Special districts are local governments created by the inhabitants of a community to provide specialized services. A community forms special districts – political subdivisions authorized by a state’s statute – to provide specialized services that the city or county does not provide. On Tuesday January 11th during a Zoom webinar, Rob LeVine hosts a panel with Janet Bartnik, Dick Cleveland, Kara Heide and Ken Marchetti to discuss special districts that are impacting our community.

“More than almost any other level of government, Special Districts touch the lives of citizens on a virtually daily basis,” said Claire Noble, Director of Programming for the Vail Symposium. “But why they exist, how they are operated and who runs them are not widely known by the very people they serve. This program aims to remedy that.

Across America, more than 30,000 special districts provide a wide range of specialty services to millions of Americans. Some special districts are large; many of them are very small and all serve various 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 extended 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 council made up of trustees, trustees or commissioners, elected by their constituents to direct the operations of the district. Special Districts are the most local 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 also provide opportunities for community members to take up leadership positions, ”said Chris Romer, President and CEO of Vail Valley Partnership. “I am delighted to hear from this panel of experts – not only their experience with districts, but their thoughts on how members of the local community can get involved and engage.”

About the speakers

Janet Bartnik has been the Executive Director of the Mountain Recreation Metropolitan District since 2017. Bartnik is currently a member of the Eagle County Paramedic Services Board of Directors. Appointed to Eagle City Council in April and elected in November, Bartnik also served Eagle by being involved in the city’s Charter Commission and the Elevate Eagle Compensation Plan Committee. She has over 25 years of experience in public administration, including 20 years as a municipal service manager, bringing to the table a wide range of knowledge on government finances, community engagement, community development, marketing and communications of public bodies; and working knowledge of governance of public bodies.

Dick Cleveland has been a resident of the Valley for over 40 years. He has spent 35 years in the public service as a Law Enforcement Officer and over the past 20 years has done a lot of volunteer work in the local community.

He served several terms on Vail City Council, including two terms as mayor, and served on numerous boards and commissions in Eagle County and Vail. 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 past member of the Minturn Cemetery District Board of Directors.

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

Ken Marchetti is a CPA and represents districts in general. He is a Managing Partner at Marchetti & Weaver, LLC, overseeing the day-to-day operations of the company, which manages the accounting, budgeting and administration of metro districts, owner associations and golf courses. Marchetti is a member of the American Institute and the Colorado Society of CPAs, the Colorado Government Finance Officers Association, and the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants. He also sits on the boards of directors of various business, civic and community organizations.


What: True Local Government: The Impact of Special Districts on Lives

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

Where: Zoom Webinar

More Information: Please visit vailsymposium.org for more information and to register.