Fire board members maintain their seats


— All incumbents on the Steamboat Springs and Oak Creek fire protection district boards of directors were re-elected Tuesday, a signal that the boards are doing a good job, they said.

For the Steamboat Springs rural district, a close vote for the third spot likely will mean a recount is necessary. Incumbents Steve Hilley and Ben Beall were re-elected, with 49 and 48 votes, respectively.

One vote separates two candidates vying for the third spot, making a recount likely. Kris Dodd earned 29 votes while Doug Scherar earned 28.

In the Oak Creek district, Ken DePaul received 147 votes, and incumbents Steve Jones and Chris Zuschlag received 123 and 112 votes, respectively.

Cindy Maddox, Steamboat Springs rural fire district administrator and designated election official, said the election result was "very interesting." Maddox called the election "unusual" from the start because nine people were running for three seats -- a lot of interest for a typically uncontested election.

Because of the near-tie for the third seat, Maddox is hopeful a recount will happen today.

If the numbers don't change with the recount, Hilley, Beall and Dodd will join District President Bob Kuusinen and board member Thom McMahon.

Sixty-six ballots were cast for the Steamboat election, with some voters choosing three candidates, and others voting for just one or two, Maddox said.

The other five candidates received between three and eight votes each.

Maddox said that the support for the incumbents indicates residents of the district, which covers about 640 square miles surrounding the city of Steamboat Springs, feel the board is going in the right direction.

Hilley, who said he was excited to be voted back onto the board, agreed.

Dodd said she was looking forward to the chance to be involved in the community, even if the recount put her into fourth place.

"If I don't get this spot on the board, I can still be involved," Dodd said. "I can still go to the board meetings and still have a voice."

The board formed after the election will have important duties, board members have said, such as examining long-term funding and continuing the relationship with the city to share fire and emergency medical services.

In the Oak Creek Fire Protection District election, 124 voters came to the polls and 53 absentee ballots were cast, election officer Tina Holliday said.

Ken DePaul, the new face on the board, garnered the highest number of votes. Incumbents Steve Jones and Chris Zuschlag were returned to their spots.

"I want to thank all the people who had the confidence in me," DePaul said.

He said he hopes to look at how money is spent in the district, where DePaul was among the voters who supported doubling the district's property tax revenue two years ago. If there is an opportunity to reduce expenditures, however, DePaul said he would consider working to reduce the mill levy.

-- To reach Susan Bacon, call 871-4203

or e-mail


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