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Lamar City Council Approves Committee Appointments

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The City of Lamar was proclaimed a 2015 Tree City USA award; marking the 25th year Lamar has received the designation which recognizes efforts to achieve a standard community forestry program.  Jane Felter of the Lamar Tree Board made the announcement to the council, as well as recognition of proclaiming Arbor Day on April 28th and Arbor Week from April 24th to the 30th.  “We have a number of projects underway,” she told the council, including the planting of 45 trees at the city tree nursery.  “We invite 5th and 6th grade students to participate and learn about the benefits of trees in our community,” she added.  Felter said the nursery is moving from a drip irrigation system to sprinklers in the near future as some vandalism has occurred in the past, and the change may eliminate any future destruction.  She noted that matching funds will be available from the State Forestry System to remove numerous dead trees from throughout the city.  The council approved the re-appointment of Judy Arnold and Darrell Finney to the board for three year terms and two positions are still open.

Roy Gueswel was re-appointed to the Lamar Advisory Board for a term expiring in 2021; Kent Fisher was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a five year term expiring in 2020, which leaves one vacancy. Bryce Hiigel and Kenny Davis were appointed to the Lamar Parks and Recreation Board which leaves one vacancy.  Two positions had expired and those members did not re-apply.

Additional funds will be available for downtown improvement projects. Angie Cue, Community Development Director, said the city, as a member of the Colorado Main Street Community, can apply for $7,000 through the DOLA Mini-Grant program with a minimum 25% cash match.  She said the funds will go towards streetscape enhancements such as alleyway improvements and the East Beech Street parking/event lot which includes additional poles.

The city is loaning some of its 2016 Airport Improvement Entitlements which it won’t use this year, to the Archuleta Count Airport which needs funds to complete a project. This is not a new practice, according to Pat Mason, Public Works Director.  He said this may actually help our airport with larger grants in the future.  The $150,000 Entitlement will be repaid to Lamar next year.

The council approved the renewal of a franchise agreement with Charter Communications. This contract finalization has been on-going for some time.  City Administrator, John Sutherland, had a recent meeting with the cable company’s government relations representative and presented her with about two dozen letters and emails regarding lack of service.  Sutherland had said at an earlier council meeting that the representative had been under the impression that, due to lack of any complaints, their service had been acceptable.  The letters sent to the Lamar City Clerk’s office indicated a different picture.  Because of the Federal Communications Commission’s tighter rulings, the city would not be offered free service to some of its buildings, but Sutherland said the decision was to go with the current 5% franchise fee for the city as opposed to the freebies.  The city will be provided a channel dedicated to public access issues, as well as $4,000 for related equipment purchases.  The franchise is a for a ten year agreement.

Some minor language changes to the City of Lamar’s fee schedule was approved, particularly for the demolition of different types of buildings and an ordinance was approved for a zone change for two lots in the Forest Park Place subdivision which runs west of North Main Street and is bordered to the north by Holly Road.

Sutherland reminded the council about future community activities include the Prowers Medical Fundraiser dance/auction at the Cow Palace Inn on April 23rd; the Lamar Chamber Merchant’s “Spring Fling” on April 29th and the spring clean-up day and drug take back day on April 30th

By Russ Baldwin

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