Lamar City Administrator, John Sutherland, recapped the recent GoCO Inspire grant award of $1.3 M to the City at a presentation ceremony last week in the Front Range. “Rick and I and Angie accompanied the mayor to GoCO’s presentation where the board presented Mayor Stagner with a $1.3 million giant check,” he explained, while holding the monetary proxy before the audience. The funds will be used to finance construction of the skateboard park at Willow Creek Park as well as fund several improvement projects at North Gateway Park. The grant was created to help foster and improve outdoor activities for area youth.
The council approved a grant application for funding a portion of the Pocket Park project for downtown Lamar. The complete construction bid was priced at $252,800 which leaves the city with a $126,000 gap to complete the park. The grant application to El Pomar is for $20,000 which will be applied to the pavers phase estimated at $75,000. Angie Cue, Community Development Director, explained that there is no need for matching grants for this funding and the contractor, MonCor LLC is looking to lower the estimated cost by searching locally for the needed materials.
Almost every community in the nation has a stray pet problem and the pending closing of the dog pound in Eads has prompted a request to the Lamar Animal Shelter, to accept and care for that town’s stray dogs. Eads no longer has the finances to manage their stray dog population as their facility is closing. The number of extra stray dogs is expected to be minimal with no great impact on the quality of care, under PACFA standards by which it operates for the Lamar Shelter. The shelter can accommodate as many as 14 dogs at a time and rarely has that many housed there at one time as one of its prime efforts is to place the dogs in a home as quickly as possible. Eads will transport the dogs to Lamar and pay a $20 fee to the city for each dog they place in the shelter. The reclaim fee will also go to Lamar. The one year agreement was approved by the council.
Sutherland introduced Ginger Coberly, the incoming president of the Lamar Chamber of Commerce for 2017 regarding a chamber request to have a representative of the city as a chamber member. Coberly explained the board’s reasoning, “One of our goals for next year is to work more closely with groups that have common goals to support our community, our businesses and to help them grow. We’d like to have a city representative on our board. We think it open lines of communication; it would be wonderful to have that added liaison and would help us work more closely together and maybe develop some new projects from new ideas. This would be an important addition to make next year a successful one.” Mayor Stagner thanked Coberly for her interest and said the council has contacted Angie Cue who will serve as a chamber board member is all parties are willing. Cue, had already indicated her interest in the position during an earlier council work session.
The holidays are approaching and with them, a need for increased security at large-scale retail shopping outlets. Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, explained that the department was contacted by the Lamar Walmart for a police presence from 7:30pm Christmas Eve through 8:30pm on Christmas Day, during which time the store will be closed. The council agreed to the request and the retailer will have one officer for a five hour shift for 25 hours of security. The store will compensate each officer at a rate of $60 per hour up to $1,500.
The council held a public hearing for the adoption of a supplemental budget for the City of Lamar for the current year ending December 31, 2016. The General Fund was amended to increase expenditures from $8,528,109 to $9,378,109. The Victim’s Assistance Fund was amended to increase expenditures from $16,400 to $22,970; the Fairmount Investment Fund had an increase of expenditures from $8,800 to $9.960 and the Sanitation Fund had a similar increase from $1,409,693 to $1,434,693. A resolution followed the public hearing which was passed by the council to set the annual water deposit interest rates at 0.34% which means no change from 2016. Another resolution was approved which appropriated money to defray expenses in excess of the amounts budgeted to the City of Lamar. This follows the figures set by the supplemental budget. The council approved the resolution which allowed the merger of the Lamar Fire Department Pension Trust Retirement Fund with the City of Lamar’s employees’ pension plan for 2017.
The council acted on an annual end of year housekeeping chore and awarded bids for the purchase of asphalt, concrete and road base materials among several local retailers. They are All Rite Paving, Prowers Aggregate, Robins Ready Mix and Riverside Aggregate. Materials are purchased, sometimes on an as needed basis, through the 2017 year.
An ordinance was passed on first reading to amend the Lamar Municipal Code to meet the requirements designated by History Colorado and the State Historic Preservation Office. Angie Cue explained this act will help efforts for the city to become a Certified Local Government. This will help facilitate the designation of local landmarks to become eligible for historic preservation income tax credit and grants from the History Colorado State Historical Fund, receive technical advisory services from the SHPO and maintain a formal role in the National Register of Historic Places process.
Administrator Sutherland closed the meeting with reminders for end of the year activities of note for the council and city including the approaching Holiday Basketball Tournament at the Lamar Community Building this Thursday through Saturday; city offices will be closed from December 23rd to the 26th, and again on Monday, January 2nd. Because of the holiday schedule, the next city council meeting will be held Tuesday, December 27th.
By Russ Baldwin
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