Property acquired by the City of Lamar in 1961 and 1973 was annexed into the city during the April 10th council meeting as part of a proposed economic development enterprise. City Engineer, Wiley Work, said the Unincorporated Municipally Owned Land States is contiguous with at least 3/6 of the current City Limits Line of the City of Lamar. The property has been referred to locally as the ‘hog slabs’ and borders Avenida Colonia by the Lamar Canal. Additional annexation has been planned for a portion of the Industrial Park, scheduled to take place later this summer.
Two of three requests for liquor license renewals were put on hold by the council, pending proof of TIPS training for employees before approval for license renewal is given to Love’s Country Store on East Olive Street and Coronica’s liquor store at 100 North Main Street. Both businesses had been cited for selling liquor beverages to an underage person, and although both parties paid fines in lieu of a five and a seven day suspension of their operation license, the council deemed it necessary that employees attend a TIPS meeting and provide certification that they had done so. Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, told the council the businesses have the option of having their employees attend classes held by one of his certified officers, or they could take an on-line class. Chief Miller said a recent class had 10 attendees, but did not identify which businesses were represented. Both businesses should be able to meet their respective deadlines prior to their license expirations in May and June of this year and still receive the approval of the council.
The annual concession stand contract for the city’s ball field complex was awarded after some discussion to Snowball Express which contracted to pay the city 10% of gross proceeds during the sports season. Sealed bids showed an 8% offer from the Lamar Baseball Booster Club, the only other bidder. With consideration of preference points for local representation, the council had been recommended by staff to award the bid to the Booster Club. After consideration of the reimbursement structure by the council and a presentation of his services by the owner, Gary Kaminsky, the council voted for Snowball Express. Councilman Keith Nidey cast his vote in opposition.
Toni McPherson, BBQ Chairperson for the Sand and Sage Round-Up Wild West BBQ committee received permission for overnight parking at Willow Creek Park May 11-13. This will be the 13th year of the contest which enjoys additional participants each year. “We have about 18 groups attending right now and we have a cap of 35,” she explained to the council, adding that there were 32 on hand last year. McPherson said there was a change for this year, “We’ve heard from a lot of people who wanted to be able to purchase meals from the contestants and after talking with some, we’re supplying each with a pork shoulder roast which will be cooked by them and sold under a special tent by DECA students. The price will be $2 for a two ounce sample.” A security contract with the Lamar Police Department was also approved, using off-duty officers for May 12-13.
The council approved a modified economic development business incentive application which was submitted for their consideration by Angie Cue, Community Development Director. The new streamlined application form is intended to serve both the City of Lamar and Prowers County, providing needed information for both parties in one document. “This way, we’ll all be looking at the same information, whether it’s the city, county of PEP,” she stated. “We felt this would also unify us as a team, working together for the benefit of Lamar and Prowers County,” Cue said. Regarding the Pocket Park construction, she said a $20,000 grant for the second phase of the project had been received from the Gates Family Foundation. The first phase of construction is expected to be completed near the end of April. Councilperson, Anne-Marie Crampton, mentioned one other facet of the application is being developed, a matrix which can help the PEP board decide how valuable the incentives are that can be provided to help foster new business development. She said the matrix would factor the number of jobs a new business can provide as well as their quality. These and other facts can be assessed against the nature of a new business venture when determining incentive packages.
Pat Mason, City Public Works Director, submitted an amendment to the city’s original contract with Jviation Inc. for the council’s approval. The company provides construction information regarding upgrades to the Lamar Municipal Airport. The amendment is required for a Design, Engineering and Construction Administration grant of $86,866 for runway rehabilitation.
The Lamar City Council set May 8, 2017 for a public hearing request for a special events permit from the Prowers County Fair Board for their annual beer garden. Beer would be sold at the Prowers County Fairgrounds during the annual concert on August 5th and again on August 10-12 from 5pm to midnight.
Arbor Day has been recognized since 1872 and the city council recognized the importance trees can play in the life of a community as they adopted an annual proclamation declaring April 27th as Arbor Day and the 23rd through the 29th as Arbor Week in Lamar. A presentation was made by the Lamar Tree Board honoring Lamar with the 2016 Tree City USA Award, the 26th year Lamar has received the national recognition. In related action, Susan Hansen was appointed to the board for a three year term, expiring March, 2019. Tree Board President, Jane Felter, told the council, “We’re getting together with Parkview Elementary School students and plan to plant 13 different trees at Willow Creek Park on that day.”
Several other board alignments were approved by the council during their April 10th meeting; Carolyn Mondradon was appoint to a five year term on the Adjustment and Appeals Board; Clifford Boxley was re-appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a five year term; Kelli Gaines was re-appointed to the Parks and Recreation Advisory Board for a five year term and Todd Cope was appointed for a three year term.
Attorney Lane Porter was sworn in as the new Municipal Court Judge for the City of Lamar by Judge Stan Brinkley. Porter will serve for a two year term.
By Russ Baldwin
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