Four board seats up for election for Service Area No. 3
October 16, 2015
Silver Creek residents have some decisions to make during the upcoming municipal elections as four Service Area No. 3 Board of Trustee seats will be on the ballot.
Summit County Service Area No. 3 covers Silver Creek Estates, which occupies the area surrounding the intersection of Interstate 80 and U.S. 40. The service area has jurisdiction over water rights, 22 miles of roads, and trails and parks. Properties within the development are identified as being in either the upper or lower precinct. Those in the upper precinct have lots that are 10 acres or more. Lower precinct lots contain less than 2.5 acres.
The Board of Trustees consists of a seven-member volunteer board that meets monthly to discuss the management of the neighborhood’s infrastructure and oversees a budget of about $400,000. Members serve a four-year term and are not limited in the number of terms they are able to serve.
The four seats up for reelection are occupied by Greg Holbrook, Jim Farkas, John Graber and Robert Olson. Four candidates have filed for the upper precinct, including incumbent Chairman Olson, Michael Montgomery, Gwen McMillin and Robert Carpenter. Three candidates have filed for the lower precinct, including Graber. Vincent Pao-Borjigin and Eileen Galoostian also filed.
Olson, who is retired, said he is seeking reelection because he is concerned about the amount of time new board members will have to devote to the job.
"Knowing I have to put anywhere from a few hours a day to almost a whole day into this position, the board really needs someone who is able to spend that amount of time," Olson said. "I think we have a great group of candidates and I am excited to see what contributions will come from them."
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Graber, also an incumbent, was appointed to the board about a year ago to finish the term of a member who had resigned his post. Graber said he is seeking a full term to help improve the perception of the board.
"I have been told that some of the board members are self-serving and they are on the board for their own agenda," Graber said. "There have been some things that have gone on that have left a bad taste in our residents’ mouth. So I am basically running on the platform of providing a fair and equitable representation for everyone in the service area and not getting sucked into some of these individual projects."
Montgomery also questioned some of the decisions that have been made by the current board. He said the "lack of priorities" prompted his decision to file again. Montgomery unsuccessfully ran last year as a write-in candidate.
"I think our priorities have been really skewed for years," Montgomery said. "One of the big things I am involved in is the right-of-way access and trails in the area. It’s fantastic that we have been able to pave roads. But with that we haven’t coordinated the drainage and the right-of-way. There is nothing for our pedestrians and a lot of our roads feel like walking on a freeway."
Carpenter said it’s easy to "throw the existing board under the bus" or portray members in a negative light. However, the board is "doing lots of good things," Carpenter said.
"The board has clearly made an effort to improve transparency and resident interaction, but there is always an opportunity to improve that," Carpenter said. "Many of the ordinances are highly general and somewhat vague. Leadership should be about bringing clarity and understanding what the expectations are within the community."
Galoostian started to question the decision of the board when dirt roads starting being paved and trail access was closed. Galoostian became involved with the neighborhood trails and roads committees to be a part of the process.
"When I moved in I thought it was great. It had dirt roads and that rustic rural feel to it. But then is started to get busy and trails were being cut off by new paved roads," Galoostian said. "I just think I can do more as a board member that a committee member. I think there can be better transparency with what happens and how decisions are made because sometimes they are knee-jerk reactions made without a plan in place."
McMillin echoed Galoostian in wanting to provide a more thorough understanding of how decisions are made. McMillin also expressed a concern that not all residents’ voices are heard.
"I don’t feel like a lot of our concerns have been voiced in the past and I want to help serve in that capacity and help improve communities’ understanding of rules and orders of the service district," McMillin said. "I think there is a lack of communication and understanding. I lived in the neighborhood a couple years before I knew this board even existed and I don’t think I am the only one."
Pao-Borjigin has lived in the area for more than a year and says he wants to help maintain the atmosphere that originally attracted him.
"I have a family with young kids and I want to keep things safe and I think it is a great community," he said. "But after moving in and attending a few meetings I saw how things didn’t seem as transparent or in the best interest of the community. And I think I can help change that so that we are more proactive and understand why we are doing the things we are."
Service Area No. 3 will hold a ‘Meet the candidates’ event Monday, Oct. 19, between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m., at Mountain Life Church, 7375 Silver Creek Road. Resident Ari Loannides will facilitate the event.
Early voting will take place Oct. 20-23 and Oct. 26-30 at the Sheldon Richins Building between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m.
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