Four candidates are seeking election Tuesday for two seats on the Columbia Irrigation District board.
Division 2 director Gerald Sleater, who has been on the board 14 years, faces challenger Vernon Vogtman, who is making his first attempt at elected office.
Division 3 has Bruce Sullivan and James Berger vying for the vacancy created by director David St. John's decision to not seek another three-year term.
Sleater, 78, has lived in Kennewick since 1944 and farmed for 26 years in Badger Canyon. He does not live in the district but qualifies to be on the board because he owns property within the CID.
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"I'd like to continue some of the things we've started," Sleater said.
The district recently installed about 8,000 feet of plastic lining and concrete in the West Richland canal and has started locating weak spots in the canal system, which dates back to 1918.
Sleater said his years of experience with the district and his 47 years of service with Benton County Fire Protection District No. 1, some of it as a fire district commissioner, are evidence of his commitment to public service.
"I have enough experience that I can get more bang for the buck," he said.
He said CID's 2011 budget, which does not include a rate increase, and the creation of a water rights relinquishment policy show the board has acted in the best interests of its customers.
Vogtman, 31, has a home drafting and design business in Kennewick. A lifelong resident of Kennewick, he said he wants to serve on the CID board to keep a close watch on expenses.
"I want to be more conscious with how money is spent because this district doesn't have a strong economic base," he said.
Vogtman has no issues with the quality of service provided CID's customers, calling the district "more outstanding than a neighboring district." But two recent decisions to issue bonds for projects seemed to be done without considering long-term costs, he said.
"Since I am in the building business and well acquainted with state law and the building industry, I was concerned about how the district spends money. Both of those bond issues don't allow an early payoff. That is going to cost us a big chunk of money," he said.
"I actually live in the district," Vogtman added, noting Sleater's status.
Vogtman is married, with two young boys, has been involved in Boy Scout leadership and is active in Columbia Community Church.
Bruce Sullivan, 59, brings managerial experience from his career at Lockheed Martin Hanford as a candidate for the Division 3 seat.
"I am very cost-conscious and was raised with a strong work ethic," Sullivan said. He said serving his community is the main reason he wants to be on the board. He believes his work experience and people skills will be helpful as the district deals with growth and expanded water services.
Sullivan noted that he grew up on a ranch in Montana and is well acquainted with pressurized and nonpressurized irrigation systems. He has been involved within the community for 30 years and has volunteered for such groups as United Way, March of Dimes, Union Gospel Mission and through church functions to provide meals and clothing to people in need.
James Berger could not be reached for an interview.
His statement, posted on the CID website, columbia irrigation.com, says he farms 40 acres of hay and has owned land in the district for 16 years.
His candidate statement says his goal is to see water efficiently and effectively delivered without seeing "constant cost increases the next three years."
He said he has ideas about making the water delivery system better and to keep costs down.
Berger said his 20 years experience in operations and maintenance of buildings and infrastructure will serve him well. He says he has managed multi-skilled craftsmen, done job planning and project implementation and has budgeting skills.
The election will be conducted at CID offices, 10 E. Kennewick, Ave., from 1 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Ballots are available at the office.