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Redevelopment Authority Okays Payment, Council Approves Brownsfield Study Grant

 

 

The Lamar City Council, acting as the Lamar Redevelopment Authority, approved 50% of the Prowers County portion of real property taxes assessed on the Lamar Holiday Inn Express during their meeting, Monday, October 22nd.  Historically, the City of Lamar adopted Resolution LRA 11-09-01 on September 12, 2011 which stated that the URA, Urban Redevelopment Authority, should assume the requirements of the economic development agreement for 10 years beginning in 2011.  The agreement was between Prowers County and the motel which was initiated in 2008 and stated the URA was not obligated to make subsequent annual payments, but should reconsider the payments each year for the life of the agreement. The resolution stated the county would pay the motel owner 50% of the county portion of real estate taxes assessed on the Inn for that ten year span. The amount of the 2018 payment to be made to Prowers County is $10,636.63.

In other action, the Authority approved the quote for shade structure for the Shore Arts Center Pocket Park, downtown. The quote from Mile High Play Systems for $24,945 for three cantilever Umbrella shade structures was revised at the request of the Authority to include a fabric warranty for sustained winds of 76mph/90mph three second gusts.  The action allows the third Phase of the project to be completed.  The new shade coverage will offer year round protection from the sun and elements.

Several members of the council reversed direction during Monday’s meeting and approved Resolution No. 18-10-03 to receive federal EPA grant funding for a community-wide Brownsfield Assessment which they voted against 4-3 during the October 8th meeting.  Council members had some questions regarding the rights of property owners at that time. The city applied for the grant in September 2017 and was informed of the award of $300,000 in September of this year.  Angie Cue, Community Development Director, explained during the October 8th meeting, the funding will be used to pay for a consultant who would make a study of ‘environmental impairments’ which focuses on the commercial core of downtown Main Street through the city including the railroad industry corridor.  Once problem areas are identified, the city would have the option to apply for funding to correct or remediate those areas.  Cue said, during the discussion prior to the vote, if any business owners did not want to participate or have their operations including in the study, they could opt out.  She added, “The City will have to have written permission from a property owner to conduct a study of their land, otherwise, they’ll ignore it in the study.  The program is completely voluntary for property owners.”  Cue explained that instead of leaving buildings vacant in these areas, the study could help develop a new approach to finding an economic for business development use for some of them.  The new vote was unanimous.

With the approach of a new budget for 2019, the council and city auditors recommended the known uncollectable accounts be written-off to the uncollectible reserve account while attempts are still made to bring them up to date. City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea, told the council the write-offs for the Water/Sewer Fund for 2017 are $15,100.65 and $9,640.80 from the Sanitation Fund. Total write-offs were $88,926.67 which included $64,185.22 from Lamar Light and Power.

Lamar Police Chief Kyle Miller told the council the full amount of funding from the Victim’s Assistance and Law Enforcement (VALE) grant was approved. The funds, $14,155.84, will be used to provide “Victim’s Right Act” notification.  The grant assists the police department with cost of supplies to service and help give notification along with educating victims on what their rights are as a victim and various resources in the community.  The council directed Chief Miller to make an application for 2019.

In response to a request from the Colorado Municipal Board League, the council passed Resolution No. 18-10-04 in support of Proposition 110 which appears on the November General Election ballot. CDOT recently identified a $1Billion shortfall per year for needed road improvement funding in the state.  The gas tax, which has not been raised since 1991 also falls short of meeting funding requirements, now, with more fuel efficient vehicles.  The Proposition calls for a state-wide sales tax increase of 0.63% which will help guarantee funding for road improvement on a county and city level including rural areas of Colorado.  The Resolution explained that while the state’s population has grown nearly 60% since 1991, state transportation spending per driver has been cut by half.  CDOT has listed state projects in need of development at approximately $9 Billion.  If approved, the fund will be estimated at $767 Million in the first year and allow for bonding of up to $6 Billion in state projects and 40% of the new revenue will go to county and municipal governments for local transportation needs.

Resolution No. 18-10-05, approved by the council, allows the City Attorney to file lawsuits in regard to junk/abandoned vehicles on private property in Lamar.   These vehicles violate Lamar Municipal Codes and the resolution will help develop a clearer path to having them removed.  It gives the attorney legal authority, without having to seek approval for each property, to file lawsuits on behalf of the city for the removal of the vehicles.  The lawsuits would be filed after appropriate notice has been given to both the property owner and the vehicle owner.  Chief Miller said a notice would be placed on each vehicle and would also be sent to the address by certified mail.

The council voted to move a December meeting date to Monday, December 26th as opposed to the December 17th alternative. The regular meeting date for the second regularly scheduled meeting would be the night of the 24th and a vote was needed to make the change official.

City Administrator Sutherland highlighted several future events for the council which includes the change for Daylight Savings Time on Sunday, November 4th; Election Day on Tuesday, November 6th; the monthly city council breakfast at Rivals on Wednesday, November 7th from 7-8am and the annual Lamar Chamber Farm/City Banquet on Friday, November 9th at 7pm at the Lamar Community Building.  The next city council meeting will be a work session on November 5th followed by the regular meeting on November 12th.

 

 

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyEnvironmentFeaturedHousingPolice ReportPublic SafetyThe ArtsUtilities

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