Lamar City Council Approves Ordinance for 2018 Budget

Municipal Offices in Lamar


The Lamar City Council, approved on first reading, the ordinance providing for the appropriations of expenditures and revenues for fiscal year, 2018. That action followed a hearing for public comment on the proposed budget. Thirteen areas of finance are considered in the annual budget, ranging from the General Fund which is set at $8,345,031 to the Sales Tax Fund which is $3,760,813. Other sizable segments of the budget include the Capital Improvement Fund at $3,470,260 and the Water/Sewer Fund which is at $4,545,977. A new item which was included in the budget is $260,850 for the pending Lodging Tax Fund. City Treasurer, Kristen McCrea, explained that this line is needed as the expected revenue from the November ballot question before city voters that if approved by their ballots, would have to be placed into the budget. The city is also set to receive $1,647,903 from the Charter Appropriations from the Lamar Utility Board, an annual payment based on electricity revenues. The council also passed on first reading, the ordinance setting the 2018 mill levy on taxable property within the city. It remains at 13.239 mills, unchanged for the 30th consecutive year. Based on that figure, the city will receive $429,020 in 2018, a decrease of approximately 3% from 2017.

The council approved the recommendation for the re-appointment of Lauren Grasmick and Gerry Jenkins to serve a new, three-year term on the city’s Victims and Witness Assistance Law Enforcement Board (VALE).

A grant was approved for $6,000 for the Growing Readers Together program for the Lamar Public Library. Susan Lathrop, Lamar Librarian, said the money will be used for materials in the children’s section as well as training and support for library staff and non-licensed day care facilities. The purpose is to encourage use of the library by very young children and their families. This is the second year the grant has been approved.

A contract revision was approved by the council between the City of Lamar and Jviation Inc which will benefit the city by $20,650. The savings are the result of an alteration of the total cost of construction on the runway rehabilitation project, first estimated at $86,866. The lower corrected price, $66,216, will result in the savings for the city.

A letter of support from the City of Lamar was approved by the council for development of an Enhanced Enterprise Zone. Lamar City Administrator, John Sutherland, said he has been working with Stephanie Gonzales, Executive Director of SECED, to allow the city to offer tax credits as an additional incentive to individuals willing to invest in the redevelopment of the core downtown retail area. Southeast Colorado was designated as an Enterprize Zone in 1986 as a way to foster business development. The council’s letter of support will accompany the application for the new zoning designation. As an example of the benefits, Sutherland stated, “Suppose someone purchased the Main Café on Main Street for $200,000. That could also translate to tax credits for the new owner.”

For the past several years, the City of Lamar has joined with other municipalities in Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico to help pay for the expenses developing grant funding which will keep AMTRAK’s Southwest Chief railroad transportation line in operation through their communities. Lamar has contributed $15,000 to two such sponsorships, for TIGER VI and VII grant funding. The council adopted a resolution pledging $15,000 for the grant matching funds for the TIGER IX grant application which will be sponsored this year by Colfax County, New Mexico. Past sponsorships were La Junta, CO and Garden City, KS. The grants are to be used for needed repairs and upgrades to the rail line as determined by the BNSF Railway, approximately over 50 miles of track. This will help maintain the level of passenger train service through the effected towns in three states, including La Junta and Lamar.

Administrator Sutherland noted several approaching events in the Lamar community including the Halloween-themed Monster Mash 5K Run/Walk at the Lamar Community Building, Saturday, October 14th at 8am, the presentation of the Towner School Bus Tragedy by the Prowers County Historical Society at Big Timbers Museum at 7pm, Thursday, October 19th, the Boots, Bling & Blessings LCC Foundation Celebration at the Equine Complex, Saturday, October 21st from 6pm to 9pm; a violin and piano duo, “Roy and Rosemary” by Southeastern Colorado Concert Association at the Lamar HS Auditorium on Tuesday, October 24 at 7pm; Moonlight Madness in the downtown Lamar area on Thursday, October 26th beginning at 6pm; Halloween Movie Night “Hocus Pocus” at the Lamar Library at 5pm on Friday, October 27th and Trunk or Treat at the Library parking lot on Tuesday, October 31st from 5pm to 7pm. Long range activities include the Chamber’s annual Farm-City Banquet on Friday, November 10th at 6:30pm at the Lamar Community Building featuring a meal and a magic act.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyFeaturedPublic SafetyRecreationTourismTransportationUtilities


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