Holley Navarre Water System: How to vote

HNWS election important dates

  • Dec. 3: Annual notices sent to all members
  • Dec. 14: Proxies and absentee ballots become available by request
  • Dec. 28: Deadline for members to request proxies and absentee ballots by mail or email; no    ballots will be mailed or emailed to members after this date
  • Jan. 11: Deadline 4 p.m. for submitting proxies and absentee ballots
  • Jan. 15 from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m.: Election Day at 8574 Turkey Bluff Road

The upcoming Holley Navarre Water System (HNWS) election in January could flip half the Board of Directors and has already begun to show tensions between current board members and those vying for a seat.

Those tensions were highlighted at a packed board meeting last month in which members called for answers and received no response.

Among the issues this board will be facing are continued negotiations regarding effluent disposal with Santa Rosa County and Eglin Air Force Base, public outcry against the hire of Rob Williamson as CEO, continued expansion of infrastructure, management of Hidden Creek Golf Course’s vacant restaurant and continued work with Fairpoint Regional Utility System.

And this year the election process comes with a few changes. Members (the utility’s customers) will not receive proxies in their annual notices this year. Also new, for the first time, members will be able to request ballots and proxies through email.

Here is a breakdown:

What are we voting on?

Four of eight seats on the Board of Directors will be up for election. Three are for three-year terms, and one is for a one-year term. Because HNWS is member-owned, the Board of Directors is elected by the members to represent their interests in the water system’s operations.

The candidates for office are incumbent Joe Aguirre, Joseph Genovese, Yvonne Harper, Jennifer Jones, Mike Kennedy, Kevin Lanier, incumbent Doug Larson and Fred Terasa.

Who can vote

Only members of Holley Navarre Water System may cast a ballot in the election. Based on water system legal advisement on the by-laws from 2017, to be a member a person must have:

Reasonable accessibility to the source and a need for water services
A membership certificate
An active, signed purchase agreement for water services
Board of Director approval for membership admittance

 

Proxy vs Absentee

Both proxies and absentee ballots allow members to participate in the HNWS election without going to the boardroom on election day.

Absentee ballots are a full-fledged ballot used to allow members to choose four candidates they prefer without having to be present on Election Day.

A proxy allows a member to give away his or her vote to someone else. Only one member should be indicated on a proxy. The person receiving the proxy then will pick the four candidates they want to be elected. A proxy is not a vote. Members opting to use a proxy loses their right to cast a ballot.

How to vote

There are four ways for members to cast their vote this year.

  1. On Election Day

Any member of HNWS may go to the system boardroom at 8574 Turkey Bluff Road Jan. 15 from 7:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. to cast an in-person, anonymous ballot. The member may be asked to provide account information and identification to verify identity.

Each member is asked to select four candidates on the ballot to fill the four vacancies. The Santa Rosa County Supervisor of Elections office will manage the election.

  1. Physical proxy

Those wishing to give their voting power to someone else may submit a proxy. Proxies will not be sent out with annual notices as was done in the past. Instead, a physical proxy must be requested by the member by calling 850-939-2427 or in person at the water system office at 8574 Turkey Bluff Road.

By phone, members will need to provide:

  • Service address
  • Listed member’s name
  • Account number
  • four-digit PIN (last four digits of their Tax ID number)

In person, members will need to provide:

  • Service address
  • Listed member’s name
  • Account number
  • Photo ID

Phone-requested proxies will be mailed through the U.S. Postal Service, and in-person proxies will be given to the member at the office. In the case of a member with special needs, a person with a durable power of attorney may make the request on the member’s behalf in person. Each proxy will have a specific identification number that links back to the individual member in a database.

  1. Email proxy

Members can now access proxies via email as well. Members must send their requests to election@hnws-fl.com no later than Dec. 28.

Members will need to include in the subject line and the body of the email:

  • Service address
  • Listed member’s name
  • Account number

A sample email template has been included in this issue.

After sending the request, members will receive a positive response email indicating that the request was received. It is the responsibility of the member to ensure that they have received this response email. If a reply email is not received, the member should call HNWS at 850-939-2427.

Proxies will be sent as a PDF file with a specific number coding it to that member in a database. This proxy may be returned via email or mailed to the water system.

When returning their completed proxy via email, members must state “Return Proxy” followed by the account number in the subject line of the email.

The member must also include his or her proxy PDF, filled out and signed by electronic signature.

 

 

  1. Absentee ballot

Members who wish to cast a ballot but cannot attend Election Day can vote via absentee ballot. This allows the member to select the four candidates they wish to be on the board.

Absentee ballots may be requested no later than Dec. 28 by calling HNWS at 850-939-2427 or emailing election@hnws-fl.com. Absentee ballots requested by email or phone will be mailed to the member by U.S. Postal Service.

Absentee ballots may also be picked up and submitted in person.

For email, members will need to include in the subject line and the body of the email:

  • Service address
  • Listed member’s name
  • Account number

A sample email template has been included in this issue.

If making a request by telephone, members will provide the same information as well as their four-digit PIN (last four digits of their Tax ID number).

For in-person pickup members need:

  • Service address
  • Listed member’s name
  • Account number
  • Photo ID

In a case of special needs, a person with a durable power of attorney may make the request on the member’s behalf.

Deadline for submitting absentee ballots is Jan. 11 at 4 p.m.

 

As seen in the Dec. 6 issue of Navarre Press.

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