The Lamar City Council issued a resolution honoring the Lamar High School Girls Basketball State Tournament Team for their championship performance this year in Class 3-A Basketball. Their achievement marks the 5th state girl’s title and their first in 19 years. Lamar Mayor, Roger Stagner, awarded each player with her own Key to the City in light of their performance, finishing their year with a 25-2 record, overall, and with their tournament victory over Colorado Springs Christian by 24-18. The resolution individually recognized Brenna Vallejos and Cali Clark with their selection to the All-Tournament 1st Team Squad and with the naming of Head Coach Erik Melgoza as 3A Coach of the Year for Colorado.
Following an executive session and interviews with candidates for the position of Lamar Municipal Court Judge, the Lamar City Council appointed Lane Porter to the position for a two year term. There were as many as six applications for the position. The council members cast their ballots for three candidates which resulted in a split vote with Porter receiving the majority of votes.
Ron Cook, organizer of the Lamar Days Annual Car Show, received permission from the council to use a portion of Willow Creek Park for the Lamar Days 22nd Annual Rod Ron Car Show. An overnight parking permit was also approved for early arrivals. Cook said the event continues to grow, “We had 28 sponsors for the event last year which allowed us to run the car show with no fee to all the entrants and that’s unique to all the states in our region. You can go to other car shows like this and not see a spectator other than the car owners. Having this event at the Willow Creek Park during Lamar Days brings in a lot of visitors and that makes an impression on this group of people.” Cook said about $1,000 was raised for the 4th of July fireworks display through donations offered during the ‘No Booze Cruise’ the night before the event. “We had about 116 vehicles take part in that event,” he added.
The council approved a request to nominate the Lamar Depot to the National Register of Historic Places. Angie Cue, Community Development Director, said those places on the list are deemed worthy of preservation. The original depot that was moved from the Town of Blackwell to Lamar was destroyed by fire in 1888. The replacement depot consisted of four railroad boxcars, but the town fathers decided to upgrade to a constructed depot in June of that year. That was replaced by the current depot which has been in use since 1907. The building now serves as headquarters for the Lamar Chamber of Commerce and as a Colorado Welcome Center. “We’re going to research a lot of needed documentation to present our case,” she explained, adding that a lot of that will take place with materials available from the Big Timbers Museum. Councilmember, Anne-Marie Crampton asked if it would be possible to incorporate some needed repairs to the steam engine at the site. Crampton said the train has fallen into disrepair. Cue and City Administrator Sutherland acknowledged the need, but explained that the funding for repairs is not a current likelihood, although some possibilities could be explored at a later date.
Lamar Police Chief Kyle Miller requested an in-service, no match grant from POST (Police Officer Standards Training). Chief Miller explained that mandated training is required for certified police officers in Colorado. The grant of $7,783.50 will help defray some of those costs to meet the mandates. The funds will be spent on equipment and supplies in order to remain in compliance.
On-going improvements to the Lamar Municipal Airport will be funded with the approval of an application from the council for an FAA Airport Improvement Project Grant. $300,000 is being sought for various repairs to the runway and other sections of the airport. The city will need to provide a 10% match and CDOT Aeronautics approved a 5% match of $15,000 leaving the City of Lamar with only $15,000 needed as its contribution. City Public Works Director, Pat Mason, said some of the work would include core samples from the main as well as the crosswind runway which could use a resurfacing.
Thomas Sanchez, the City’s IT Director provided an update on computer security for the council. An audit was performed in 2015 and the recommendation is for another audit this year to see what vulnerabilities remain or that have been introduced since the last audit. He explained that a number of weak spots had been taken care of and said the last audit was in the neighborhood of $7,000. The council authorized one for the 2018/2019 fiscal year.
Lamar Fire Chief, Jeremy Burkhart, explained the need for three replacement command vehicles for the city’s fire department which will transport officer and equipment to emergencies and EMT-1’s to outlying communities for life-support needs. Using a lease/purchase program extended over six years, the Department will be able to afford the replacements for $56,522. The council discussed the financing and replacement logistics for the three vehicles, two of which are not as dependable as needed for their requirements in the field. Councilman Kirk Crespin voiced his concerns about stacking up a number of lease agreements for various vehicles used by the City. “I just want to be sure that we aren’t over-extending our finances to cover these as they continue to mount up,” he stated, adding that if there were a cap or a cycling of payoffs to offset the incoming leases, he’d feel more comfortable. Mayor Stagner added that there may be some alternatives to the type of replacement vehicles being sought, adding, “We’re looking at limitations on our revenue and right now, our tax collections are light.” Administrator Sutherland stated that these were necessities, essential to providing safety for Lamar’s citizens. Burkhart said only one vehicle could be considered reliable, “One is in the boneyard and another is not dependable. We’ve had it in the shop for electrical issues that just can’t be repaired right now.” City Treasurer, McCrea told the council that there are funds that could be used, given that the city will not use a portion of the $400,000 that had been earmarked for swimming pool repairs. The council voted to approve the expenditures on a split vote with Stagner and Crampton voting no.
As a bookkeeping measure, the council approved a bank resolution for new checking signatures for officers of the City’s Explorer Post 225. An agreement was also approved for the Commerce Bank Direct Check Card which allows city employees the option of depositing part or all of their paycheck on the card and using it as a debit card if they choose. The agreement also calls for one free withdrawal per week from any bank; employees may use the card for purchases as a Visa card and use it at an ATM for cash withdrawals.
“Libraries Transform” is the theme for National Library Week in 2017. Lamar Librarian, Sarah McDonnell, explained the significance of the proclamation which began in 1958 as an annual event. Mayor Roger Stagner signed the official proclamation for the City of Lamar. April 11 will be a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends of the Library members and the 12th will be for bookmobiles and librarians who provide outreach services. McDonnell, in a response to a question from councilman Oscar Riley, replied that there are still quite a few books being checked from the library on a daily basis, including students who need source materials for their schoolwork. “We’re also seeing a lot of books being donated to us right now,” she added. The Friends of the Lamar Library Book sale will hold their semi-annual sale beginning April 1st thru the 5th.
April 24th, 2017 was selected as a public hearing date for a request for a modification of premise application from the Buzzard’s Roost. The Roost hosts two music events each year. The Country Jam will be held June 17-18 and the Road Jam will be held September 16-17.
The request from Judy Arnold to renew her five year membership with the Lamar Library Board was approved and Susan Hansen’s request for a new membership was approved to fill the unexpired term for former member, Jack Van Hook.
By Russ Baldwin
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