Only one seat for the Highlands Ranch Metro District board of directors election is being contested, and two qualified candidates believe they have what it takes to carry the district’s vision forward on behalf of the northwestern region. Board veterans Allen Dreher, Rick Owens are running unopposed for their respective districts, as is Carolyn Schierholz.
Gary Herbella, a Highlands Ranch resident for 16 years, has served the metro district board for 10 years and has been elected chairman for the last six years.
Herbella cited his experience and knowledge of district initiatives as a major reason why he should be retained. He is working on several projects that have a long history of board involvement, including the acquisition and refurbishing of the Highlands Ranch Mansion and completing improvements at Fly’n B Park, which he says require management from those who are familiar with the issues.
He said his opponent might experience a significant learning curve with the issues, but believes people should be involved in local governance and is glad Philip Cullen is running for the position.
Herbella said his leadership could be especially important as the metro district transitions from a “build it environment to a maintenance environment” now that Highlands Ranch is nearing full build-out. He helped initiate the creation of a major repair fund several years ago to prepare for long-term maintenance on roads, sidewalks and fences, among other maintenance requirements.
Philip Cullen, a resident of Highlands Ranch for the last six years, recently retired as a commercial banker and says he is eager to give back to a community that has been so good him.
Cullen said he has the background, knowledge and leadership skills necessary for the board position, having served as leader of various credit offices and having experience in preparing complex budgets.
Cullen believes in term limits and said he feels “new blood” and fresh ideas could be a tremendous asset to the metro district. He also wants to modify the district’s service agreement and address what he deemed overlapping responsibilities between the metro district and the Highlands Ranch Community Association.
“I think I could improve the situation in some areas and maintain what is good,” Cullen said.