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Council Considers Study for Year-Round Covered Pool

 

Lamar Pool

 

Lamar is joining with High Plains Community Health Center in a Memorandum of Understanding to research the feasibility of a partnership leading to a year-round covered swimming pool or aquatics center to serve Lamar and the surrounding area on an annual basis. The goals outlined in the MOU include:  the ‘low-cost’ study of construction and operation of the project; a Party may donate resources without the consent of the other Party, but should be coordinated prior to the action donation; seeking additional partners and the possible retainer of a professional feasibility study by mutual consent of all Parties and partners.  High Plains Executive Director, Eric Niemeyer, explained to the council during their September 9th meeting, that the agreement is only exploratory, developed to seek input from other interested parties in funding a feasibility study.  “We estimate this would cost from $15-$20,000 to develop and we won’t proceed until we find we have some good financial backing.”  He said the plan calls for the construction of a cover for the current municipal pool, which is used only 2 ½ months out of the year.  Niemeyer said the potential health benefits would serve almost any age and could become a physical education curriculum at the local schools, as well as give the Lamarlins a year round place to practice. Almost 20 years ago, a citizen’s group was formed in Lamar to outline a project for an indoor pool complex to serve the area, with cost options on the size and style of the project ranging between $1.5 to $5.5 million dollars.  After some minor language alterations to the agreement, the council will okay the revised contract.

Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, recapped the history of the city’s municipal court fees dating to 2006 when a municipal judge raised the docket fee from $15 to $20. In 2015, the council was approached about a resolution for the public service fee to be kept in the community at $100 which would be distributed to the Lamar City Library, the fire department’s fireworks fund, the Teen Center and the Cindy Farmer book distribution service, but council minutes indicate no action was taken on the request which was tabled pending additional research.

However, the fees began to be collected since February 24, 2015 and were applied to the fireworks fund, the library and a later fee for the police department’s Victim’s Fund which is different from the VALE Board. Current fees being collected are $20 for the Lamar Municipal Court Docket fee, $20 for Useful Public Service which is for the library or the fireworks fund and a $20 fee for the police Victim’s Fund.  Chief Miller recommended directing that fee to the Explorer Program.

The City of Lamar is extending its coverage area to include dogs from the Town of Springfield. The community has no place to hold abandoned animals which could be euthanized.  Lamar’s Animal Shelter has space for the dogs and is compliant with regulation and PACFA standards, so they could take an extra dog or two from time to time.  The council approved a one year agreement, similar to the one enacted with Granada at a fee of $20 per dog delivered to the Lamar Shelter.  After five full days the dogs become Lamar’s property and can be adopted to a new home.

The council approved a resolution ending a supplemental benefit of 0.9% to retired city employees since 1991. As explained by City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea, the benefit was intended to continue until the 0.9% was no longer sufficient to fund the benefit, which is the current situation.  The resolution directs the treasurer to cease future collections and pay the balance in the account to the retirees currently receiving the supplement until the account is depleted.  This will occur when individual payments of $148.11 to each retired city employee are exhausted from the bank account and the final payment will be prorated among the recipients.

An ordinance increasing the compensation salaries paid to the Lamar City Council and Mayor was passed on first reading. The last increase was over a decade ago.  The Mayor’s compensation will increase to $600 per month and each council member will see an increase to $300 per month.  This would affect only those council members that begin their terms at the city council meeting set for November 11, 2019, following the November election.  Current member’s compensation will not change.  The only member who will not see an increase is Oscar Riley.  The recent compensation had been set at $200 for council and $400 for mayor. Council member, Anne Marie Crampton, voted against the ordinance.

Olinger Family

Lamar gained a new police officer with the swearing in of Bret Olinger by Mayor Roger Stagner. Police Chief, Kyle Miller, told the audience Olinger moved to Lamar from Colorado Springs and has served in the U.S. Army.

The public was reminded of future events including the Pedal the Plains bicycling event beginning this Friday through Sunday; the Friday, September 20th Open House for Crossroads Turning Point from 11am to 1pm at 3501 South Main Street in Lamar and the Fleagle Gang slide display and discussion on Saturday, September 21st with Tom Betz at the Shore Arts Center from 3pm to 5pm.

Following a scheduled public hearing, the Lamar City Council approved a special events permit to host a beer garden at the Lamar Chamber of Commerce for the organization’s annual Okotoberfest, set for Saturday, October 5th this year. The beer garden will remain open between 10am and 11pm.

Chris Wilkinson was appointed to the Variance Board/Building Codes for five years; the term will end in 2024. He will replace Wayne Stiles whose term is expiring this year.

The council ratified an earlier phone poll approving support to Prowers Economic Prosperity to enable them to submit a letter of interest to Homegrown Talent Initiative Building Colorado’s Career-Connected Continuum.   The school districts for Granada and Lamar will be represented in the event intended to connect local school students with local business leaders.

The council went into executive session to discuss matters pertaining to negotiations with Arkansas River Power Authority.

By Russ Baldwin

 

Filed Under: City of LamarEconomyFeaturedHealthLaw EnforcementPublic SafetyRecreationSchoolSportsTourismTransportationUtilities

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