4/21/2021 Road work will be started today on Forest Lakes Dr. at the intersection of Mountain Oak Dr. and Forest Lakes Dr. and continue down Forest Lakes Dr. to the north entrance. Please use the south entrance, San Moritz Dr. and Alpine Forest Dr. to reduce the traffic hazards. The road WILL be treated for dust control.
Since my arrival almost a year and a half ago, it has been a huge priority of mine to get a “road map” together that systematically looked at the required sewer, water and roads infrastructure upgrades the District needed to complete over the next several years. We contracted with San Juan Engineering almost a year ago to complete this for us and on March 8th we received their Draft Report. I must say that Rick Johnson and Matt Mathers did an excellent and very comprehensive job with completing this 30 year masterplan for the District! On March 8th, we provided copies of this document to staff and our Board of Directors. Staff has met with San Juan Engineering on 2 occasions to review the plan and to provide additional input, and our Board was briefed on the Masterplan via Zoom at a public Special meeting/Study Session meeting on April 7th at 1:30 pm. A copy of the Draft report is attached for the public’s review, and it will be finalized in the near future.
As a side note, we have seen many reports on the condition of our Nation’s infrastructure, and our infrastructure within our subdivision will need the same attention to ensure it is able to handle existing and future District and resident requirements. This Masterplan will help us prioritize the work that is needed while giving us the ammo to seek different funding avenues to make the critical and important projects happen!
On March 30th, we reopened our offices to the public with the following stipulations: masks are required and no more than 2 people are allowed in the lobby at one time. Also, as we start the transition to our new Government Accounting Software (Caselle), sorting through storage files to ready this office to move to our new building this fall, reviewing and implementing many aspects of our Capital Improvements Plan (CIP), etc., we are attempting to balance staff “focus” time and having our office available to residents. With that being said, we have implemented public walk-in hours last week and they are Monday – Friday, from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm and from 1:00 pm – 3:30 pm. Our office doors will be locked outside of these designated public walk-in hours. Please note that we still answer phone calls during these hours and residents can still drop off payments to our drop box. The other goal here is that once we have moved to the new building, our public walk-in hours would have become second nature.
Forest Lakes Subdivision Wildfire Preparedness Day – Saturday, May 1st, 2021
The National Fire Protection Association and State Farm partner annually to provide $500 grants to communities and individuals to help reduce wildfire risk. This year, they landed on the idea of a community slash disposal day on May 1st in Forest Lakes where volunteers would bring trucks and trailers to transport slash for homeowners who either do not have the equipment or capabilities to transport brush or slash themselves. So, if you don’t have a truck or trailer to haul away your brush pile or bagged pine needles or pine cones, you may qualify for this free service. To be put on a list, you must call one of the numbers below (between April 12th – April 24th, from 9:00 am – 5:00 pm). Here are the people to call:
Anne 970-884-7636 Marilyn 970-884-4616 Jeannie 970-884-2476
Please place materials to be hauled near the roadside. Any help you can offer would be greatly appreciated. If you would like to be a driver or if you need additional information, please call Anne Schrier at 970-884-7636.
Industrial Coating Inc (ICI), Farmington, has completed the interior coating of our Pine Ridge Water tank that supplies drinking water to Unit 2. We expect to have that tank up and fully operational no later than April 2nd. Our contractor will then coat the interior of our second Green Ridge tank, which has been decommissioned due to a pin hole in the tank’s wall. We requested a quote from ICI to also coat the interior of our E. Pine Top tank, and if this quote is in line with those of the other 2 tanks, our contractor will complete that tank after he finishes the coating work on the Green Ridge tank. Later this summer as the outside and tank surface temperatures warm up, our contractor will paint the exteriors of the above 3 tanks. With these projects, we are “breathing new life” into our tanks by extending their usability by several years. If residents have questions about these projects, please call us at 970-884-2925. We have included a diagram that shows the locations of all 5 of the District’s water tanks.
Each year, fire and rescue crews around the country respond to fires that are caused by improper disposal of hot coals or ashes from fireplaces, wood stoves, pellet stoves, grills or mobile fireplaces designed for use on decks or patios. The fact is, coals and ashes from fires can remain hot enough to start a fire for many days after you think the fire is out. The exact amount of time for complete extinguishment and cooling depends on many factors such as how hot the fire was, what was burning, how much unburned fuel remains, etc.
To be safe, simply treat all ashes and coals as hot, even when you think they have had time enough to cool. To properly dispose of ashes or coals we recommend the following:
If possible, allow ashes and coals to cool for several days in the area where you had the fire. These devices are designed to contain their heat safely.
When it is time to dispose of the ashes, transfer them to a metal container and wet them down.
Keep the metal container outside your home and away from any combustibles (away from structures, your porch, etc.) until the refuse is hauled away.
DO NOT place any other combustibles in the metal container.
DO NOT use a combustible container.
When it is time to dispose of your ashes, please note that in 2020 the District purchased an ash bin for all residents to use. When you go to the trash dumpsters, just look for the below container:
Thank you to all who have registered for FLMD e-billing, we appreciate it greatly!
Those of you who are interested in our e-bill service but haven’t registered yet, you will need the following information:
5 digit pin number located at the very top-mid portion of utility bill
4 digit account number located in left top corner of utility bill
Last 4 numbers of your social security number
If you have multiple accounts, each one will have to be entered separately.
*Registration errors are mostly because of typos and incorrect account/pin numbers. If you are logging on to make corrections, you will need to allow 24 hrs from your first attempt before logging back in. Also, if you’re updating an email address please notify FLMD office at Office@flmd.com
Over the past several months, we have seen many deficiencies with the capabilities of our existing Assyst Accounting software and some of them were noted during our Audit of our 2019 financials. We reached out to Edgemont Metro District, Pagosa Area Water and Sewer (PAWS) and the Town of Bayfield to determine which software they use. Each of them uses Caselle Government Accounting software and after interviewing their financial staff we learned that they are ecstatic about is capabilities, training, technical support, price, etc. We also made a matrix that compared the capabilities of Assyst and Caselle and there was just no comparison between them. We are very excited about implementing this new accounting software, staff and the residents are sure to see the benefits through more accurate cost accounting, financial tracking and reporting; easier and more efficient way to process customer accounts, customer bills and payments and payment entry; on-line and credit card bill paying; improved service work order system; convenient, accurate and detailed cash receipting; more efficient process of issuing checks (check on demand) and managing vendor payments; more effective ability to manage the entire purchasing process from requisitions to receiving, etc. To get all the modules we need, the total upfront cost, which includes training, set-up and conversion would be about $19K. The monthly Hosted Maintenance & Support cost would be about $920 for two workstations. We have budgeted these funds in the 2021 budget to make the transition.
Can you tell that we are excited? We hope so because since the current staff arrived over a year ago, fighting with these archaic financial systems has been a source of headaches and frustration from Day 1! We will start making the transition to Caselle in January and we continue to work hard in making long-term positive differences in the District and for the residents. We ask for your patience as we implement our new accounting software!
Snow Storage and the Management of the District’s Right-of-Way
The road right-of-way averages 25 feet from the centerline of the roadway, and this area is needed for snow storage, drainage, and signage. At times, it is necessary to plow snow well off the road into the right-of-way to make room for the next storm. Homeowners and residents should be cautious about landscaping and placing objects in the right-of-way (parked vehicles, trailers, campers, trash containers, etc.), which could obstruct traffic and get damaged by snowplows. While snowplow operators are careful to avoid contact with items in the right-of-way whenever possible, citizens are solely responsible for any damage which may result to these objects or to the District’s snow removal equipment. Additionally, you risk having any vehicles removed and towed if they are illegally parked within the District’s right-of-way. On the other hand, we have had instances where children are building forts within berms or snow mounds that are also within the right-of-way. The snowplow operators cannot see children in these mounds and we ask for your help to eliminate all of these life, health, safety and property damage issues.
Many times it is very difficult for residents to attend the monthly Board of Director’s Meetings, despite their best efforts to slice out that time. We do complete Minutes of the meeting, but also want residents to be able to listen and view the meetings when they are unable to attend them. With that, starting with the December 8th meeting, we will upload the recordings from the Zoom Meetings! Since we expect to continue using Zoom in the future for all meetings whether we can meet in place or not, this will continue to be available to all residents. The Recordings will be uploaded under the “Organization” Drop Down Menu.
Deadline and Conditions to Install Taps for Pre-Paid Tap Fees
Under prior FLMD policy and resolutions, Owners, or their predecessors who pre-paid for water and sewer taps had a limited period of time to enter into a Service Agreement and have the physical taps installed for the pre-paid prices. The time for obtaining taps at pre-paid prices has long since expired. Notwithstanding this fact, we understand that some Owners whose lots have pre-paid tap fees may have been told by FLMD staff at the time they purchased their lots that tap fees were paid in full. For any Owners who were informed by FLMD staff that their tap fees were paid in full, by direction of the Board of Directors, FLMD will honor such representation and will install taps for pre-paid prices provided the conditions in the attached letter are fulfilled. We also mailed this letter to all Forest Lakes Subdivision residents. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate calling the FLMD office at 970-884-2925.
With the help of Dan Naiman Architecture, we completed the as-builts and Building Condition Assessment of the Community Center. The architectural team will present their findings and recommendations at tonight’s board meeting.
Financing for the Office Relocation of the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District Office to Forest Lakes Subdivision – New FLMD Office
This ballot initiative was put in front of the voters on November 3rd to seek $347,385 in financing to relocate the FLMD Admin Building to Forest Lakes Subdivision and it passed 612 votes “Yes” and 496 votes “No”. The District awarded the construction contract to Hotter Construction Inc. and Martin Hotter plans to start construction of the new building in April or May 2021, dependent upon weather. We expect to have the building construction complete by the end of 2021. FLMD staff has finalized the loan terms through First Southwest Bank. We invite you to review the drawings showing the floor plans, exterior elevations, site plan, and other construction drawings that are on the website. If residents have questions, please don’t hesitate calling us at 970-884-2925.
In Forest Lakes Subdivision, there are about 790 structures, whereby about 415 of them are connected to Forest Lake Metropolitan District’s sewer infrastructure. This means that there are about 375 of these structures that are handling their wastes generated in their homes through on-site septic systems. Is there a problem with this? Definitely not…as long as these systems are being properly operated and maintained on a regular basis. What is sewage? How does a septic system work? What is a leech field? Should I use chemicals in my septic system to help it operate? If I have a septic system, how often should I inspect my tank and the leech field? If I don’t see “stuff” coming out of the tank, am I Ok with not having it pumped on a regular basis? How often should I get it pumped? Are there possible environmental concerns if I don’t inspect my system or pump my tank regularly? Definitely all great questions and as a homeowner, you should be able to find answers to these questions without too much effort.
Forest Lakes Metropolitan District provides a wastewater system and that takes care of the materials generated from homes that are connected to our infrastructure. Put another way, we have jurisdiction over what goes into our system and we are required for the O&M of this system. For on-site septic systems, you (the homeowner) are responsible for the O&M of the on-site septic system that is on your property. Just like maintaining your vehicle, your OWTS requires maintenance too. San Juan Basin Public Health, through their Environmental Public Health Program, is the regulatory authority for on-site water treatment systems (OWTS) in La Plata County. Additional information on their programs can be found at: https://sjbpublichealth.org/septic/. On another note, if you are selling your property after January 1, 2019, your OWTS will be required to undergo an inspection prior to sale. This requirement helps identify failing and hazardous system and protects property buyers from unforeseen repair obligations.
So, back to the questions posed in the first paragraph. There are several resources on the internet that will educate you as a homeowner on the proper O&M of your OWTS. After spending a few minutes researching this, we have found 4 very good resources that should help you in this area. Even though Forest Lakes Metropolitan District does not officially endorse these resources, we are providing them to help you make decisions concerning the O&M of your on-site septic systems:
We also found a very user-friendly YouTube video (20 minutes) that walks you through this information as well and it also delves into some of the technical aspects of OWTS: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=udBaGyzJyU8
If you have a great resource on this topic and would like to share it with your neighbors, feel free to contact our office with that information (970)884-2925.
Where is the Metro District Office, what are the hours of the Trash and Brush/Slash Facility and where are they located, how many Board Members are there, what is the link to the District’s website, who are the internet providers in the area, who do I contact if I want to hook up to natural gas, how many fish can I legally keep while fishing Lake Simpatico, etc., etc., etc.? If you have had the above questions and many others, we hope you will find value in reading the new Forest Lakes Welcome Guide! Our goal is to provide residents of Forest Lakes subdivision with a “one stop” location to help get them oriented to their new community as quickly and as painlessly as possible. We will have hard copies at the Main FLMD office, and we will also include other valuable information, such as the Firewise and Pine River Shares Programs!
Have you heard about “Pine River Shares?” Maybe you want to be part of the Program or you have herd of it and want to learn more about it? Please visit their website: http://www.pinerivershares.org/ or check out the attached Flyer! Even though this Program is not part of Forest Lakes Metropolitan District, we are proud to advertise it on our website because of the services they provide to the residents in the Pine River Valley!
As a District, we remain committed to providing information and guidance to residents, and those that wish to conduct business in the District, that is easy to understand and that makes sense. In that light, we revamped our Excavation Permit Application, created a flowchart that describes the process and have developed a Handbook where the applicable documents can all be found in one place. We believe in “one stop shopping” and we appreciate any feedback you may have so we can continue to refine this and other information packets so that they are completely user friendly.
The Excavation Permit Application is to be used whenever a resident or a contractor will be installing utilities in the District’s right-of-way or when residents will install culverts (for driveways) where the work will also occur in the District’s right-of-way.
For questions related to this process, feel free to contact Forest Lakes Metropolitan District at 970-884-2925. Or, come see us at 271 N. Mountain View Drive, #271, Bayfield, CO 81122.
Given the continued fire risk in Forest Lakes Subdivision, open burning of brush, slash, debris, etc., is not allowed anywhere in the subdivision under any circumstances. Brush and slash can be brought to the Brush/Slash pile at 6893 County Road 501 for District personnel to dispose of. Pertaining to recreational burning, the approved and published covenants for Units 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 already prohibit recreational burning in fire pits or under any other circumstances, and the District will defer to those regulations. If you have questions, please direct them to the District Manager at 970-884-2925.
The Forest Lakes Metro District has neither short- or long-range plans to extend services into Unit 3. We don’t have the budget, manpower, nor time to even begin development in Unit 3. This was recognized by the Board of Directors back in 1985 when they passed a resolution that stated:
“the District would not construct or guarantee the construction of any of the public improvements to be located within Unit 3…”
There are several rudimentary roads that were bulldozed in the 70s, but it is my understanding that little or no survey was done and some portions of the roads were installed across private property; these erroneous alignments would require correction. Also the entire unit 3 area is basically solid rock. Correction of any erroneous road alignments or installation of additional roads would likely require blasting with dynamite. Installation of anything underground, such as house foundations, water and wastewater piping, septic systems, etc. would certainly require dynamite. Additionally, we advise you to speak with La Plata County about the building permit process and San Juan Basin Public Health about their septic system requirements.
Forest Lakes Metropolitan District remains committed to addressing issues in our subdivision related to our Mission; Life, Health and Safety; and Quality of Life. While issues related to our Mission and Life Health and Safety remain at the forefront, fortunately we do have funding to try and provide some significant Quality of Life Improvements in our Recreation Budget that target making this subdivision a nicer place to live.
With that, we have developed a Four Year Masterplan (2020 – 2023) that will make our park areas more usable, friendly, and safer for our residents. What are our 3 parks? The 3 parks are Lake Simpatico, the Community Center Park and the park on Meadowbrook Drive. Attached are plans that show how the District will upgrade our 3 parks with our 4-year Masterplan.
Given the current environment with the COVID-19 pandemic, conducting public meetings in person is out of the question and it is definitely not in the best interest of any of us at this time. In order to comply with The Open Meetings Law, we will conduct our upcoming Board of Director’s meeting(s) using Zoom. We suggest that you download the Zoom icon to your phone, PC or laptop in order to access the meetings from these items.
Thank you for your patience as we navigate with new processes that will hopefully ensure everybody will have access to these important meetings now and in the future.
**For all future zoom meetings please refer to FLMD events calendar for details.
Many people enjoy feeding wildlife because it allows them to have closer contact with these animals. Often they think they are helping the animals to survive, they could not be more incorrect. When wild animals begin to depend on humans for food, their foraging skills diminish. When young wild animals learn to depend on humans for food, they become less experienced in foraging and consequently less likely to survive. Furthermore, wild animals that are accustomed to food provided by humans commonly lose their fear of people. Animals that are unafraid of people will approach them for food and are sometimes mistaken for as rabid, or otherwise ill and subsequently killed for the perceived threat. They also become easy targets for people who mean them harm. An instinctive wariness of people is important for a wild animal’s survival.
Interested in completing wildfire mitigation on your property? Would you like to learn more about a grant that is available to Forest Lakes residents by reimbursing up to 75% of the cost of fire mitigation on your property? Please read on!