2017 Year in Review FEBRUARY


County Facing Costly Water Safety Upgrade

The Prowers County Commissioners took steps to comply with the Colorado Department of Public health and Environment to install water backflow devices in county owned buildings.   The statewide order impacts most commercial or industrial operations where there is a chance of contamination to public water sources.  The device, which is installed at the point where water enters a building, prevents water from reversing its flow through the piping system, carrying contaminated materials back into the drinking water.  The one main exception from the CDPHE is residences where there is only one source of water into a home or rental unit.  Single family homeowners are excluded from the mandate.

Every town or city in the state fell under the mandate which went into effect at the beginning of 2016. Holly and Granada Trustees, as well as the Lamar City Council were dealing with the issue which begins with a community assessment of where it is required and an information letter which will be mailed to all addresses.


Granada Trustees Approve New Permit Fees, Receive Landfill Update

The Granada Trustees voted unanimously to increase the price of building permit fees from $15 to $25 effective immediately in February. The Trustees also wanted to make sure that the paper permit would be displayed at the place of construction once it had been issued.  The Trustees also voted to purchase computer backup software for the town’s five computers.  The price, $1,100 is being taken from the Capital Improvement Fund which has sufficient funding for the purchase.  Another $400 was approved for a new coin-operated, community water dispensing unit located at the town park.  This is used primarily for agricultural needs rather than the type that fills one or five gallon containers for home or office use.

Several Trustees attended an afternoon session on February 28th, regarding the status of area landfills. Mayor Glenn Otto referenced a letter from an environmental consulting firm, AEC, LLC regarding recent developments.  He said Granada will be impacted by a state order mandating some landfills be closed and said that there are grants available that can help a town finance the associated costs.  Granada has been moving towards compliance in some areas, but some deficiencies can be expensive.  One cost will be the construction of a groundwater well at the landfill site at approximately $4,000.  Otto told the Trustees that one waiver they obtained for small sized landfills has expired.


Lamar Animal Shelter Provides More Fresh Air/Sunshine

An outdoor expansion project at the Lamar Animal Shelter allows more dogs to get more fresh air, sunshine and exercise on a daily basis. Stephanie Strube, the new director at the shelter, provided a tour of the new outdoor exercise runs.

“We’ve added these runs working on some limited funding and by using available materials from the city,” she explained. Each of the five runs is made of durable chain link fencing and is spacious enough to allow a dog to do some running around while inside.  “Larger dogs go to an individual run, but if we get some smaller and younger pups, they will share one so they can play together.  And if we get two or more dogs from the same home, they can share on of the runs because they’re used to each other.

Strube is working for additional grants to augment the construction work which has already taken place. She welcomes volunteers to the shelter.  “You have to be at least 16 years and you’ll fill out the forms from the city and go for an interview.  After that you can work out the days or hours you’ll be able to contribute to the shelter.”  The City of Lamar website has the details as well as additional information about how to go about adopting a dog or dropping one off.  “We’ve had that happen and it’s better for a person to call us about taking their dog off their hands instead of just abandoning it if they can’t provide for its care.”  Call the shelter at 336-8769 or visit the city’s website under Police, under the Departments listing.

Work at the Railroad Crossing

Main Street Renovation Underway

Main Street road construction has commenced in Lamar. The long-anticipated and discussed renovation project got underway on two fronts in February; the railroad crossing dividing North and South Main Street and what is termed Phase I between Park and Oak Streets.

A drainage line is being constructed underneath the railroad tracks and ran through February. Phase 1, also in progress, will continue until mid-May of this year and has four projects broken into four timelines.  Streetlights and a waterline will take an estimated 10 weeks, paving and curb and gutter work on the east and west sides of this stretch of roadway will take four weeks each and paving will take approximately two weeks.


SCALE Hosted at Lamar Community College

SCALE, Southeast Crops and Livestock Expo, hosted about 200 visitors at the LCC Wellness Center this past Friday, February 3rd. The event was sponsored by Colorado State University Extension, LCC and KVAY Radio.  The day long expo/trade show was comprised of three areas of interest in the agricultural world, starting with financial information delivered by CSU and FSA representatives, climate impact on agriculture, presented by Nolan Doesken, State Climatologist Atmospheric Science and the third and final topic, drones or unmanned aircraft systems, presented by Daniel Melia from western Kansas.


Daniel Melia and Drones


PEP Hires Executive Director

Eric Depperschmidt was hired by the Prowers Economic Prosperity (PEP) board to serve as its new Executive Director. The unanimous vote was taken during a special PEP directors meeting on Friday, February 17th.  The hiring of an experienced director is pivotal to the future implementation of the Prowers County Economic Prosperity Plan.

PEP Executive Director Eric Depperschmidt

A western Kansas native, Eric Depperschmidt has worked as a loan officer in commercial and agricultural banking in western Kansas for the past five years. Prior to working in banking, Eric was president/CEO of Finney County Economic Development Corporation in Garden City, KS for five years and director of the Ness County Economic Development in Ness City, KS for two years.  Depperschmidt developed the Economic Development programs for Finney and Ness Counties to assist small rural communities with economic growth.  He also served as chairman and president for the western Kansas Rural Economic Development Alliance (wKREDA) and was a member of the Great Plains Development Incorporation Tax Credit Committee.  Prior to economic development, Depperschmidt served as Kansas 1st District Legislative Assistant for Congressman Jerry Moran, where he acted as liaison for the Congressman in western Kansas.  His areas of responsibility were agriculture, rural development, military and veterans affairs issues.


Council Takes Steps for Infrastructure Upgrades

Following the council’s Monday night work session on February 6th, members decided to award a bid for a pool liner resurfacing project to RenoSys Corporation. The cost of installation of a PVC membrane lining for the entire pool is $101,816 which is considerably less than the $350,000 estimate from the firm currently doing business with the city.  The firm is from Leoti, KS and the council’s action is based in part on the number of testimonials received on behalf of the business following several reference checks.  Parks and Recreation Director, Rick Akers, told the council, “They offer a ten year warranty on their work compared to the 15 years offered by the other business, but at this new, lower cost, the pool could be repaired several times within those ten year periods and the city would still save on funds.”

The council approved a contract for future roof repairs to the Lamar Community Building. The city has been aware of various leaks with the severity of the problem greater at one time or another.  The roof over the gym is showing signs of wear and needs to be replaced.  However, the city has contacted JVA engineers to perform an assessment of the problem.  Although drips may occur in one area, the source of the leak may be from another location on the roof.  The analysis that will be performed will offer some assurance that the cost is in line with the repairs.  JVA recommended RoofTech Consultants from Golden, Colorado which submitted a bid of $4,480 for the study.  City Administrator, John Sutherland, said a rough estimate of repairs could cost as much as $150,000, “At that price we want to be sure we’re addressing the problem directly.”  Sutherland said leaks have been found in the front reception area and along the back hallway of the complex.

Lamar Pool

Since around 2004, sewer gases have been evident in the area of the intersection of South 14th Street and Prosperity Lane. Several years ago the city had a scrubber system constructed at the southwest edge of McCorkle Field to help alleviate the problem, but to no avail.  In an effort to further reduce the noxious odors, the city has enlisted JVA, Incorporated for engineering services to resolve the sewer gas and odor problems within the City’s sanitary sewer system.  Pat Mason, Lamar Public Works Director, outlined the goals following a review and evaluation of the Prosperity Water and Sanitation District force main and provides alternatives to the problem that develops from the force water main when it discharges into the city’s system.  Mason told the council, “Part of the problem is that this system doesn’t provide enough force from the airport to clear completely.  We’ve tried chlorine gas to help the problem, but it didn’t make a difference and we’ve added 200,000 gallons of water over a month to clear the mains, but unfortunately it didn’t offer any solution either for lowering the gas levels.”  He added, “We might need to install a mini-treatment system along the Prosperity Lane route to help it get to our city system.”  Mason said the hydrogen sulfide gases are so toxic that a test monitor only lasted three days when exposed to the gas before it began to corrode.  “Concrete will begin to crumble like a cookie after prolonged exposure and I’m afraid this could impact our infrastructure if it goes unattended for a long time.” The estimated cost for the services is $16,000.  Mason offered that the Prosperity Lane Association members could be contacted to see if any grant funding would be available with the overall costs.  The council approved the funding request for the study and recommendations.

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