Four vie for three seats on HRCA board

Delegate Shon Payne joins three incumbents in race

File photo
The Highlands Community Association is holding its director election in March. There are four people currently running for three seats.

With a board election looming, the four candidates running for three HRCA director positions answered questions about their respective platforms at association’s February delegate meeting.

Delegates will vote March 18 and the three candidates who receive the highest number of lot votes will fill the three available seats. Highlands Ranch Community Association incumbent directors Christina Caputo, Scott Lemmon and Dennis Seymour are all running for re-election while District-87 delegate Shon Payne is mounting his first bid for the board.

Christina Caputo

Caputo, a budget and risk management director for Jefferson County, has lived in Highlands Ranch 14 years. A delegate for five years initially, she has served on the board of directors as vice president for the past two years.

While answering questions from delegates, Caputo, a mother of three, said communication has been a major issue that has plagued the organization.

“I feel the more transparent we are, the more trust will grow,” she said.

Caputo said that the HRCA budgeting process has caused “friction.”

“The budget has had little or no assessment increases over the last few years and delegates and community members have been expecting the same outcome,” she said.

With approval from the board and delegates assessments were increased by $32 — the largest increase in 10 years — this past November.

“I’m hoping that going forward, utilizing the strategic plan and forecasting into the future can help us plan and communicate budgetary needs better,” Caputo said, proposing intermediate budget presentations earlier in the process so delegates can become more involved.

“I think it can be frustrating at times to see the back and forth and the mistrust between the two (bodies) and I think that can drive people away,” she said.

Caputo also said efforts to protect the backcountry were a “top priority.”

Scott Lemmon

Lemon, currently serving as board president, has lived in Highlands Ranch since 2000 and has been volunteering with the HRCA for 10 years. A business development manager for Arrow S3, he is married and has three children.

“I said I wanted to move the organization forward, and I believe we’ve accomplished a good number of things,” Lemmon said, pointing to the hiring of Jerry Flannery as CEO and general manager in 2011, a change in legal firms and the renewing of a preferred provider for trash. Lemmon also said starting to plan for the organization’s first capital investment plan was a recent accomplishment.

“We’re old, I’m old, our buildings are getting older. I think it’s important to have that plan,” Lemmon said. “I’m running for re-election to continue that progress.”

When asked how much involvement delegates would have in crafting a five-year plan, Lemmon said that none of the items being considered have been vetted and the board will not unilaterally develop the plan.

“These are staff ideas that have been accumulating over the last 18 months. We’re (the board and delegates) going to have to discuss these items,” Lemmon said. “There is capital to be invested in that plan, money that has to be invested.”

Lemmon also said the backcountry and property values were high priorities.

Shon Payne

Payne is seeking a director spot after serving as a delegate for five years. With 20 years of experience as an accountant, he has served as the president of the Indigo Hill subassociation for three-and-a-half years. A father of three, he is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

Payne agreed that communication needs to be improved. Like Caputo, he proposed giving delegates a draft budget earlier in the process and praised the development of a five-year capital investment plan.

“Let’s start communicating. A five-year plan is a great place to start,” he said.
Payne said that the McKinstry project, the fee increase and a lack of volunteerism were the major issues for the organization last year.

“The McKinstry project is the tie to all three issues. This project showed the HRCA that our reserve study was incorrect leading to the HRCA being underfunded for the McKinstry project,” he said. “This led, partially, to the budget increase. It also showed that the HRCA has lost delegate volunteers. This strain led me to look outside the normal funding process, so that this project could be funded internally.”

Payne said, as part of the finance committee, he suggested borrowing money from another fund to avoid taking out a loan for the energy-saving venture.

Dennis Seymour

Seymour was a delegate for five years before being appointed to the board in September 2013 when his predecessor Craig Ziesman stepped down. He has 28 years of experience in the aerospace industry, currently serving as a deputy director of an engineering department at United Launch Alliance, and is married with two children.

Seymour said he would like to start “filling out the ranks,” referencing vacancies in the delegate body and that those vacancies could be advertised at HRCA events. He also said communication could be better between delegates and the board.

“(Per the budget), we need to make sure that the process is tweaked and you have that opportunity for input,” Seymour said. “There was a lot of consternation from seemingly not having a lot of input. … I was at a lot of the finance meetings. I saw a lot of the discussions. You can understand why decisions were made.”

Seymour said he was anxious to get delegates involved in the capital improvement plan and wanted to streamline communication between delegates and the members that they represent.

“I know it’s a pain to get proxies and votes from residents,” Seymour said, suggesting a method of emailing residents in districts for delegate elections. “We won’t have something in the next few months, but we will have something soon.”

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