2018 Year in Review – December



Reductions in Lamar Light Plant Electric Bills Coming in 2019

The Lamar Utilities Board took two steps during their final meet of the year, December 11th, to reduce utility rates to electricity customers.   Board members approved Resolution 18-12-03, adopting a modification to the Charter Appropriation Adjustment Tariff and approved a 2019 Electric Cost Adjustment.  Both actions will start to bring down the cost of electricity to residential and commercial customers, based on per kilowatt hours of use.

The first action determines the size of the Charter Appropriations Payment made to the City of Lamar by the Utilities Board. The rate modifications adopted in 2009 called for stabilizing the CAA by dividing the budgeted amount for the Charter Appropriations Adjustment by kilowatt hour (kWh) sales from the preceding 12 month’s energy sales, December 1st through November 30th.

The board also took action on the Electric Cost Adjustment based on analysis of the Light Plant’s rate study that reducing the ECA from $0.0184 per kWh to $0.0017 for 2019 will meet the city’s wind turbine bonds minimum debt coverage ratio of 1.25%, so after 2019 there will be no need to adopt an ECA related to wind turbine bonds as the debt will be under the 1.25. In one year, he explained, this will generate $145,364 for a 130% coverage needed for the bond covenant.

Under this change, residential customers will see a reduction of their ECA each month from $9.20 to $0.85 based on 500 kWh usage per month, or an 11% reduction in their standard rate between the ECA and the Charter Appropriations. For the year beginning in 2019 with the January bills, an average residential customer will only pay $10.20 instead of $110.40 on an annual basis.

Commercial customers that use 20,000 kWh per month, Hourieh said, will have their ECA billing decrease from $368 a month to $34 on average. That decrease for the year will see their bills decrease by $4,416 beginning in 2019 to $408 for a 90% reduction.


Arkansas River Power Authority to Reduce Electric Rate for 2019

December 13, 2018. Lamar, Colo. – At its December meeting, the Arkansas River Power Authority (ARPA) Board of Directors adopted its 2019 budget that included a 2% reduction in its wholesale energy rate. The rate decrease comes after several years of stable rates that have not seen any rate increases since 2011.

The ability of the Board to reduce rates can be directly attributed to steps ARPA has taken over the last few years to reduce operating costs. The Board successfully refinanced its long-term debt in July of 2018 which resulted in a significant savings through the term of the bonds. In addition, ARPA settled all its outstanding litigation late in 2017 and finalized the settlements in 2018. These actions resulted in a considerable savings in legal fees and administrative costs.

Board President David Willhite characterized the rate reduction as the first step in a long-term trajectory of continued stable to lower rates for the Power Authority. “The Board’s financial planning includes retiring a portion of ARPA’s debt in 2020 which will trigger an additional rate decrease in 2021,” said Willhite. Willhite went on to say that “ARPA is in a position to negotiate long term power supply contracts that would further reduce rates over the long term. We believe ARPA is in a good place financially.”

The rate reduction, which will become effective in January, is projected to save ARPA members and their rate payers between $350,000 and $400,000 annually beginning in 2019.

The Arkansas River Power Authority is a Joint Action Agency that provides wholesale electricity to its member communities of Holly, La Junta, Lamar, Las Animas, Springfield and Trinidad, Colorado.


Trustees Revise Granada Landfill Policy

The Granada Trustees approved two measures during their December 12th meeting to increase fees for large dump trucks and to prohibit trash dumping from outside the Granada School District. The action was taken after considerable discussion meant to find ways to increase the life span of the current large pit at the landfill and to increase fees for any future large loads.

The fee for in-town and in-district large loads carrying building material such as shingles was increased to $150 per load. The Trustees also discussed adding a manually operated access gate to ensure that any fees will be paid prior to entry to the landfill and that residency in the district will be authenticated prior to any dumping. Several years ago, identification cards were issued for Granada residents, although that practice has not been closely followed as of late.  There was also discussion on issuing new cards and having new signs posted explaining the changes.  The Trustees noted that out of town parties had been witnessed using the landfill, dumping agriculturally-oriented trash which was not easily biodegradable.

WPA Buildings on East Maple Street


Local Community Corrections Facility Planning 2019 Opening

Doug Carrigan, CEO of ATC, Advantage Treatment Center in Sterling, Colorado, attended the 15th Judicial Community Corrections Board meeting this past Monday, December 3rd in Lamar. The organization discussed the make-up of the screening board and the criteria which will select the residents to be housed in the corrections facility being developed at the former WPA buildings on East Maple Street in Lamar.

The facility has been under consideration by Carrigan for the past two years, once he took ownership of the buildings on approximately 3.5 acres of land previously owned by Prowers County. Carrigan plans to hold an open house for the community sometime in early February of next year, once the initial construction phase of the corrections facility is complete.  “The open house will show the community what’s being done here and it will be a chance to answer questions from the townspeople and offer my thanks to the community members for their assistance and to Byron Hall from the Probation Office for his assistance.  I’d also like to have a Father present to offer blessings on our program,” Carrigan explained.

He said from 45 to 50 job applications have been received to date and they will be screened by Josh Goldberg who will manage the facility. The two front wings of the sandstone buildings have been repurposed over the past several months to hold offices, a break room and cafeteria facilities in the northwest corner and residences will be in the northeast corner as you face the buildings from East Maple Street.  The facility will not be enclosed in a fence, but there will be bed checks for the residents and administration staff will be on site 24/7.


Lamar Council Approves Grant Funding to Help Identify EPA Problem Areas

Ayres Associates from Cheyenne, WY, has been hired by the Lamar City Council during their December 10th meeting to provide an EPA Brownfields Assessment known as the Prairie Crossroads Project for the City of Lamar. The funding will be provided through a $300,000 grant awarded to the city this past fall, according to Angie Cue, Community Development Director.  The project was put out to bid October 24th and Ayres Associates was the only contractor to bid for the work.  Ayres Associates, which has been involved in other city projects, will work to leverage the $300,000 EPA grant into broader funding sources.  The primary task of the contractors will be to make an environment assessment of problem areas within the main commercial district of the City of Lamar and recommend improvements.


City and County Approve IGA to Fund Ambulance Service

The City of Lamar and Prowers County are moving forward on a six month Intergovernmental Agreement which will have the county paying the city $60,000 for Ambulance and Emergency Medical services in Prowers County outside the municipal boundaries of the City of Lamar and excluding the service area of the Holly Fire and Ambulance District.  The IGA makes the agreement formal and outlines the terms and conditions of the delivery of service and the payment schedule between both parties.  The agreement calls for two payments of $30,000 to be made on January 15, 2019 and on April 15, 2019.  The agreement may be extended another six months through another written contract between both parties on or before June 25, 2019.  If no agreement has been reached by that date, Lamar will end its obligation to provide ambulance service outside the city limits of the City of Lamar.  The council approved the IGA which will be sent to the Prowers County Commissioners for action on their part.  If the IGA is not signed by them, the City of Lamar will discontinue service outside the city limits as of the end of the year.

(Editor’s Note) The County approved the six month agreement during their final meeting of the year.


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