Budget Hearings Lead the Lamar City Council Agenda

Municipal Offices in Lamar

Municipal Offices in Lamar

Three public hearings were held to review and finalize municipal budgets for the approaching year. The Lamar Redevelopment Authority Board, Lamar Utilities Board and Lamar City Council held the public hearings required to submit the budgets for public comment, and the Lamar Utilities Board  conducted their budget review on October 11th.

Angie Cue, Lamar Community Development Director, outlined how Lamar would benefit from future funding for historical preservation efforts once the city was designated a Certified Local Government. The council approved the application required by the State Historical Preservation Office and National Park Service.  “Lamar hosted an information workshop for area residents several weeks ago,” she told the council.  Cue said the designation would open the doors for future funding for preservation efforts for historical buildings in Lamar.  She added, “Membership in the organization will not mean we are taking control over how a building will appear in the community.  This is completely optional and we won’t be dictating how an owner has to maintain their property.”

Jviation, an aviation engineering consultation firm, has worked for the City of Lamar for the past five years and their contract, as stipulated by the Federal Aviation Administration and Airport Entitlement Program, was renewed by the council for another five year term. Public Works Director, Pat Mason, explained that Requests for Proposals were sent by the city to five firms and three replied, one of which was Jviation.  Based on their grading score and past performance, the city council recommended the renewal.

A required agreement between the Lamar Police Department and the Prowers County Department of Human Services was approved. According to Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, the contract outlines and coordinates the duties of each agency in connection with any investigations of all child abuse or neglect cases the Human Service department encounters.  The contract is for four years.  By the same token, a similar agreement with Prowers County DHS was approved for Adult Protection Services.  This will cover the responsibilities of the involved agencies in reporting, responding and investigating reports of the mistreatment, exploitation and self-neglect of at-risk adults.

The council approved two resolutions during the October 10th meeting.  One concerns an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA), with CDOT for funding to improve and replace the water distribution and storm water collection system located under Highway 287 in Lamar.  City Administrator, John Sutherland, explained that the IGA defines how the work will be done, who manages the decision-making, who manages quality control and how the project bills will be paid.  He added, “I’m very comfortable with this agreement which consolidates both phases of the project under single management.” The council reviewed the document prepared by CDOT which was approved unanimously.  At this time, work on the Main Street Renovation project for downtown Lamar is expected to begin in the spring of 2017.

The second resolution requested approval for the city to apply for the Inspire Grant from Great Outdoors Colorado as outlined by Rick Akers, Lamar’s Parks and Recreation Director. The grant, initiated by the State of Colorado last year, provides funds to construct outdoor facilities for the youth in a grant-approved community using funds awarded by GoCO.  Lamar is expected to receive between $1M to $5M and requires a 10% cash match.  Heathy Places has pledged $237,000 coupled with a $10,000 donation from the Huddleston-Butler Group and the city’s Conservation Trust Fund pledged $240,000 for the match.  The proposed Inspire Budget totals $2,726,493 and consists of $688K for Willow Creek Park; $235K for North Gateway Park; $196,300 for the Lamar Loop; $193K for school yards in the city and for assorted costs such as Prowers United programs for $771,193, staffing salaries for Prowers United at $463K and CNDC for $180K.  The funds will be spread over three years for the life of the contract.  Akers said the funding will include the skateboard park at Willow Creek as well as some youth oriented playground equipment; restrooms for the other two ponds at North Gateway Park, plus trees and a picnic shelter area and ADA walkways at the ponds and information signage relating to the amenities.  Funds are also earmarked for various school yards to include nature-play areas for kids.

The council passed on first reading, the ordinance to levy and collect taxes in the City of Lamar for 2017. The mill levy was set at 13.239 mills for each dollar of the total valuation for assessment of all taxable property within the city for 2016.  This marks the 29th year without a change.  From the levy, the city will collect $443,188 in 2017, a decrease of 2% from $452,587 in 2016.

By Russ Baldwin

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