Lamar City Council Focuses on Water, Housing Project Funding

Days are Numbered



Lamar City Administrator, Steve Kil, provided the Lamar City Council with an update of some on-going projects during the council’s regular meeting on Monday, August 24th. The earlier meeting, scheduled for August 10th was cancelled and as such, the city sales tax revenue report was delayed to this current meeting.

Kil said bids for the demolition of the Troy Motel on South Main Street were published on August 7th with a September 8th deadline and bid opening for Wednesday, September 9th.  Lamar received a grant of $71,884 from the state health department’s waste management division for hazardous material and abatement. The city needs to sign a contract with the state to finalize the grant.

Approximately $26,250 will be used from the city’s DOLA Main Street Mini-Grant to round out the $35,000 estimate for reconstructing the stage at the Enchanted Forest and a shade structure which will be a new feature. A local match of $8,750 is required.

The city selected Form + Works Design Group, LLC as the consultant for a portion of the Main Café project. This past July, the council approved a grant application of $122,010 for architectural and design documents. The Lamar Redevelopment Authority is supplying a local match of $61,005 from its budget. A Brownfield Grant funded study showed the former restaurant on South Main Street contains asbestos and lead. The city granted historical designation status to the building and applied for an Historic Structural Assessment for a complete once-over on the status of the structure.

Kil provided an update on water-related projects, noting the city received an $800,000 DOLA grant to complete the Main Street water distribution project, still underway. Close to 3,800 feet of water main and laterals is being replaced between Cedar Street and the Fort Bent Canal.

The $800,000 needed for the Phase lll stage of the project requires an $800,000 cash match from the city. City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea, has contacted the Colorado Drinking Water Revolving Fund from which Lamar received a primary $1,360,000 forgivable loan to initiate the first phase of the water project several years ago. The city is applying to renew the application for the additional $800,000 to finish the 3rd phase. The city’s loan with the State Revolving Fund is for the $1.36M and all but $195,000 is forgivable, pending a determination of the new application from the state.

A second project calls for the rehabilitation of concrete structures and the installation of new protective coatings in the WWTP, wastewater treatment plant headworks/influent lift station and a fine-screen basket at the headworks. This project is out to bid. Kil noted the Lamar Swimming Pool will operate on Friday, Saturday and Sunday until Labor Day. Earlier, the council felt the pool should remain closed this summer due to pandemic concerns which could impact the cost/earnings of the annual recreational feature. The pool usually closes the second weekend of each August.

That old, lone building just south of the Highway 287 bridge over the Arkansas River should soon be taken down to make way for a Best Western Inn and Suites motel. The contractor is waiting for the CDPHE permit to begin demolition.

On another economic development front, a member of CBRE, Real Estate Advisory and Transaction Services team will be in Lamar this week. CBRE is a national brokerage firm that helps retail clients with site selection in a community.

The council, after some discussion, delayed action on a motion to create, for one year, a Public Safety Board, beginning January 1, 2021. The council decided that due to the complexity of the concept, additional discussion was warranted and that will occur at a subsequent work session.

Kil explained the new board is designed to help provide an open and transparent system for investigations and reviews of any public complaints and concerns against the city’s public safety departments or its staff. The general outline, he explained, will have the board report directly to the Lamar City Council and will consist of seven citizens which will include the mayor, a city council member, the city administrator, a citizen representative from each of the three wards and one county-wide, at-large member.

Following board appointments, the city and county applicants will be reviewed by the administrator and the existing members of the PSB. Applicants will be appointed by a majority vote of the mayor and council upon the review and recommendation of the administrator and PSB. The four community members will serve a four year term and meet monthly, holding an annual public forum throughout the City of Lamar and Prowers County to ensure that all comments and concerns from the public are addressed.

The board may make policy-level recommendations regarding the full scope of duties, conduct and responsibilities of the city’s public safety departments as well as ensure transparency for hiring, training, recruitment and community relations or to address other matters of concern to the council, mayor, administrator and police or fire chief. The board will be abolished through a unanimous vote of the Lamar City Council should it be deemed unsuccessful, counterproductive or ineffective for its intended purposes.

The council voted to adopt Resolution No. 20-08-01, but at this point, in a non-binding agreement, authorizing Community Development Block Grant funding for improvements to the Plainsview Apartments, located at 1705 South 11th Street in Lamar. The city will act as a financial pass-through for funding from the Department of Housing as the new owner plans to purchase and upgrade the building including replacement of heating systems, plumbing upgrades and interior and exterior improvements. The existing owner spent $200,000 in roof replacement and other projects. The purchase price of the apartments is $900,000. The City of Lamar will incur no financial costs during these transactions. City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea, told the council her department needs additional information and some corrections are required to the agreement. The council decided to delay any authorizing signatures until the agreement has been reviewed by the city attorney.

The Lamar Library is applying for a $10,000 Colorado State Library CARES Act grant which provides software programming to connect students who are home-bound due to the coronavirus to the library’s Overdrive account. The funds will purchase materials which are accessible for educators, students and the general public.

The city is approving an agreement with JVA Consultant Engineers for a general/on-call services contract. JVA has been hired by the city since 2013 to perform a number of services relating to water and wastewater infrastructure, general civil and structural engineering and construction inspection services. The city has proposed a set fee structure ranging between $112 to $208 per hour. Other costs will be reimbursed at 1.1 times the direct cost. On that note, the council approved another agreement with JVA to analyze current water demands and wastewater flows and loading as well as consider impacts to existing facilities and infrastructure. A detailed overview of the city’s comprehensive water works and a rate study will be included in the Master Plan. The cost of the analysis is $124,900.

Chinese Built YAK at Lamar Airport

In other action, councilman Oscar Riley, noted the Red Star YAK airplane organization will return to the Lamar airport for its annual gathering from September 17-20th this year, aerobatic competition will be held at the airport on the first weekend of October and it was suggested that in order to heighten awareness of the airport in the community, the council contact the county to suggest a new descriptive name for CR GG2 that leads into the airport.

City offices will be closed Monday, September 7th for Labor Day and the 9/11 Tribute activities have been postponed to Saturday, September 11, 2021.
By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: City of LamarEconomyFeaturedHolidayHousingPolice ReportPublic SafetyRecreationTourismTransportationUtilitiesWater


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