Council Work Session Reviews Ambulance Service Costs , Incarceration Procedures for County Jail

Municipal Offices in Lamar


The financial obligations between the city and the county for ambulance services and incarceration in the Prowers County Jail were discussed by the Lamar City Council during their work session this past Monday, November 26th.  City Administrator, John Sutherland, outlined the areas in which future discussions with the county will be developing as background information for the council.

Sutherland recapped a discussion with Prowers County representatives on City EMS services which bill the county for jail inmates who are transported for medical care. That bill, he said, goes to the county which bears the responsibility for payment.  Sutherland said the county believes the individual patient/inmate should bear the cost of that bill.  Sutherland referred the council to state statute, C.R.S.  17-26-104.5 which, he says specifies that the city is correct in its action and the county is obligated for payment. Reimbursement from sources such as Medicaid and Medicare are available.

Lamar Fire Chief Jeremy Burkhart said since the beginning of the year there were 14 ambulance runs from the jail. Of those, four were paid by Medicaid, one by Medicare, two paid by the sheriff’s department, four were not paid, one was a standby situation and one was a non-transport situation, but charges for any supplies used at that time can be billed.

Sutherland said the city is waiting for a response from the county on its intergovernmental agreement proposal to adjust its budget on shared ambulance costs for 2019.

The other portion of the work session was devoted to the leeway the City Police Department has when making arrests and if and when those come with jail time. The Prowers County Jail was built to hold 57 inmates and is usually at capacity to the point that it no longer accepts inmates from Cheyenne or Kiowa Counties.  The cost of incarceration is a concern and impacts the Prowers County Sheriff’s annual budget.

Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, explained to the council that while felonies such as domestic violence come with an automatic arrest and incarceration, most municipal violations or misdemeanors do not. “We usually hand out a written ticket or a summons to court and send the person on their way,” he explained.  Miller said the city can get billed $50 per day if a person is arrested from municipal court and sent to jail for a case in county or district court.  He explained to the council that if a judge orders an arrest warrant, that mandates jail time.  “A person can bond out of jail or the sentence can range from a couple of days to several months or years and that adds to the jail population base,” the chief explained.  Those costs, plus ambulance finances will be discussed between the city and county at a future date.

The Lamar City Council, acting as the Lamar Redevelopment Authority, approved Resolution No. LRA 18-11-01 for the appropriation of revenues and expenditures and adopting the budget for the LRA for the fiscal year, 2019. In order to comply with state budget laws, Kristin McCrea, City Treasurer, presented the resolution to appropriate sums of money expected from collection of property taxes by the Prowers County Treasurer.  Revenues are forecast at $151,869 while Expenditures are announced at $173,650.

The Lamar City Council followed the LRA meeting with a brief agenda including passage of the city’s 2019 budget on second reading.

Administrator John Sutherland, noted the annual Lamar Chamber Parade of Lights will begin at 6pm from the vicinity of the Lamar Municipal Pool on Friday, November 30th.  Big Timbers Museum will host its annual Art & Artifacts Winter Craft Activity on Saturday, from 1pm to 4pm, the monthly City Council informal breakfast will be held at Taco Johns on Wednesday, December 5th from 7am to 8am, Christmas at Big Timbers will be hosted on Sunday, December 16th at 7pm at the museum, City Offices will be closed December 25-26 and the Council meeting has been moved to Wednesday, December 26th.

December 10th was chosen as the date for a public hearing for a Liquor Permit Application Modification of Premises for the local Safeway store on East Olive Street.

Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, informed the council, the Colorado Animal Assistance Foundation has approved $15,000 of the $23,500 requested to be used at the Lamar Animal Shelter.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCountyEconomyFeaturedPublic SafetyTransportation


About the Author: