is Aug. 10, but a five-day deadline extension comes into play whenever an incumbent does not file, so the Division 3 position will likely have an extended deadline through Aug. 15.

According to the water district’s website, directors are elected to four-year terms of office. While each director is required to live within the boundaries of the division they represent, each director is elected at-large by all voters within the district’s service area.

In the last contested water district election, the winning candidate received 7,300 votes.

What’s it take to run for water district director?
Unlike with the race for Citrus Heights City Council, there is no filing fee and no requirement to collect 20 signatures from voters to run for a position on the water district board. According to Sacramento County’s elections division, residents must fill out several forms posted on the county website and submit them in-person at the County Registrar of Voters office in South Sacramento.

An optional 200-word candidate statement can also be filed for inclusion in the county’s Voter Information Guide, which is direct-mailed to every voter. Both candidates who have filed so far have opted to include a candidate statement, which costs an estimated $550 to cover printing costs.

According to the County’s Campaign Services Manager Karen Startup, the candidate statement fees will be refunded to the candidates if no one else files to run and the race does not appear on November’s ballot.

See candidate guide: click here