After search, water district hires new finance director
VAIL — Becky Bultemeier, the Eagle River Water & Sanitation District’s finance director since 1986, announced her intent to retire late last year. After a national search, general manager Linn Brooks announced the hiring of James Wilkins, who assumed the finance director role March 2. Bultemeier will remain with the district through May to support the transition.
Bultemeier is credited with helping guide the district through decades of both fast and slow growth, increasing regulatory requirements and drought-associated challenges.
“Becky’s history with the district is hard to replace,” said Brooks. “She was at the ground floor of extraordinary growth in our community and in our organization. She was innovative in planning to meet long term operations, maintenance and capital needs, while smoothing out the associated costs for rate payers and taxpayers.”
Wilkins has worked at FirstBank of Vail since 1999, most recently as senior vice president.
‘Knowledge about Community’
“We’re thrilled that James brings not only excellent financial skills, but also deep knowledge about the community we serve,” Brooks said. Wilkins is managing daily financial matters during the transition period, while Bultemeier is available to assist with broad matters such as the 2014 audits, bonds and long-term planning.
The finance director is responsible for overall budgeting, financial planning, accounting, financial reporting and auditing, cash and investment management, and customer rate strategy for the district and the Upper Eagle Regional Water Authority — both of which are local governments. The district manages the regional water authority to provide water service to properties from Eagle-Vail through Cordillera. The combined revenue of the district and authority is $30 million. Revenue sources include service rates and fees, property tax, connection fees, bond proceeds and grants, while expenses include operations, maintenance, personnel, debt service and a comprehensive capital improvement program.
Wilkins Brings Key Skills
Wilkins brings a broad understanding of financial models and forecasting that is critical to maintaining the district’s strong financial position. Both the district and authority routinely issue bonds, so Wilkins’ experience with consumer, commercial, construction and development loans is key to continued success in managing public dollars. Wilkins graduated from the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, has a bachelor’s in economics from the University of Colorado-Boulder and is fluent in Spanish.
For more information, call Brooks at 970-476-7480.