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Filing deadline extended for Citrus Heights Water District election

Citrus Heights Water District
File photo, Citrus Heights Water District office on Sylvan Road. // CH Sentinel

Sentinel staff report–
Anyone considering a seat on the Citrus Heights Water District’s three-member governing board now has until Aug. 15 to file to run for the Division 3 position, Sacramento County elections officials announced late Friday.

Although the filing deadline for all local offices ended at 5 p.m. on Aug. 10, the deadline is automatically extended by five calendar days whenever the incumbent does not file by the deadline. The water district’s current director for Division 3, Allen Dains, who represents the northern area of Citrus Heights on the board, did not file and had reportedly planned to retire.

As of Friday, only one candidate, David Wheaton, has filed to replace Dains on 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.

If no one else files to run by the extended deadline, Wheaton will automatically win the seat and will not appear on the ballot in November.

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

Another seat on the water district’s governing board was also up for election this year, but will not appear on the ballot due to the incumbent, Ray Riehle, being the only candidate to file by the Aug. 10 deadline. He will serve another four-year term on the governing board representing Division 2, which roughly covers the area east of Sunrise Boulevard and extends into a part of Orangevale.

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 — which could also end up being the case for both seats up for election. In 2016, 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 previously reported on The Sentinel, 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.

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 Riehle and Wheaton 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

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