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Council Renews Buxton Contract for Business Development

Municipal Offices in Lamar

The Lamar Redevelopment Authority approved a renewal contract with Buxton Group for continued marketing strategy and a retail development program for the City of Lamar. Angie Cue, Lamar Community Development Manager, told the Authority Buxton has identified specific retailers who seek markets with household purchasing habits similar to those in Lamar.  “We have an account executive that works with me and she and I talk at least once a week, so it’s not just me working out there by myself,” she explained to the Authority.  “We’re also starting to get PEP into the loop and Eric Depperschmidt is going to do more work with them and broaden their areas,” she added.  The group also has provided custom marketing packages for specific retailers in the community.  Year 2 of the agreement will provide additional retailer leads for the City and continued outreach on behalf of the City of Lamar.  “The focus for year two will be on a lot of business retention and we’re getting a lot of surplus and leakage reports on spending in the county.  They allow me to tell local business owners, ‘This is what local people are buying.’  This shows what our out of town dollars are being spent on”, she told the Authority.  The annual cost of the program is $50,000 and a $25,000 DoLA REDI Grant has been awarded.  Cue said the lack of a quorum prevented the PEP board from approving their anticipated $10,000 contribution, but she expects it to be passed at the next PEP meeting next week.  Cue said current business emphasis has been on a family-friendly restaurant, talks are continuing with a fast food franchise and the door is still open for someone wishing to develop a local Sears store.  The Authority approved the remaining $15,000 for the renewal.  Administrator Sutherland noted that the owner of Gateway Safety Products that developed a new business in Lamar has been very complimentary about local efforts that eased their path to opening their doors for manufacturing road safety flares.  Cue said she visited the site and the owner indicated he’d be willing to detail how his venture was aided by the community.  She added that he may open his business for tours in the next few months.

Portion of Proposed Lamar Loop

The Lamar Loop has been given one large step towards its construction with the awarding of the bid to MonCor LLC. Bids were opened on Wednesday, August 16th with MonCor the lone bidder.  The amount for the 7.3 mile multi-purpose loop walking trail was $1,321,172 with two alternative additive costs, one for $130,125 at 13th Street and the other for $179,525 by the Willow Creek Canal.  The total project for the cost under this proposal would be $1,630,823, according to Rick Akers, Lamar Parks and Recreation Director.  The City of Lamar received a grant from GoCO for $996,619 and the city has additional funding for the project for $307,118 for total funding of $1,303,737 and the city has already paid $94,705 to ALTA Planning and Design for the final design and construction documents, leaving a balance of funds at $1,209,031.   The council awarded the bid to MonCor, but a contract will first be negotiated that will allow the city to alter the project to match the available funding.  The contract calls for the completion of the project 100 days from its beginning.  Akers told the council he’ll meet with the principals in the project and come back with a developed contract for their consideration.

The council approved an alteration of an Interactive Health Client agreement for the City’s annual Employee Wellness Evaluation blood draw, extending it until the services are no longer utilized instead of signing an annual agreement. The blood draw is for employees and spouses covered by the City’s health insurance and full-time employees who are not covered by the City’s insurance.  The next evaluation will be held November 6th and 7th.

In a similar health-related matter, all city employees who wish to participate in the offered health insurance plan for fiscal year 2018, are asked to fill out a confidential health questionnaire by September 6th.  The city is looking at various insurance options which may improve coverage and even help reduce premiums.  Administrator Sutherland requested this matter be tabled for future development until after the city’s benefit committee has studied the matter, “We’re bringing in some different players on this project and it will take some thought for something of this size before we move ahead,” he told the council he has spoken with Prowers Medical Center, CEO, Craig Loveless, on how the hospital could play a role in the program.

The Lamar Fire and Emergency Services will be able to replace a Cardiac Monitor Defibrillator using a grant available from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment as well as matching funds from the city budget. The new unit, which costs $30,168, is replacing an older model which is no longer being serviced by the current company.  The city and the state are splitting the cost.

While construction work on the City of Lamar’s Main Street Water Distribution Replacement Project is expected to be completed by June 1, 2019, the DoLA grant financing a portion of the project expires October 31, 2107. The city has sent a letter to DoLA requesting an extension of the grant up to the projected completion date in 2019.  The project has had some weather related delays due to the amount of rain the area has received since the beginning of the summer.  Mayor Stagner commented, “If you want to see it rain, just open up work on Main Street.”

Mayor Stagner signed a resolution from Colorado Municipal League, highlighting Colorado Cities and Towns Week, September 11-15. The CML 2017 Fall District 6 meeting will be held in Springfield this year on Tuesday, September 19th at the Baca County Resource Center on Main Street.

The Lamar City Council recently discussed, but took no action on providing regulations when a local liquor store holds an alcohol tasting event on its premises. The matter was tabled to a later date due to a schedule conflict with a local liquor business owner.

Trevor LaCost and Axel Thurner were re-appointed to the Historic Preservation Board for three year terms. Richard Maggart was appointed to the Adjustment and Appeals board a five year term, replacing Lillian Norman who resigned when her term ended this past July.

Administrator Sutherland highlighted several future events for the council, including the First Responder Fly-In at the Lamar Municipal Airport from 9am to 3pm on Saturday, September 3rd; City offices will be closed Monday, September 4th for Labor Day; the monthly informal council breakfast will be held at Becky’s Restaurant Wednesday, September 6th from 7am to 8am; the annual Tri-State 9/11 Tribute will begin with the 10am parade along South 6th on Saturday, September 9th and the annual Lamar Chamber Oktoberfest will be held Saturday, September 23rd at the Chamber Parking Lot.

The council went into executive session at the close of the regular meeting, to discuss and develop strategy for negotiations and provide instructions regarding the city’s lawsuit against Arkansas River Power Authority, ARPA.

By Russ Baldwin

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