Council Begins Community Improvements for 2020


Crespin and Haggard


The Lamar Redevelopment Authority voted to table a request for $5,105 in additional funding for Wild West Athletics during its December 23rd meeting. The funding is intended to cover unanticipated exterior work at Wild West Athletics at 110 North Main Street in Lamar. The LRA had earlier approved a request for $8,920 for façade improvements to all sides of the building. Wild West Athletics, which has been in operation since 2008 in Lamar, is owned by Joette and Cody DuVall.

Board members requested Angie Cue, Community Development Director, to ask the business to provide invoices and other documentation on the current estimate of expenses for the additional repair work involved in removing the old shingles, repairing the frame and replacing it with metal sheeting which added $25,525 to the project.

Phase II of the city’s project to replace the Main Street Water Distribution System took an important step forward when the council award the bid to K.R. Swerdfeger out of Pueblo West. The company submitted a proposal with a Base Bid of $2,812,998. There were three bids for the project and the city’s engineering consulting firm, JViation and the council determined that Bid Alternative #2 is the lowest priority and will be deferred until more funding is received. Based on the bids received, Alternative #2 would be $1,674,813, also from Swerdfeger. Bid alternatives 1,3, 4 and 5 were approved at the bid price. Pat Mason, Public Works Director, said the company has been used by the city in other projects and is currently working with Atmos Energy on their infrastructure improvements with good results.

The city is moving in 2020 with municipal clean-up projects in mind but tabled a dated application for the 1306 Brownsfield Cleanup Grant to demolish the former Troy Manor at 1101 South Main Street. The originating document goes back to 2017, a concern to City Treasurer, Kristen McCrea as well as a lack of needed documentation on the application. “We’re dealing with federal funding and that comes with its own particular set of rules which we absolutely need to follow before we become involved with this,” she cautioned. Right now, $68,797 in funding would cover costs to abate hazardous materials, demolish the building and remove the debris and backfill and level the site to grade and repair any sidewalk and gutter damage. However, those are 2017 figures. The city believes a ‘clean slate’ property would appeal to potential marketers and there already is one party interested in the property once the abatement project is completed.

The Fishing for Fun grant from Colorado Parks and Wildlife has helped support numerous outdoor activities throughout the state and in Lamar in past years. This year is no different as the city received $62,000 and the council voted to accept the funding during its Monday meeting. The city is making a match of $20,666 for 25% of the grant with the funding earmarked for improvements at North Gateway Park. The grant will provide for two shade shelters at the ponds as well as an ADA accessible vault toilet. The improvements should help provide for longer visits for anglers at the park, especially during the hot summer months. The project should be completed by June of next year.

Belinda Groner, a representative for Heritage Defenders, asked the Lamar City Council how well acquainted they were with legal actions taken against Stephen Kil regarding the removal of political campaign lawn signs when he was employed in Indiana. “It was a three year case,” Groner said, as she distributed several pages of court dates listing proceedings involving the case. Mayor Kirk Crespin explained the council was aware, “It was the first question we asked of him during our interviews,” he stated, adding that Kil was acting the day before the election on advice from his City Attorney as several dozen lawn signs violated election laws due to their proximity to public areas, even as they favored candidates opposing Kil in a local election. Crespin added that the political action committee went to court to overturn the election results in its belief that the removal of the signs was a factor in their candidates’ loss. Mayor Crespin replied that was one factor in the overall litigation’s length. He added that Kil had an excellent track record during his two previous terms of employment in municipal service, 19 years and 11 years in two communities and he was highly praised on his departure by the St. John, Indiana council for his accomplishments and professionalism for that community.

Beverly Haggard was presented with an award by Mayor Crespin for her 18 years of service to the community as a city council member, including her 11 years as the city’s liaison to the Ports to Plains organization. Crespin apologized on behalf of the council for being tardy in the presentation due to the council’s busy schedule. Haggard chided them for being remiss. “I want to tell you I was hurt the last night I was on the city council and not thanked by anyone for 18 years of service. I was very hurt and very upset, because in the past 18 years whenever anyone went off the council, they were thanked and given a plaque. I was very, very upset and hurt, so thank you.”

Changes were made to the council’s liaison assignments with the introduction of two new council members and mayor. Kirk Crespin will become liaison to the Lamar Utility Board, Police Department, SECOG and until other Mayors are heard from on their interest in the position, liaison to SECED. Gerry Jenkins will assume liaison duties for the Library Board, Joe Gonzales for Planning and Zoning Commission and the city’s Tree Board. Manuel Tamez will become liaison to the Water Advisory Board and Prowers Area Transit Board and the council help open the position to liaison to the Colorado Municipal League for Stephen Kil.

The council voted to recommend Haggard to remain as the city’s liaison to Ports to Plains, given her working knowledge of the organization’s highway improvement goals between Mexico and Canada. Joe Gonzales will attend future meetings with her to become better acquainted with her responsibilities as the city’s representative. $5,500 will have to be budgeted to allow for annual travel, meals and accommodation expenses.

Although the offer of the city administrator’s position has been extended to Stephen Kil and accepted, the council needed to ratify an earlier phone poll authorizing Mayor Crespin to submit the offer to the candidate. The council’s vote in favor of Mr. Kil was unanimous and he is scheduled to begin work in his new position as of February 3rd, 2020.

After some discussion, the council decided to split the cost difference over the final price for a new Type 3 Fire Truck with Front Range Fire Apparatus. Council Attorney, Garth Neischburg, discussed an initial offer with the council on December 9th, and was authorized to offer $3,440.34 to settle the price dispute. A counter offer was made to split the original change order cost of $24,557.51. Each party will be responsible for $12,278.75, minus accrued interest since October 26, when the city received delivery of the vehicle.

In an annual end-of-year task, the council approved the award of bids on various amounts of aggregate materials related to snow removal and road construction materials from the city for the approaching year. The three contractors submitting bids were All Rite Paving and Redi Mix, Prowers Aggregate LLC and R & T Redi Mix. The council voted to accept an offer from All Rite for a deal to couple sales of asphalt with concrete which will provide a discount to the city of approximately $15,00 for next year’s purchases. The also approved an annual resolution setting the interest rate at 2.33% on customer water deposits, up from 2.05% from 2019 and will ask the Lamar Utilities Board for recommendations on how the fee impacts electric customers.

Lamar purchased a scale to weigh trash at the Lamar Landfill this past September and since that time, a study was done to assess proper rates that would reflect trash by weight instead of cubic yardage. Using that date, the city is proposing these rate changes. Regardless of weight, there will be a minimum $10 charge for all loads. Rates for E-waste, tires, appliances and Freon removal will not change. Non-commercial waste will cost $40/ton and commercial waste will be $60/ton. These rates will apply for all municipalities, all waste outside of Prowers County and all commercial waste haulers. Commercial yard waste such as grass clippings, tree limbs, etc. will be charted $10 per pick-up load and $20 per trailer load. Items such as large tree stumps and branches will be subject to weight rates. The city noted the changes reflect rates from multiple landfills in the state and in some cases, charges will increase comparative to money being charged for yardage, but it will decrease in others. When charged for yardage/space, a cubic yard of concrete would be the same as a cubic yard of foam, but with weight, there would be a change.

Following a public hearing, the council approved Resolution 19-12-03, appropriating additional sums of money to defray expenses in excess of amounts budgeted for the City of Lamar for the past year. The transfer covers amounts from the General Fund, Sales Tax Fund, Conservation Trust Fund, Lamar Building Finance Corporation, and Sanitation and Ambulance Funds. Some of these adjusted areas include the cost of hiring a firm to find a new city administrator, higher revenue from Sales Tax, purchase of a gopher control device, unanticipated expenses relating to buying trash tubs and roll-offs, a debt payment for a new trash truck and the purchase of a new ambulance and the County contribution which was not budgeted for.

The city council has scheduled a work session for Monday, January 6th at 6pm and a regular meeting on the 13th. The council’s informal breakfast will be held, Wednesday, January 8th at 7am at Rancher’s Restaurant.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarEconomyEnvironmentFeaturedPublic SafetyUtilities


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