When Wallace Heaton won a seat on the Whitworth Water District board in 1989, he promised better management and maintenance.
Now his challenger, Mark Dressor, is saying the district needs a new face, someone who can articulate all that has gone on to the public.
First elected after Whitworth’s controversial merger with the Colbert Water District, Heaton, 69, said he’s done what he promised and the water district is more efficient, better managed and growing.
“We’re trying to run it like a business, keep things fine tuned and not hire people if we don’t need to,” said Heaton, a retired mechanical engineer.
Heaton is involved in regional efforts to protect drinking water sources and said the planning may result in a more comprehensive system of safeguards and land-use regulations.
He’s lived in Spokane since 1959 and ran six years ago against an incumbent because of controversy involving the Whitworth-Colbert merger. The result of that merger is a $2 per month rate increase to pay off legal judgments against Colbert, which was sued by a developer for breach of contract and mismanagement.
Heaton’s challenger, Dressor, moved with his wife to Spokane from Los Angeles in 1989 to find a better quality of life. He has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Eastern Washington University.
Now a loan writer with Guild Mortgage, Dressor has worked as a warehouse supervisor, database manager, police officer and real estate agent.
He thinks his breadth of experience and fresh perspective would be an asset. One of his priorities would be to better explain to residents the role and function of a water district.
“I bring a different set of experiences,” Dressor said. “I’ve lived in a large metropolitan area, and I’ve seen what does work and what doesn’t work.”
Dressor said he’s never been to a Whitworth Water District meeting but knows his management background would be an asset.
“Water is not an unending resource.” he said. “It’s something that has to be managed properly.”
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: District profile The Whitworth Water District has 6,600 customers, 17 employees and a $2.9 million operating budget. It covers 45 square miles of unincorporated area north of Spokane. The district’s five commissioners serve six-year terms. They receive $50 per day for meetings, which average two a month. A $2 million project to upgrade lines and expand service along the Little Spokane River area and in Colbert is set to begin in the spring.