Rodriguez, New City Council Member

Raphael Rodriguez


Rafael Rodriguez became the newest Lamar City Councilman, following his oath of office administered by Judge Lane Porter during the December 11th council meeting. Rodriguez was appointed by the council to fill the vacancy created by departing councilman Keith Nidey, who declined to run for another term.    Rodriguez will hold the term for four years, representing Ward Three.

A public hearing for the adoption of a supplemental budget for the city for the current year ending December 31, 2017, was held. In later action, the council approved Resolution 17-12-01 to appropriate additional sums of money to defray expenses in excess amounts budgeted for the City of Lamar.   This balances funding for such areas as the General Fund, Capital Improvement Fund, Fairmount Investment Fund, E-911 Fund and Water, Sanitation and Ambulance Fund.  The council also adopted the 2018 Rates and Fees Schedule which covers the private use of public facilities, licenses and permits and for the services provided by the city’s business-type enterprises.

Lamar will have a regularly scheduled bus run connecting the city to Pueblo, Monday through Friday, beginning Tuesday, January 2, 2018.  Julie Skeen of CIG, representing Bustang Outrider bus service from CDOT, told the council the bus service will run Monday through Friday with one trip per day, connecting Pueblo to Lamar from the Welcome Center at a cost of $21 each way for a $42 fee for round-trip.  The 38 seat bus, which will be headquartered in Lamar, will depart from Lamar at 7:48am and return to Lamar by 6:48pm.  Skeen said cash will be used for initial payments, but credit cards will be accepted at a later date and pre-paid tickets can be purchased using a phone-app at the website  The busses will offer wifi and toilet facilities.  “We expect to have a connection run to Colorado Springs later this year, as well as connecting routes to Alamosa, Gunnison and Pagosa Springs,” she told the council.  The service is also seeking drivers who will be trained and certified for the bus service at a starting wage of $14 per hour.

LAST Shelter

Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller,  received permission from the council to apply for a matching grant of up to $4,000 from the Mason Foundation. The funds will be used to hire an architect to design modifications to the building formerly used by Lamar Area Sanctuary Team (LAST) at 6950 US Highway 50 in Lamar.  The building has been vacated and is being considered as the new headquarters for the Lamar Animal Shelter.  The building needs to be updated to conform to standards of the Pet Animal Care Facilities Act, (PACFA) as well as those of the city.  The current kennels provided by the city are too small and lack a quarantine room.  The building materials at the current shelter are outdated to match today’s standards.  The LAST facility holds fewer dogs, but provides various storage rooms which the Lamar shelter does not offer.

The city is moving ahead to correct a long-standing problem of noxious odors and corrosive gases emanating from the Wastewater Treatment Facility Influent Lift Station and Headworks at the western edge of West Oak Street and McCorkle Field. Other problem areas include the lift station on South Memorial Drive and at the Rodeway Cow Palace Inn.  The council approved a contract for the scope of work prepared by JVA, Incorporated. The project will include an odor control analysis to help mitigate future corrosion of the Lift Station Infrastructure.  Pat Mason, City Public Works Director, explained that the upgrade of the sewer system at this point will help protect the infrastructure from corrosive hydrogen sulfide gases that are encountered in the pipeline system at the lift station.  Mason, and Rob Batdorf from Public Works, said the gases are a sulfuric acid composition that can turn concrete into a clay-like substance.  Batdorf explained that JVA is looking to replace some of the infrastructure and perhaps the city can then use a chemical treatment approach to eliminate the fumes emanating from the sewer system.

Angie Cue, Community Development Director, presented a Memorandum of Understanding with the state Department of Local Affairs, City of Lamar and Lamar Partnership Incorporated Board of Directors, to administer the Colorado Main Street Program. The initial MOU was presented in 2010 when Lamar became a Colorado Main Street Community.

The council authorized the purchase of six Self Contained Breathing Apparatus units, SCBA’s, for Lamar Fire and Emergency Services. Chief Jeremy Burkhart explained the unspent match money will be used which had been budgeted for an unsuccessful grant which was denied earlier in the year.  Burkhart explained the purchase of the six units will be the first steps to replace the department’s aging equipment.  The price is $8,855 each or $53,130 for half a dozen.  Some additional funding would be needed to complete the purchase, Burkhart said.

With the approval of the $1,300,000 Inspire Grant from GoCO, the city will now be able to move ahead with several outdoor projects that had been put on hold pending the completion of the final details of the grant requirements. Rick Akers, Lamar Parks and Rec Department Director, said the city has partnered with the Lamar School District and Colorado Parks and Wildlife to help bring those goals to completion.  Three areas that have been targeted for development are Wheels Park, upgrades to playground and exercise equipment at Willow Creek Park as well as storage facilities for outdoor equipment on loan and upgrades to the North Gateway Park.  “We hope to hold the costs to the skateboard park to $400,000 and when that’s approved with the contractor, we expect to see work on the park begin in March with a completion date in May,” Akers explained.

Following that action, the council also approved a proposal from Outdoors Empowered Network under the recommendation by GoCO. This group will develop Gear Libraries, a lending service for outdoor equipment which will be located at local schools and the community building and offer Outdoor Leadership Training and related services.  The total cost of the consultation fees is $14,500.

A phone poll of the council was ratified which approved the agreement for law enforcement and security services for the December 2nd ballgame between Lamar and La Junta at Lamar Community College.

In an annual housekeeping action, the council awarded various bids to local businesses for the annual purchase of asphalt, concrete and road base materials and the prices for those commodities will be fixed for the next 12 months. Low bids were approved for All Rite Paving, Prowers Aggregate LLC, Robins Ready Mix and ZMC Concrete LLC.

City Administrator, John Sutherland, provided the council with a list of calendar items including a free movie, “Polar Express” which will be presented at the Lamar Theater at 1:30pm on Saturday, December 16th, the movie, “The Santa Claus” will be shown at the Cultural Events Center on Tuesday, December 19th at 2pm, City Offices will be closed December 25-26 and again on Monday, January 1, 2018 for the holidays. The council rescheduled their next regular meeting to Wednesday, December 27th at 7pm.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEducationFeaturedPoliticsPublic SafetyTourismTransportationUtilities


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