For some directors at the Holley-Navarre Water System, it’s out with the old, in with the new.
At its annual membership meeting on Jan. 19, water board members will vote on the next new wave of directors. Three seats are up for grabs.
Candidate William Goulet said his motivation for running is so he can make a difference.
“My biggest goal is that everyone is heard,” he said. “From the little old lady to the biggest business owner – we are all members of the water system.”
Currently, the board has seven directors, who serve staggered three-year terms.
As of today, there are six candidates vying for the three seats: incumbents Joey Braswell, Bryan S. Duncan and Charles Enghauser will compete against newcomers Mark A. Goode, James L. White and Goulet.
Goode, a transplant who hails from North Carolina, said he hopes to initiate change at the member-owned utility.
“I see a lot of areas where we can improve,” he said. “One way is through planning and development. We need to be ready for more businesses to be here and plan for their water and sewage needs.”
The notice of the annual meeting and proxy forms were mailed to members last week.
The proxy form that accompanied the letter only included the names of incumbent directors, with a blank line for members to write in the new candidates. In addition to the confusion created by the forms, some residents thought five days was not enough time to make an informed decision about a candidate.
“I think we definitely need more notice, especially if it’s something as significant as this,” said Navarre resident Kara Offner. “We want to elect members to make good, valuable decisions and we need adequate notice in order to do that.”
The elections come at a tumultuous time in Navarre, especially when it comes to water system issues. The department’s impact fees have long been a source of contention for local business owners and candidates like Goode believe it is time for a change.
“Impact fees for restaurants is too much of a burden when (business owners) are trying to . . . open,” he said. “The water and sewage lines should be able to handle growth.”
Duncan, whose parents moved here in 1971, also has progress in mind.
“I want to help this area progress faster,” he said. “And move things along."
The Holley-Navarre Water System currently serves around 45,000 people and has roughly 44 employees.
Voting begins at 7 a.m. on Jan. 19 and will conclude at the start of the annual meeting at 7 p.m. Those who cannot attend the meeting but wish to appoint a proxy must do so before 4 p.m. on Jan. 15.
“Five days isn’t long enough to decide who is going to lead such an integral part of our community,” said Offner. “And, frankly, a lack of notice is counterproductive to growth in Navarre.”For more information about the annual meeting, please call the Holley-Navarre Water System at 939-2427.