Lower Rates on Utility Bills for Lamar Customers Noted in City Council Meeting


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The Lamar City Council, during its January 14th meeting offered council liaison reports which noted from Councilman Riley that the Municipal Airport is beginning work on an updated Master Plan for 2019 and will be seeking federal funding for upgrades. The airport board is still seeking permission from the FAA for a name change for the airport to, “Southeast Colorado Regional Airport” and had requested earlier a letter of support for that action.  Approval from the FAA may take up to two years.  Riley added that the golf board is planning to entice more golfers to the Spreading Antlers Golf Course through future marketing campaigns.  Mayor Roger Stagner gave a heads-up to residents who will note an extra line or two on their utility bills, “This isn’t designating an extra cost to customers, but now that the city has directed the Utility Board to use the $350,000 a year ARPA settlement to reduce the rate, those extra lines are an explanation of how it’s being done.”  A portion of the settlement agreement means the Lamar Utility Board has been directed by the City to use $350,000 a year for the next 26 years, to reduce rates to power customers.  The Utility Board noted that the decreases will be indicated in future bills for residential and commercial customers, contingent on the amount of power purchased each month.

The council approved on first reading, an ordinance re-zoning property at 302 and 304 and 304.5 West Washington Streets from an R-1 Residential to C-2 Commercial zoning designation. The city’s Planning and Zoning Commission approved the request at an earlier meeting.  The areas will be used for Taylor Plumbing operations including a shop, warehouse and store.

The use of the EBSCO research website at the Lamar Library was discussed again during the audience participation of the Lamar City Council during its January 14th meeting. David Frankel, who teaches an English class at Lamar Community College, stated that it’s an excellent resource for academic research, better than the internet in general and is invaluable for his classes.  Frankel said that if EBSCO were not available, it wouldn’t diminish the amount of pornography that could be accessed in the community and criticisms at the library wouldn’t alter the situation.

His statement was followed by several members of Heritage Defenders, a local organization which claims that EBSCO has an advertising mechanism which allows adult content material in to be accessed by underage students. Claudia Gill read several excerpts from the Colorado Revised Statutes,  stating that libraries and municipal entities are obligated to certify they offer filtering devices which screen and inhibit adult content from certain sites and they and the city could be in legal violation if they do not.  She was followed by other Defender members who reiterated their statements that EBSCO should be discontinued as a resource site at the Lamar Library.

The council approved a demographics database purchase for the Lamar Library which focuses on business development as well as listings of Lamar business owners. The cost was $437.50.  A renewal of Recorded Books databases was also approved at a cost of from $4,300 to $4,500.  The program covers three data bases including learning new languages, and audio books for adults and juveniles.  Librarian Susan Lathrop said usage of the databooks last year increased by 300% over 2017, attributable mostly to an awareness campaign conducted by the library which will be on-going.

The council approved overnight parking for the 24th annual Lamar Days Rod Run and Car Show at Willow Creek Park, scheduled for May 18th.

Tim Courkamp was re-appointed for a five year term to the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, ending in 2024. Rod Dunn was re-appointed to a five year term to the Variance Board/Building Codes ending in 2023.

J & S Graphics was awarded the annual tee shirt bid for 2019 from the City of Lamar Recreation Department. Four bids were received after advertising for tee shirts supplies for all the recreation programs.

Due, in part, to the amount of usage in previous years, the council approved a third year contract between the city and Southeast Wellness for an employee wellness program for consultation and services for City of Lamar employees.

2019 Liaison appointments were tabled until a full council is represented and the designation of places for posting notices of Lamar City Council meetings to include but not limited to the City Complex, Library, recreation department, water department and Lamar Ledger and The Prowers Journal, was approved.
By Russ Baldwin

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