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Lamar Council Okays Future Event Dates, Equipment Funding for LFD

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County Commissioner, Ron Cook, is organizing the 21st Annual Car Show and Rod Run at Willow Creek Park on May 21st and received permission from the Lamar City Council to hold the event in a section of the park including an overnight stay for vendors on the 20th.  “We had 39 vendors last year as well as 145 entries of cars and motorcycles which made it the best attended event since we started this.  I’m supported by 27 sponsors from the area and because of their help, this is, as far as I know, the only car show in the region that doesn’t charge an entry fee,” he acknowledged.  Cook said the No Booze Cruise on Friday evening helps contribute to the annual July 4th fireworks display and he receives help with volunteers from the LFD and LPD.  New Plans call for a free outdoor movie and popcorn the night of 21st.  Approval was also granted to the Sand and Sage Fair Board for overnight parking at the park for the annual Wild West BBQ contest held on May 12th and 13th.   This event has also grown over the past several years, as Chairperson Toni McPherson explained, “Last year we had 32 entries and this year we’re capping that to 35 teams.”  She requested the overnight permit to accommodate those contestants who are manning their BBQ pits during that period.

The bunker gear used by the Lamar Fire Department has a life span of about ten years, according to Chief Jeremy Burkhart. He told the council the department was awarded a grant of $39,075 from the Division of Fire Prevention and Control for the Colorado Firefighter safety and Disease Prevention Grant.  This will pay for 25 bunker coats and matching pants t outfit the paid and volunteer staff.  “The cost totals $50,750 and we have the $11,675 balance from the line item that we budget for our bunker gear purchases.  The council authorized Mayor Stagner to sign the letter accepting the grant.

It has been three years since the council approved a city employee salary and compensation survey and review to see if there was much of a disparity between what Lamar paid its employees and other, similar communities paid theirs. Some adjustments were made based on the findings of the consultation firm. The council, based on recent recommendations from city staff, approved a review of salaries now that three years have passed.  Bert Davis, City Human Resources Manager, made the proposal to the Council who stated that this review will be conducted for a $10,000 fee, as opposed to the initial study three years back that cost $25,000.  She explained that this will be a similar study, comparing salaries and position classification with other communities, but the majority of the work had been done at the first go-round which would be reflected in the lesser cost.  City Administrator, John Sutherland, explained that the salaries had been locked at their current level from three years ago and the city had actually saved some money through the study’s recommendations.  “One area that was improved was we had two groups of employees at the lower and higher end of salary levels and few in the mid-range.  That study improved that situation.  About 12 employees had been over-maxed, but had not received any changes or the last three years,” he stated, adding that he felt it was time for a review at this point.  The council approved funding the new study.

Several board and committee appointments were approved by the council including the re-appointment of Peter Page for a five year term on the Lamar Airport Board until 2021 and five appointments to the Lamar Historic Preservation Advisory Board. This board was created in 2002 to assist the city council for the preservation of cultural and architectural history within the city.  Over the years, though, the board became inactive and all terms expired.  Now, five individuals have stated their intention to serve on a new board and those five were appointed by the council for one, two and three year terms.  They are:  Axel Thurner, Trevor LaCost, Jennifer Mortimeyer, Melissa Bohl and Stephanie Gonzales.  City Administrator, John Sutherland, said Angie Cue, Lamar Community Development Director, will assist the board in efforts to secure a Certified Local Government status which will aid the community in securing preservation funds.

The Lamar City Council approved several appointments during their  meeting,  including ratifying an earlier phone poll for authorization to send a letter of support for CDOT’s application for funding for construction of the Lamar Reliever Route and for the parking permit for the recently completed Dust Bowl run which was held in Lamar on March 25th.

City Administrator, John Sutherland, stated the next informal council breakfast meeting is set for Wednesday, April 6th from 7am to 8am at Subway in Lamar, the Friends of the Lamar Library will hold their spring book sale in conjunction with the 50th anniversary from April 9th through the 13th and the city-wide spring clean-up has been set for Saturday, April 30th, beginning at 7am.

By Russ Baldwin

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