Banking and Healthcare administration
Currently completing 2nd term serving Pueblo on the water board. The past 8 years have provided a critical base of knowledge regarding water supply, infrastructure, asset management and the importance of effective long term planning. We have focused on long term planning to ensure a high quality, low cost water supply for the next 50 - 100 years for the city of Pueblo. I have served as the board president for a 3 year period and currently serve as secretary.
I have worked with board and staff to complete the purchase of a significant portion of Bessemer Ditch shares to reduce reliance on the Colorado River as a source of water for the community. As a board member we focus on establishing and maintaining a longterm workforce to assure a highly qualified and stable team of water professionals. We work as a board to continually seek water storage opportunities to preserve and store our water supply.
One of the most significant issues facing the Pueblo water board and the region is the need for additional water storage. We continually work to find new methods and opportunities in order to add to storage capacity for Pueblo water.
I believe the Board of Water Works of Pueblo is soundly operated by staff with oversight from the elected board. There is a unified commitment to providing Pueblo the highest quality, reliable water source at the lowest cost. All of this while looking 50 to 100 year into the future. The board and staff have developed a culture of seeking constant improvement in quality, cost management and future planning.
Mike Castellucci is a life-long resident of Pueblo, a graduate of South High School and The University of Southern Colorado (nka CSU Pueblo). Castellucci’s roots run deep in Pueblo. His family has lived in Pueblo since his grandfather immigrated to the United States and his children and now grandchildren live in the community as well.
Mike Castellucci’s work experience is anchored by over 23 years in the finance/banking industry. He has owned his own financial services company and held prominent positions at several local banks. Mike is active in the community serving on several boards and committees. Among many others, they include being Chairman of The Pueblo Zoning Board of Appeals and Vice Chair of the Planning and Zoning Commission, Designated Financial Member on Pueblo's Urban Renewal Authority Façade Improvement Committee and Treasurer for the South High School Alumni Foundation. At 46 years of age Mike looks forward serving Pueblo on the Board of Water works for many years to come if the community decides to elect him.
Mike is married to his wife, Marie they have 4 children and 3 grandchildren and all call Pueblo home.
I've lived in Pueblo since 1973. Amazingly the only qualification needed to run for the Board of Water Works is to have been a resident of the city for the past 12 months. So because of this, it leaves the decision of what makes a good board member completely up to the citizens of Pueblo and I think that was amazingly intuitive by the creators of our charter. We should ask if any of the candidates would have conflicts. You can't be an effective board member for your community if you have to recuse yourself when tough decisions have to be made. Do the board members experiences include water knowledge, or are they limited to only water knowledge? Along with water knowledge you need to have knowledge of many other areas, and that knowledge needs to include practical application between the other areas and how to prioritize those issues. Is the candidate in tune with a wide range of people in the community, or just a small group of insiders in the community? I can gladly say I have no conflicts and my life experiences and knowledge base includes water knowledge but also transcends that knowledge and I know how it applies to many other areas. My support throughout the community shows a wide range of supporters from all walks of life in the community and among other communities as well to help with future plans for the city. Please keep in mind that Pueblo's water as well as the actual board that runs it, is something that requires long term planning. When a funeral director, a dentist, an architect, a banker and an attorney were respectively elected, they had knowledge that transcended water and was much more beneficial to the organization and Pueblo. They became one of the most effective boards the city has had and NONE were water professionals. What they had was a commitment to ensuring Pueblo's future and a knowledge of the community that was far more important. They also had the time to become long term members of the board which added to the Water Works' success. The late Mr. McCarthy became a great board member and board president because he had the years ahead of him to allow a long tenure. I too have the balance between knowing our community, the business sense to run a large organization and the time and commitment to become a long term member of the board and it would be in Pueblo's best interest to include me on the board.
Water knowledge goes much further than knowing how to get your water from a mountain top to your faucet. It also means knowing how important it is to the community that the faucet is working the night of the Cannon or Bell game and what it means to see the HARP channel full and flowing during the Chile Festival. I have been involved with the Pueblo's Planning & Community Development department since 2002 and have served as both Chairman and Vice-Chairman of two of the boards during that time. I am the only candidate that has completed the invitation only program "Growing Water Smart" put on by The Babbitt Center for Land and Water Policy and The Sonoran Institute. This program takes water planning and land management and applies one congruently with the other. Knowing water issues or technical applications does no one any good if that can't be applied to the rest of the issues facing our community. Knowing our water is only one of a long list of skills you should want from a board member. I have been in banking and finance for over 23 years. I have financed agricultural projects, water acquisitions, building developments as well as conservation easement projects. All of these require knowledge of the complex water issues that go along with each. They are all very different and require a different approach for each. Understanding all of the different intricacies and how to safeguard and protect them not only requires the knowledge of the water and it's complexities, but also how to construct a project that is viable and workable for all parties involved. This includes but is not limited to complex negotiating and an awareness of how all sides of a project can benefit and how to demonstrate that to all of the parties involved. I have honed my skills in these areas over many years of being involved first hand in these types of projects. I will be using that experience to not just understand water issues but also how they directly and indirectly affect every other aspect involved.
There's an old saying "you've got to make hay while the sun's shining". It has many underlying messages, but a lot of them parallel with our water. In a wet year such as the one we just had, we don't get to take as much advantage of it as we could if we had more or larger reservoirs. More storage allows for easier averaging between wet and dry years. This along with constant balancing of water usage and water selling to other users to benefit the community are the two most important issues I see. I would recommend constant and saving and planning for additional storage as well as maximizing the leasing of excess water to other users outside of Pueblo to benefit the finances of the BWW to allow us to have the funds needed when assets come available to be purchased.
The board of Water Works has a long history of running quietly and smoothly in the background so we as a community can have the luxury of taking it for granted. This may not always be the case. Just because the BWW makes it look easy doesn't mean it is. I think more community awareness could be promoted so people further understand what a good deal we're getting for the price we pay. The board has done a very good job of managing the finite assets of the community's water and the money it takes to ensure a viable operation well into the future and this will require us to continuously look for efficiencies and I would promote those efforts.
Real Estate - Extensive community service
Background in water rights and transfer thereof. 30+ years learning about Pueblo water with board members and employees including extensive touring of the transfer ditches and storage facilities from Leadville to beyond Pueblo
Farm and ranch real estate with water rights as well as ditch share sales and water courses and training for over 25 years
Storage and transfer of water outside of Pueblo proper - aggressively search for feasible water storage sites that will create the least amount of impact while creating the largest amount of storage capability, continue the good work already in place regarding who gets our water and how they receive it and return it
Being one of the most well run boards for decades, change wold not be recommended. Some new aggressive, yet well thought out, and intelligent strategies on storage would be my recommendation.
After a 31-year career at the Pueblo Chieftain, where I wrote prolifically about water issues, I began my second career as a water professional in 2016, joining the Southeastern Colorado Water Conservancy District as an employee. I deal with the incredibly complex, interesting world of water on a daily basis, and I am committed to the protection of water rights, water quality and fair and equal access to water. Importantly, my time at the Pueblo Chieftain gave me a deep understanding of the Pueblo community and the needs of its citizens. I wrote numerous stories about issues other than water, and as an editor, managed reporters who covered Pueblo issues.
During my years on the water beat, my understanding of water grew, as I viewed the issue through many lenses: political, cultural, scientific, engineering, legal, and financial. All of these viewpoints are important to understanding how water is obtained, moved, treated, and used.
On a personal level, I tend to ignore political affiliations since water is, and always should be, a non-partisan issue. I have the strong support of both Republicans and Democrats in this election.
I hold a bachelor's degree in journalism from Northern Arizona University, and completed post-graduate fellowships and training in journalism.
I am a fair guitar player, an adequate singer and a world-class harmonica musician.
1, Resident of Pueblo since 1985
2. I am the most knowledgeable candidate about water issues.
3. I have extensive experience in policy and management decisions.
4. I have a track record of integrity, honesty and openness.
5. I have a deep knowledge of how the Water Board operates and functions.
6. I have a tremendous amount of experience in dealing with statewide water issues.
7. I am committed to protecting the quality and quantity of water for Puebloans.
8. I believe the common good is more important than my personal interests.
9. I think Pueblo's water rates should remain affordable for all people.
10. Water is crucial to the future growth of Pueblo, as well as maintaining the quality of life.
I am PASSIONATE about water. I deal with water issues every day. I have dealt with water issues every day since joining the Pueblo Chieftain in 1985. I often dream about water related subjects at night.
Currently, I manage 16 accounts for customers who store water in Pueblo Reservoir.
I am part of a team that sells water on a wholesale basis to cities and irrigation companies each year. On average, we sell 13 billion gallons of water a year.
I understand the importance of water to Pueblo. I am well-versed in the history of how the Board of Water Works developed, grew and transitioned from a simple service provider to a major economic driver in Pueblo.
I am a contributing member to the Colorado Water Congress outreach committee, the Colorado Water Conservation Board's Colorado River Drought Contingency Planning group, National Water Resources Association, and other professional groups.
I am working hard to develop the Arkansas Valley Conduit, which will provide water to 40 communities who are now facing state enforcement for water-quality issues.
In short, I know how water works, and why it is important.
The Board has lost its most knowledgeable member, Kevin McCarthy. Kevin had 30 years of experience on the Water Board, and was the senior member at the time of his death. I have that same depth of knowledge.
My goals on the Water Board are simple:
1. Protect the quantity and quality of Pueblo's water.
2. Keep rates low,
3. Treat customers fairly with respect.
The biggest issue is to continue the policies that have made Pueblo Water the best-run government agency in Pueblo. The Water Board implemented a program to help low-income residents pay delinquent bills, a small fee that covers residential line breaks, and saves the city money by collecting fees for stormwater, sewers and streets.
With three seats open in this election, Pueblo voters need to choose candidates who are committed to maintaining the quality of service that has been established.