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Incumbents unseated on Oak Lodge Water District Board

It looks like the Oak Lodge Water District Board of Commissioners will be getting some new blood with which to go forward this year.

Nancy Gibson, a resident of Jennings Lodge who has a master's degree in interdisciplinary studies, has been elected over her opponent, Jim Knapp, for OLWD commissioner by 51.8 to 47.4 percent. It seems that Gibson's concern for transparency within the board has hit a good note with ratepayers.

“I guess this proves that someone can actually win an honest campaign,” Gibson said. “Just going door to door and giving the facts.”

But Gibson will not be alone in paving a new way for the OLWD, David Gray beat out current commissioner George K. Payne with a 53.3 to 45.4 percent vote. Gray, who has a degree in civil engineering, would like to see the water district resume sending out reports and newsletters to customers; he would also like to see the board revisit the issue of joining with the sanitary district.

“I’m feeling quite pleased,” he said. “I’m even more pleased that Nancy Gibson won. She worked really hard on this.”

Emphasizing transparency in her campaign, Gibson said that with researching knowledge she can easily find information about the board’s activities, but she is concerned about those with less experience and less time.

Gibson thinks the water district lacks a sufficient disaster plan and would like to see one developed. She also believes that her knowledge of working with low-income communities and her fluency in Spanish will help her connect with ratepayers.

She hopes to create more community engagement and interest among youths in what the board is doing. She also would like to emphasis Strategic Financial Planning so that incidents like last year’s 171 percent increase in the fixed-cost portion of residents’ water bills do not happen again.



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