One of the recurring questions asked to candidates for the Overton Power District Board of Trustees Wednesday night was if the current trustees were part of an “old boys network” that just rubber-stamped the wishes of the district’s management.
But since only one of the current trustees campaigning to retain his seat showed up — and his defense was “I’m only of seven” — there wasn’t a lot of defending the current board.
Six candidates for the Overton Power District board attended the Mesquite Press Candidates Forum at Wolf Creek Wednesday night, but only one was an incumbent, James Pugh (District 5). The others were David Ballweg (District 6), Shawn Hughes (at-large), Bill Hurd (at-large), Judy Metz (at-large) and Mike Young (District 5).
Besides the Overton Power District board candidates, there were also four members vying for the Virgin Valley Water District board: Barbara Ellestad, Ted Miller, Sandra Ramaker and Robert “Bubba” Smith. U.S. Congressional District 4 incumbent Steven Horford and challenger Cresent Hardy also participated.
Pugh was appointed to the power district board in 2013. He said he has a list of goals he’d like to accomplish, but hasn’t been able to get very far without cooperation from other board members.
“I have my agenda, but I can’t do it by myself,” he said.
The incumbents who did not attend the forum were Steven Miller (at-large), Michael Wilson (District 4) and Douglas Waite (District 6). Candidate Robert Bunker (District 4) also didn’t attend.
Two candidates, Shawn Hughes and Mike Young, were asked if they had family members who work at Overton Power and both said they didn’t have anyone in their immediate family, although Hughes acknowledged some distant relatives are employed there.
Most of the candidates agreed that the power district needs to look at its management and operations to find ways to decrease overhead before raising rates to customers and also needed to explore the possibility of solar energy usage in an area.
“I urge the board to implement a 10 percent operations reduction before raising rates,” said Ballweg. “There has been no belt-tightening.”
Ballweg has lived in Mesquite since 2008 and owns and operates an electrical power testing equipment manufacturing company.
Hughes is a life-long resident of the Virgin Valley and is operations manager for Virgin Valley Disposal.
Hurd has lived in Mesquite since 2008 and is retired after working 40 years at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratories.
Metz has lived in Overton for 40 years and owns Sugars HomePlate Restaurant. She has previously served on the Overton Town Board.
Incumbent Pugh has lived in the Virgin Valley for seven years and works part-time as a protection and control systems test engineer.
Young has lived in Mesquite for 12 years and worked for a major water and power utility in California for 40 years, rising to the position of head of systems operations.