One incumbent and one newcomer are poised to take two seats on the five-member Tuolumne Utilities District Board of Directors.

With 100 percent of precincts counted, the Tuolumne County Elections office reported about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday that Newcomer Jeff Kerns, with 7,252 votes, or 33.24 percent, was in the lead.

Kerns was followed by incumbent Ron Ringen with 5,515 votes, or 25.28 percent.

The second incumbent, Jim Grinnell, had 4,579 votes or 20.99 percent, followed closely by John Maciel had, who had 4,366 votes, or 20.01 percent.

Grinnell was first elected to the board in November 2012, but a broken ankle forced an early retirement in June 2013. He was again elected to the board in 2014.

Maciel previously served on the TUD board from 2012 to 2016 but lost his re-election bid two years ago.

Kerns, president of Yosemite Title Co. in downtown Sonora, said at a candidates forum hosted Oct. 5 by the Tuolumne County Chamber of Commerce that the unprotected wooden flume that carries water from Lyons Reservoir through the ditch system to ratepayers would be a priority.

“We need a long-term solution to the flume,” he said. “That weighs heavily on my mind.”

Kerns’ family has run a small water company in Cold Springs since 1981.

This is Ringen’s second term on the TUD board. He was first elected in 2014 during difficult financial times and severe water-use restrictions within the district.

“Now, almost four years later, TUD is back on track,” Ringen said at the October forum. “We stabilized our water rates, the employees are busy with capital improvement projects, and we have reduced the risk of catastrophic fire through our tree mortality removal grant program.”

Directors for TUD serve four-year terms and work to establish policies for the operation of the district, which provides water and wastewater services to nearly 44,000 residents in Tuolumne County.

Meetings are held at 2 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at 18885 Nugget Blvd., in Sonora.

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