South Suburban Parks and Recreation Board Q&A: Pam Eller

Posted 3/28/23

Pam Eller

Profession: I retired from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center after 27 years as a Research Associate.

Biography: I was born in Denver and graduated from South High …

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South Suburban Parks and Recreation Board Q&A: Pam Eller


Pam Eller

Profession: I retired from the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center after 27 years as a Research Associate.

Biography: I was born in Denver and graduated from South High School. I received my BS (Biological Science) from Colorado State University and my MA (Physiology) from the University of Colorado, Denver.
My husband and I and our two daughters moved to Burning Tree in Columbine Valley 37 years ago.
I actively participated in PTO at Wilder Elementary School, Goddard Middle School and Heritage High School.
I served on the Burning Tree HOA for several years as Pool Director.
I am a golfer and tennis player. I walk and bike the trails of SSPRD and am a regular at the Buck Community Recreation Center (individual workout and fitness classes).


Why are you running for the South Suburban board?
Serving on the SSPRD Board comes with challenges and opportunities. I was a dedicated board member for eight years, from 2010-2018. I believe my experience and relationships with the leaders of the cities, counties and organizations that partner with South Suburban will serve the District over the next four years. I understand the commitment of time and energy required to be an effective board member, and I am prepared once again to meet that commitment. I have a passion for SSPRD and a demonstrated work ethic that is acknowledged by those who support me.
When it comes to serving on this board - what are your top three priorities?
SSPRD has the responsibility to safeguard all facilities in the community--financially, physically and with attention to preserving and maintaining our natural resources. 1) The condition of District facilities, parks, and trails is always a top priority. Beyond the responsibility of maintaining clean recreation centers, the District must address cleanliness and safety in parks and on trails. This issue has gained prominence with the increasing challenge of overnight camping and drug use in parts of the District. 2) Water conservation is an increasing concern in Colorado. SSPRD has implemented several excellent measures to ensure smart use of water throughout the District. But water costs will continue to increase, and South Suburban must meet the challenge of keeping our outdoor spaces as green as possible while carefully managing the water budget. 3) All costs to operate a park and recreation district as diverse as SSPRD are increasing substantially. These include costs for staff, utilities, and materials. Managing these costs without compromising quality of service will be an ongoing challenge.
What needs to be done to address those priorities?
Facility managers and park rangers need to have the resources to deal with safety and cleanliness issues quickly, securely, and effectively. Employees at every level must be trained to know how to respond to specific incidents that might impact the safety of patrons and themselves. Much of this is already in place throughout the District, but policies and training should be updated regularly. Ongoing education of employees is key. New policies for resource conservation have been implemented throughout the District over the last few years. These include water use, management of utilities, and changes in vehicle use to reduce gas consumption. There continue to be new developments in resource conservation. The District should encourage employees to research innovative methods and suggest ways to implement them across SSPRD. The Board of Directors must be proactive in managing the District budget with a view toward continued changes in the cost of maintaining current facilities. Additional facilities and major upgrades to older ones need to be closely monitored to ensure that the pace of construction does not outpace the capability of the District to manage expenses.
With continued growth in the region and call for more rec centers and youth programs - How does the board keep property taxes from going up and meet budget obligations?
It is important to note that property taxes cannot be increased without voter approval. This requires the Board of Directors to be good stewards of the taxpayers' money. Managing the finances must continue to be a top priority for all future boards. In 2017, voters approved a measure to remove the sunset clause on the District's two separate mill levy assessments. This has allowed the District the security of a fixed mill levy, so the revenue from property taxes is a known entity. Personally, I see no need for any discussion asking voters for a property tax increase. Also in 2017, the voters approved a $46M bond issue after the District presented to the community a list of the priorities that would be covered by this bond. True to its reputation, South Suburban has applied those funds to every item on that list, and most of those projects are completed or nearing completion. These include the new South Suburban Sports Center and replacement of the tennis "bubble" at Federal and Bowles. If major projects were to be identified in the future that would require additional funding, voters would have to approve these projects in a November election.
If elected, how would you improve community outreach to educate all eligible voters about upcoming elections, property taxes and South Suburban business?
South Suburban maintains an excellent website——with current information on elections and much more, as well as a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a YouTube presence. Each quarter, staff mails a catalogue of classes and programs to every District household. The South Suburban Youth Commission and Public Art Committee involve numerous residents. A live voice always answers the District’s main phone number, 303-798-5131, to answer questions and direct calls to staff for additional information. Board members and managers could improve community outreach by frequently attending the regular and district city council meetings and the many community events sponsored by local governments and organizations. This would better facilitate exchanges of information and ideas. Finally, as a previous Board member, I consistently sought and welcomed direct contact from constituents, encouraging them to attend our twice monthly board meetings to meet the board and staff, to ask questions, and to learn much more about all aspects of South Suburban. If elected in May, I pledge to continue my outreach.
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