Reuniting the community: Rusty Dupray shares his optimistic agenda
A familiar face is in a new position at the Cameron Park Community Services District.
Last month the CSD Board of Directors unanimously named Rusty Dupray the district’s interim general manager. Former GM Fred Smith was let go in late March after the board, on a 3-2 vote, decided not to extend his contract.
Dupray said CSD staff, directors and community activists sought him out following Smith’s departure. Dupray, 52, and his wife Julie moved to Cameron Park 23 years ago. In the 1990s he served as a Cameron Park CSD director and in 2000 voters elected him to represent District 1 on the El Dorado County Board of Supervisors, where he served for eight years. Dupray is also a retired Sac Metro Fire captain.
“I felt the need to step up and get this community back on track,” Dupray said of his decision to apply for the interim job.”It’s been no secret that there have been some issues between the board and the community.
“I think I have the respect of the board and the community and I want to use that to bring this community back together,” he added.
A barrage of strongly worded letters to the editor in the Mountain Democrat, as well as some unflattering headlines, have tarnished the district’s reputation and clout in the community in the past couple of years. Dupray, by meeting with all stakeholders and building consensus, said he hopes to turn that negativity into something constructive.
“My goal is to see only positive letters and articles (in the paper),” he explained.
But positive press isn’t the only item on Dupray’s “To Do” list.
He also wants to improve the CSD’s relationship with the county by ending a lawsuit filed. The CSD sued the county alleging that it’s not receiving all the property tax revenue it should. The CSD currently serves some areas (fire protection, parks, etc) for which it doesn’t receive any tax revenue, according to Dupray. The CSD board and staff want to renegotiate the agreement with the county so the district gets its fair share and can continue providing services to all its residents, he said. Dupray is confident his experience can end the lawsuit “very soon” … without having to go through the legal process.
Dupray also has the CSD budget on his mind and said he’d like to end this fiscal year (June 30) with a balanced budget, and have a balanced budget next year. The district’s general fund budget is approximately $3 million annually, he said, and other funds, like those collected for landscaping and lighting districts as well as CC&Rs, have restrictions placed on them and can only be used for specific purposes.
Balancing the budget in this economy won’t be easy, Dupray acknowledged, explaining, “We are suffering like every other government agency in California. We have seen an 11 percent decrease in revenue (this year) and expect another 4 percent next year.”
Dupray’s financial philosophies include the adage “do more with less” and plan ahead. He proposes staff and the board develop a five-year plan that includes a rainy day fund and capital improvements.
Though the district’s reputation has sat under a cloud, Dupray said it has a lot to be proud of. The fire department is “doing a fantastic job. We’ve got a great chief in place.” The parks look great with more amenities on the way, he continued, and more and more people are using the CSD’s gym and participating in programs offered at the community center.
Recruitment for a new general manager can take up to four months, according to Dupray. His contract expires at the end of June with the caveat that the board can extend it if a new general manager has yet to be hired. An extension is likely, Dupray said.
But what about a permanent extension?
“I’m still mulling it over,” he said. “I haven’t ruled it out … or in.”