FOREST LAKES – A new district manager for the Forest Lakes Metropolitan District plans to prioritize water and wastewater updates, as well as building a sense of community.
The board of directors officially hired Keith Rountree as district manager Tuesday. The former district manager and the office manager resigned on the same day in early September. The board hired Jamie Echeverri as the office manager in October. In his first week on the job, Rountree was ready to tackle future projects in the district.
“My ultimate goal is to make a difference in our community,” Rountree said.
During a board meeting, Tony Schrier, board president, said the hiring committee was impressed by Rountree’s experience as a public works director in Alaska. There, he managed a staff of 60 employees and maintained roads, facilities, infrastructure and utilities for more than 160,000 residents.
Forest Lakes Metropolitan District, the largest subdivision in La Plata County with about 2,000 residents, is a quasi-municipal governmental entity with limited responsibilities. The district board makes decisions about trash, roads, water, limited sewer and recreational services.
Schrier and Dave Sheetz, another board member, served on the hiring committee for the new position. Sheetz was unavailable for Rountree’s interview, so another board member, Shauna Unger, stepped in. However, she did not make any decisions because she was not on the hiring committee, she said.
As district manager, Rountree will be responsible for maintaining services and communicating with the board of directors.
Rountree has been a Forest Lakes resident since 2009. When he and his wife arrived, residents immediately welcomed them into the community.
“It really felt like a neighborhood,” he said.
He served in the Air Force for 21 years doing architectural design and then working in operations and maintenance. He has degrees in architecture and environmental design and in engineering management.
His most immediate goals are to get to know the staff and the district’s responsibilities. He will also focus on getting the water and wastewater systems up to date. That includes conducting a 2020 utility rate study, updating wastewater infrastructure to match new permit requirements and ensuring that staff certifications match changes at the state level.
“One of my goals is that all of Forest Lakes would have that feel where we would have top-notch facilities and utilities, and it feels like a community,” he said.