Lamar Council Approves Verizon Tower Application, Discusses National Night Out Dates

Pocket Park


The City of Lamar received a $4,000 donation from the Burlington, Northern Santa Fe Railroad which will help defray the cost of the shade structures for the Shore Arts Center Pocket Park. This past October, City Administrator, John Sutherland, sent a letter to the regional public affairs director for BNSF requesting the funding which was approved and announced during the Lamar Redevelopment Authority Board’s meeting, Monday, November 12th.  The three shade structures, costing just under $25,000, will be installed in the pocket park as one of the final touches of the project.

The City Council passed on second reading, the annual ordinance setting the mill levy for 2019 at 13.239 mills per dollar of the total valuation for assessment of all taxable property within the City of Lamar. The city is expected to collect $430,545 for 2019, an increase of $1,525 over the current year’s proceeds of $429,020.  The mill levy has been static since 1988.

Barbara Hernandez, representing Heritage Defenders, addressed the council on the group’s concerns about the continued use of EBSCO as an information source and a conduit for pornographic material which can be accessed by middle school students. She expressed her concerns that several library-source, contract renewals before the council would allow continued access to the information website.  Hernandez said Heritage Defenders is still waiting for financial documentation and subscription information regarding EBSCO and other data bases from the State of Colorado, the Council and the Mayor.  Councilperson, Anne Marie Crampton, suggested Hernandez contact the Library Board as new restrictions have been built into the website which restricts the access route she had described to reach adult materials.

Red Ribbon Winners with SRO Clevenger on Left and Chief Miller, far right

Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, noted the efforts of SRO Tanisha Clevenger with her ideas for the Parkview Elementary School Red Ribbon Week Coloring Contest. Several students were acknowledged for their winning drawings before the council.  Clevenger explained the idea is to highlight the need for drug awareness in the community on an elementary school level.

The winners for the coloring contest are as follows:

3rd Grade: Lauren Losa, Bryan Martinez, Yuridia Garcia
4th Grade: William Durst, Kristal Perez, Addison Esquivel
5th Grade: Itzal Cossio Gonzalez, Roeselene Perez, Anna Castillo

Chief Miller and the council discussed the growing impact the National Night Out event has in the community, held the first Tuesday in August. An unfortunate scheduling conflict has had the event held the same time as “Family Night” is held at the Sand and Sage Fair.  Discussion focused on either combining the events or finding an alternative date for the Night Out.   Chief Miller explained that in order to use the nationally sanctioned label, the event must coincide with the rest of the country, or a different name could be used if the event were held on a different date.  He said combining the two events could mean the loss of some of the community interaction his department and others, have developed over the years.  “I estimate we have from 700 to 800 people come out for the event each year,” he said.  The evening activities at Willow Creek Park include a free sloppy joe dinner, free swimming, a free family movie on the outdoor screen and s’more’s cooked around the kiva in the park.  There will be additional discussion for the best possible outcome.

City Administrator, John Sutherland, noted future events for the month including the City Offices to be closed for November 22-23, Thanksgiving holiday, the annual Two Shot Goose Hunt for November 28-30 and the Lamar Chamber annual Parade of Lights, November 30th at 6pm.

The council approved a proclamation recognizing the “Zonta Says No Campaign and 16 Days of Activism” to end Gender Violence from November 25-December 10th.  The local Zonta Club of Prowers County is participating in the campaign.  A fund-raising source for the Club is the annual Holiday Home Tour held Sunday, December 9th from 1 to 4pm featuring local homes which have been decorated for the season.  Three red silhouettes, representing victims of gender violence will be on display at the community building, the county courthouse and the library during the campaign.

The city reviewed the two bids received for putting a new metal roof on the Fairmount Maintenance Building and selected Royalty Construction Company from Lamar as the low bidder. Thirteen information packages were mailed to licensed and insured contractors for the project and only two were returned.  The cost of the project is $8,078.

The council was unanimous ratifying a phone poll to issue a letter of support for Southern Colorado Recyclers, LLC in their efforts to expand electronic recycling in southeastern Colorado.

The Lamar Police Department was given the go-ahead by the council to opt in for a portion of a grant to assist with the investigation and prosecution of illegal growing and distribution of marijuana in Colorado. A division of the Department of Local Affairs is offering the grant of $6 million to be divided among those entities which opt in.  Chief Miller said the program places priorities on four areas and one of those is rural areas helping Lamar to receive priority funding.  Because the applications are still open until November 30th, there is no way at this time to determine how much will be proportioned to Lamar.  The other areas receiving priority listings are:  Large Scale Operations, Organized Crime Operations or Operations that Divert Marijuana Outside of Colorado.

The council took action on several funding requests from the Lamar Library including $574 for use of the electronic version of the Encyclopedia Britannica, $856.51 for PebbleGo, an online database for children which receives in the neighborhood of 15,000 hits a year, $389 for Speakaboos database, geared to help children age 2-6 to learn to read, $938 for the Newsbank database which provides the library with back issues of state and local newspapers as well as national publications.

Carrigan Excavating was awarded a construction project by the council based on their bid of $32,721 for the South Distribution Waterline Extension project. The low bid was approved in June of this year, but CDOT deleted the requirement for a 20 inch steel casing for the water pipe which will extend the water distribution system for the City of Lamar 200 feet nearer to the TA Pelsue Company south of Spreading Antlers Golf Course and on the west side of Highway 287.  The original estimate was $63,210.

Verizon Wireless received approval from the council for a ten year lease agreement to construct a 45 foot cell-tower on city owned property at Jackson Avenue and 5th Street.  The site is zoned C-2 and allows for a 45 foot height limit.  The initial lease is $900 a month or $10,800 for the ten year agreement which includes a price escalator.  The agreement may be extended for two additional five year terms.  Jackson Street runs east and west and connects 5th and 6th Streets at the southern end of Lamar and the tower has been proposed for the area where the former batting cages were held north of the Tractor Supply parking lot.

Resolution No. 18-11-01 was approved, adopting the 2019 Rates and Fees Schedule for the City of Lamar. This is an annual adjustment for fees charged by the city for the private use of public facilities and for the services provided by the city’s business-type enterprises as well as licenses and permits.  The complete list of fees is available on the city’s website.

The council moved into executive session for a conference with the City Attorney for the purpose of receiving legal advice on specific questions regarding the Nunnery lawsuit.

By Russ Baldwin


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