In this issue of City News, you’ll find out how to monitor air quality this winter, how to xeriscape your garden and how to get assistance on a down payment for a home. Thanks for reading.

- Darin Atteberry, City Manager

Election Day is April 6

The City of Fort Collins municipal election is right around the corner. Residents in Districts 1, 3, 4 and 5 will elect Council representatives. All voters will elect a new Mayor and vote on five charter amendments and two ballot issues.

Ballots will be mailed March 19 and must be returned by 7 p.m. on Election Day, April 6. They can be returned by mail—no postage required—or delivered to one of 12 drop-off locations. The full list of ballot box locations can be found in the voter instructions included with your ballot, or online at fcgov.com/AprilElection. Remember to sign your ballot!

In Colorado, you can register to vote up to and on Election Day. To view or change your registration, visit govotecolorado.com. No matter how you chose to submit your ballot - mail or drop box - please remember to sign the back of the envelope! All ballots must be received by 7 p.m. on Election Day, April 6! 

Learn More

Water Quality and Drought Monitoring

Water quality impacts our water supply just as much as drought. And with the recent wildfires, we’re watching water quality closely as we come into spring and summer months, when hot temperatures drive higher demands and runoff from burned areas can impact water supplies. We will keep the community updated on the status of our water resources in 2021 and beyond.

For the latest updates on water quality and potential water use restrictions:
Learn how you can save water indoors and out at www.fcgov.com/conserve.

Fort Collins Joins 40+ Other Colorado Jurisdictions in Regional Down Payment Assistance Program

Does your household make less than $150,000 a year? Are you ready to buy a home, but saving up for the down payment is a significant challenge? City Council has paved the way for our community members to participate in an additional down payment assistance program called Metro Mortgage Assistance Plus (or MetroDPA), which is a regional program administered by the City and County of Denver. This is yet another option for down payment assistance adding to those provided by Impact Development Fund, the Colorado Housing Finance Authority and private banks.

Is your household eligible for this opportunity? Learn more here!

Summer Camps

Registration for Recreation’s Camp FunQuest summer programs is open! Enroll before April 19 and receive priority registration for summer camp week selection and access to virtual parent meetings. Learn more about summer camp in the latest Recreator.

Recreation also offers youth classes for all ages, abilities and interests including childcare options, school break and camp programs, summer camps, early learning and enrichment, family programs, special events and more! Learn more about youth program opportunities and register for programs today.

Register for Camp FunQuest

Winter Air Quality

With the 2020 wildfires fresh in our memories, the Fort Collins community is paying attention to the local air quality more than ever. One thing many are wondering is if they need to pay attention to the air quality in the winter months like they do in the summer months. The answer is yes – air quality is important year-round!

During the summer, ozone and particles in the air from wildland fires are primary concerns; however, winter weather patterns often create conditions for poor air quality. Thermal inversions—where warmer air is above colder air, effectively trapping particulate matter, carbon monoxide, smoke from indoor fireplaces, odors, and other contaminants close to the surface—are common during winter months. In addition, cold air is denser and moves slower, mixing less than during the warmer months. Combined with inversions, less mixing means potentially higher pollution concentrations at ground level. High pollution concentrations can negatively impact health, especially one’s lungs and nervous system.

Below are ways to reduce air pollution in winter months:

  • Avoid idling your vehicle for more than 30 seconds.
  • Avoid using solid fuel burning appliances and devices like smokers, bbqs, fireplaces, fire pits, woodstoves, etc. on Winter High Pollution Advisory days unless they are EPA certified or are the only source of heat.
    • Sign up for alerts and check the local Air Quality Index daily at fcgov.com/aqdata.
  • If you have an indoor fireplace, only use clean, dry, seasoned wood in an EPA-approved woodstove or appliance.

Helpful tips for indoor burning can be found at fcgov.com/indoorburning.

Fort Collins School of Witchcraft & Wizardry

A new take on an old classic, join the magical fun of Fort Collins School of Witchcraft & Wizardry (formerly Hogwarts Halloween). Make a wand, a dragon and a snitch, and learn about fantastic beasts while attending magical classes all from the comfort of your own home. Pre-register now and receive details for a special visit to Diagon Alley to pick up school supplies and gain access to virtual classrooms.

Learn More & Register

March 15-21 is Fix a Leak Week

Utilities leak notification system detected 83,500 large leaks in 2020, with an average leak rate of 112 gallons per hour. These leaks wasted an average of 2,688 gallons per day, which is between five to 20 times more than the typical household uses each day.

Irrigation systems and toilets are the top two causes of leaks among Utilities customers. Other common leaks include dripping faucets and valves that are not regularly maintained and often go undetected. Fixing easily-corrected household water leaks can save homeowners about 10% on water bills.

Sign up to receive leak alerts at fcgov.com/MyWater. This program allows you to identify unexplained water use, receive leak alerts and learn more about saving water.   

For other resources to fix common household links, visit epa.gov/watersense/fix-leak-week.

Garden in a Box

Do you want to use less water and update your landscaping? Garden in a Box is the answer! Choose from 10 pre-designed xeriscape garden boxes for areas 60-100 square feet. These do-it-yourself kits come with 15 to 30 starter plants, a comprehensive Plant and Care Guide and one to three plant by number maps. Utilities and Nature in the City are offering a limited number of $25 discounts to Utilities water customers for these water-wise kits (discount not available on "Homegrown Harvest" or "Greatest Hits" kits).

Go native in 2021! The Naturally Native and Colors of Colorado boxes are made up entirely of plants native to Colorado. Native plants provide habitat uniquely suited to support local pollinators, conserve water, eliminate the need for fertilizer and are naturally disease and pest resistant. They thrive in our climate and promote environmental stewardship.

Boxes go on sale March 1!

Learn More

Help Keep Fort Collins Safe & Keep NoCo Open

Vaccine distribution is underway in Larimer County, but we know it will take time for much of our population to receive vaccines. We need to stay vigilant to Keep NoCo Open and keep our community safe. Find out when you will be eligible for a vaccine, and continue to take steps to prevent the spread of COVID-19:

  • Avoid get-togethers with anyone outside of your immediate household.
  • Wear a mask or face covering when outside your home and near others.
  • Stay physically distant when you’re around others (at least 6 feet apart).
  • Wash your hands frequently!
  • Stay home if you’re not feeling well or have been exposed.

Let's continue to work together, take care of each other and Keep NoCo Open!

And don't forget to check out ForFortCollins.com for stories, tools, resources, and ideas for both business and community members to help our businesses reopen strongly and safely.

For Fort Collins Resources

PFA Encourages Cold-Weather Preparation

The February freeze served as a reminder of the importance of pipe preparation and sprinkler system maintenance. Poudre Fire Authority (PFA) firefighters responded to more than 40 calls for burst pipes and fire sprinkler activations due to frozen pipes within 48 hours of President’s Day.

Frozen water can cause pipes to burst leading to extensive damage, unplanned expenses, and wasted resources. Whether you're a homeowner, a tenant in an apartment complex, a business owner, or property manager, these tips can protect some of your most valuable assets:

  • Wrap heating coil or tape around external pipes or spigots. 
  • Disconnect and drain hoses. For fire sprinkler systems, drain dry systems monthly.  
  • Keep home thermostats set to at least 60 degrees, even in a multi-unit building. The potential warmth from neighbors may not be enough to protect your unit and the combined heating effort will help protect the entire structure. Even if leaving for an extended period, keep the thermostat on and set to 60 or above. 
  • Let a faucet drip very slowly if you will be gone or have a problematic area such as an exposed pipe or space with a broken door. The small water movement can prevent freezing until you get it fixed. 
  • Check areas that are not visited often or separate from the main area of a building. Riser rooms and storage spaces are common areas of concern. Check that doors and windows are closed and locked, so they don’t unintentionally open and leave pipes exposed to freezing temperatures.  

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Communications & Public Involvement Office
215 N Mason St
Fort Collins, CO 80524