McK CSD candidate James Vance: lower water, sewer rates, look into incorporation

McKinleyvlle Race Four candidates are running for a single seat on the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors. The seat was vacated last summer by Helen Edwards, who resigned and moved to Arizona. Registered voters in McKinleyville will start receiving ballots in the mail starting next week. The ballots must be returned to the Humboldt County Elections Office by March 14.

Jack Durham
Mad River Union

McKINLEYVILLE – Candidate James Vance wants to keep water and sewer rates as low as possible and would like the McKinleyville Community Services District Board of Directors to look into turning the town into a city.

A life-long resident of Humboldt County, Vance said he thinks the board could benefit from his knowledge of McKinleyvllle and surrounding areas.
“I know the area extremely well,” Vance said. “I think I could bring a common sense approach to the board.”

James Vance

After graduating from McKinleyville High School in 1975,  Vance went to work in the sawmills. In 1980 he went to College of the Redwoods, then became a truck driver for the construction industry, retiring in 2014.

One of Vance’s priorities is to keep water and sewer rates low, and even reduce them if possible. Rates have gone up in recent years to pay to stabilize both the sewer and water funds, and to pay for a massive upgrade to the town’s sewer treatment plant.
Vance said one way that the district could reduce rates is to encourage growth. More homes and businesses would help spread out the cost, thereby limiting increases and maybe even cutting rates, he said.

The district board could encourage growth by making recommendations to the county Planning Department and by promoting commercial development, he said.

He would also like to find a way to give longtime residents a break on their sewer and water bills, perhaps giving them a longevity discount.

Another issue Vance is interested in is incorporation. Because McKinleyville is not a city, local residents don’t have direct control over services such as planning, building and law enforcement. If McKinleyville were to become a city, this would change, Vance said.

“I think if we became a city, local residents would have more say on what goes on here in McKinleyville,” Vance said.

Asked whether incorporation would be financially feasible, Vance said “I think it would. Trinidad is a city. Blue Lake is a city. And they’re a lot smaller than we are.”

Like all of the other candidates, Vance is generally complimentary about the job the district is doing.

“They’re great. Good people. I think they work hard,” Vance said about the district’s employees. As for district’s general manager, Greg Orsini, Vance has nothing but praise. “He’s doing a great job,” Vance said.

One complaint, though, is the location of a playground at Hiller Park. The playground is located too close to the sewage treatment plant, Vance said. “Sometimes I go there and it’s pretty gaggy,” he said.

The playground should have been located over on the other side of the park, further away from the treatment ponds, he said.

Vance said he would like the district to build more parks geared towards disabled and special needs children.Vance would also like to improve local law enforcement. “I would like to see more police officers on the street,” he said.

Although the district does not have police powers, Vance said the board can lobby the Sheriff’s Office and other departments to try to get increased coverage.

A 49-year-resident of McKinleyville, Vance said he enjoys bicycle riding and playing with his grandchild.

“Can I help McKinleyville grow and still be the best place to live in Humboldt County? Absolutely,” Vance said.

 







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