Vail Symposium and Vail Valley Partnership present panel program on special districts |

Vail Symposium and Vail Valley Partnership present panel program on special districts

Special districts are local governments created by the people of a community to deliver specialized services. A community forms special districts–political subdivisions authorized through a state’s statutes–to provide specialized services the city or county does not provide. On Tuesday, Jan. 11 on a Zoom webinar, Rob LeVine moderates a panel with Janet Bartnik, Dick Cleveland, Kara Heide and Ken Marchetti to discuss the special districts that make an impact on our community.

“More than almost any other level of government, special districts touch the lives of citizens on practically a daily basis,” said Claire Noble, Vail Symposium’s director of programming. “But why they exist, how they are operated and who runs them are not widely known by the very people they serve. This program seeks to remedy that.”

Across America, more than 30,000 special districts provide a wide array of specialized services to millions of Americans. Some special districts are large; many are very small, all serving diverse urban, suburban, rural and agricultural regions of the country – even within incorporated areas. The history of these local government entities dates back to the 18th century with the establishment of park districts and expanded to toll roads and irrigation districts in the 19th century. In Eagle County, special districts provide a variety of services such as recreation, library services, emergency medical services and water.

Overseeing each special district is a board comprised of trustees, directors or commissioners, elected by their constituents to govern the district operations. Special districts are the most local of local governments and many special districts in Eagle County will elect board members in May.

“Special districts are in many ways the most local form of government. As such, they not only provide essential community services but provide the opportunity for community members to serve in leadership positions,” said Chris Romer, president and CEO of Vail Valley Partnership. “I am excited to hear from this expert panel – not only their experience with districts, but their thoughts on how local community members can get involved and engaged.”

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About the speakers

Janet Bartnik has been the Executive Director of the Mountain Recreation Metropolitan District since 2017. Bartnik is a currently member of the board of directors of Eagle County Paramedics Services. Appointed to Eagle’s Town Council in April and elected in November, Bartnik has also served Eagle with involvement in the Town’s Charter Commission and Elevate Eagle Comp Plan Committee. She has more than 25 years of experience in public administration, with 20 of those years serving as a city department head, bringing to the table a vast array of knowledge of government finance, community engagement, community development, public agency marketing and communications, and hands-on knowledge of public agency governance.

Dick Cleveland has been a Valley resident for more than 40 years. He spent 35 years in public service as a law enforcement officer and for the past 20+ years has volunteered extensively in the local community.

He served several terms on the Vail Town council–including two terms as mayor–and has served on numerous Eagle County and Vail boards and commissions. He has also served on several local non-profit boards over the years.

He is currently a member of the Eagle River Water and Sanitation board of directors and is a former member of the Minturn Cemetery District board.

Kara Heide is the secretary of the Edwards Metro District. She moved to the Vail Valley in 1976. During her 32 year-career with Vail Resorts working with philanthropy and governmental affairs, Heide founded the Vail Handicapped Ski School in the 1980s. Since then, she served as the Executive Director of the Eagle Valley Land Trust before retiring.

Ken Marchetti is a CPA and represents districts at large. He is managing partner at Marchetti & Weaver, LLC, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the firm, which handles the accounting, budgeting, and administration for metropolitan districts, property owners associations and golf courses. Marchetti is a member of the American Institute and Colorado Society of CPAs, the Colorado Government Finance Officers Association, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He also serves on the boards of various business, civic and community organizations.


What: True Local Government: How Special Districts Impact Lives

When: Tuesday, Jan. 11. 6-7 p.m.

Where: Zoom webinar

More information: Please visit for more information and to register.


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