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Report from the Woodmen Hills Metro District July meeting

Bond negotiationsDeal or no dealDuring the last regular meeting, it was announced that a deal had been struck with bondholders. This month, District Manager Larry Bishop said the bond deal may be off the table. “We had a bond deal. I’m not real confident that we currently have one,” he said. “I will not address that issue at this moment, but I will tell you that perhaps we as a district have not been clear as to what this bond deal actually is, so let me clarify for you.”Bishop said the community is at 50 percent build out. The bonds previously issued did not take into account whether the development had reached capacity. “The interest rate on this community is 8 percent,” he said. “This community is at 50 percent build-out. It’s half. So, the half of you who live here are paying 100 percent of the debt for the other half who have not yet come.” Bishop then explained the current bond offer. “We will cut the interest rate to 3.5 percent. We will defer 4.5 (percent). Defer doesn’t mean you don’t pay it. Deferred doesn’t mean the bond holders lose any money. It simply means it’s deferred,” he said. “Every 100 homes added would trigger an increase in the bond rate and a decrease in the deferred rate.”The current bond issues also cannot be paid off without penalty, Bishop said. To pay off the bonds in 2016, he said a 103 percent penalty would be incurred. Bishop said the new bond issues will have no penalty for paying off the bonds. Bishop suggested that investment bankers would be anxious to provide a fixed rate, low-interest bond within a few years.”We just discovered that under the PFA (Woodmen Hills Public Facility Authority), the PFA had a lot of our assets that weren’t transferred to our books,” Bishop said. “Our balance sheet is going to go from $32 million to about $60 million. That gets investment bankers drooling at the mouth because that increases your insurability and your ability to pay off a loan because you’ve got the assets there in place.”According to the Colorado Secretary of State’s Web site, the PFA was formed in 1999 as a nonprofit organization to design, acquire, construct and install facilities for the Woodmen Hills Metropolitan District. The initial board of directors included Benjamin I. Green, Gerald Olesh, and Tracey L. Pelfrey.In another PFA matter, recall election candidate David Hightower received a letter from Berg Hill Greenleaf and Ruscitti, attorneys, asking him to retract statements he had posted on his Web site. Hightower posted the letter from the attorneys as well. Representing Rusty Green and the Skywalk Development Corp., the attorneys stated in the letter that “Mr. Green supports and encourages your First Amendment right to inquire about District and PFA matters and to facilitate a dialogue about them and even to complain and object to actions taken by them. Your webpage, however, has crossed the line by publishing blatant, false statements about Mr. Green, Skywalk and the other private entities owned and controlled by him which defame and damage him and his businesses.”RecallThe impending recall election set for Aug. 25 continues to cause discord in the district. Attorney for the district, Peter Susemihl, said, “When KRDO did their article on the recall, Larry Bishop responded with a written response for some of the factual allegations in that article, mainly that the district was going bankrupt and fees were going to have to increase. He responded and said basically that this wasn’t correct.”Susemihl said some citizens filed a complaint under the Fair Campaign Act alleging interference in the recall election and using district funds to do so. He said the complaint was dismissed because it had occurred before the recall was certified.Flooding updateConditions from the flooding have improved.Addressing the history of the area, Bishop said, “If you go back to the aerials of Woodmen Hills in the late 80s and early 90s, Fort Smith, if you flew over, you could tell it was a lake. The ground water was that high; it was a lake with all of the plants and fauna that comes with ground water being on top of the surface. He said the lake disappeared with the draught and it looked like a good spot to build. “Now we’re getting back into our normal wet cycle,” he said. You cycle 20 years drought, you cycle 20 years wet.”The district has put in backflow preventers on four homes to keep the water from coming back into the basements. The dimensions for the pipeline on Fort Smith Road have changed, he said. “We’re not putting in an 8-inch line; we’re putting in a 12-inch line,” Bishop said. “That water is running like a river.” Homeowners will not be forced to hook up to the new pipeline, but if they don’t, the district will not be responsible for future liability, he said.Water treatment plant issuesAs part of the Colorado Health Department’s cease and desist order to the Paintbrush Hills wastewater facility, the health department mandated that an engineering firm perform an evaluation of the facility.Petrotech was hired, and their findings included the following, Bishop said.The facility was one of the best run, well-maintained lagoon systems in Colorado, but the problem with the plant is a design flaw that doesn’t allow for enough volume. Expansion plans will not solve the issue. “It will not meet the design capacity of 1.3 million gallons per day … and the state health department will, by 2011 or 2012, initiate a total inorganic nitrogen requirement,” Bishop said. “The lagoon system is a dinosaur and we need to be in the planning stages for a wastewater treatment facility that will meet those new state requirements.”

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