Council Approves Infrastructure Funding, Mayor Urges COVID Precautions

Municipal Offices in Lamar

 

The Lamar City Council had only a few items on its brief agenda this past Monday evening, October 26th. Before business began, Mayor Kirk Crespin noted the recent, dramatic climb in pandemic cases in Prowers County, urging residents to take the necessary steps to maintain covid-related safety measures.

“In the last six days, we’ve increased the number of COVID-19 cases to 175, an additional 44 cases as of October 26th, and there are now three covid-associated deaths,” he remarked. Crespin said as a community, “We need to get this in check because there is a concern that we can slip back to greater restrictions for our stores, our gathering places such as restaurants and municipal buildings and our schools. We need to keep these open in order to maintain our economy and keep residents employed.” He thanked the residents for their efforts, but reminded them of the need to follow quarantine rules and maintain minimum contact.

Steve Kil, City Administrator, highlighted several upcoming events, noting the city has received a $61,000 grant for architectural and construction developments for the Main Café project. Daylight Savings Time will revert to fall/winter hours by moving clocks back one hour between October 31st and the beginning of November, Saturday to Sunday. The National General Election will be conducted Tuesday, November 3rd with polling stations closing at 7pm. Veteran’s Day will be Wednesday, November 11th and city offices will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, November 26-27. The Lamar Library will host a drive-through Trunk or Treat on October 30th in the rear parking lot from 5pm to 7pm.

The council approved an application to be sent to the Environmental Protection Association for a $300,000 Brownsfield Assessment grant. The grant does not require a match, according to City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea. The funding will be used to further the city’s efforts to clean environmental contamination through what is called the “Prairie Crossroads Project” which began in 2018. To date, the city has conducted ten phase one ESAs, Environmental Site Assessments and three phase two ESAs. These are surface and subsurface investigations to determine the type and level of chemical contamination that may be found in the study areas. Phase Two of the study is defined as the northern portion of Lamar, bounded by Parmenter Street to the south, North 13th Street to the west, the Arkansas River to the north and extends past the Riverside Cemetery to the west. This area covers the core downtown area of the City of Lamar. Administrator Kil will be the Prairie Crossroads Project manager with technical, environmental and administrative support supplied by Chief Building Inspector, Craig Brooks.

The council approved on first reading, Ordinance # 1244, approving a Colorado Water Resources and Power Development Authority Loan. This is for a $1,089,200 Drinking Water Revolving Fund (DWRF), Disadvantaged Communities Program supplemental direct loan over 30 years. The grant will finance a replacement project for the city’s water distribution system.

Walmart has requested the city provide security services from the Lamar Police Department for three scheduled Black Friday sales days. The hours will be from 5am to 10pm on November 7th, 14th and 27th. Each event will have two officers per shift for a total of 102 hours, at $35 per officer, per hour, not to exceed $3,570.

There is an opportunity for economic development on the land on which the two coal domes are situated, north of East Maple Street. The council approved a motion to approve a consent and waiver of conflict of interest for the law firm of AVWHF, P.C. related to drafting a new amendment for ARPA, Arkansas River Power Authority.

An earlier lawsuit between the City and ARPA ruled that ARPA must demolish the structures at the site. However, a business, North Fork Farms, has expressed interest in the property and an amendment is required to that end as opposed to the court-ordered demolition. This law firm had represented the city in a lawsuit and a waiver will allow the firm to act in the interests of ARPA and ultimately, North Fork, in creating a business opportunity for the under-used property. Administrator, Steve Kil, said the company can make use of the domes and conveyer assembly for its feed and grain storage operation. Mayor Crespin said the deal would amount to a ‘win-win’ scenario with added employment, utility revenue and a broadened tax base for the city. Plus, ARPA would pay the city the estimated cost of the demolition which will be averted. Kil said the City Attorney, Lance Clark, will review the needed documentation before any action is taken.

Ordinances, No. 1242 and 1243, setting the 2021 city budget as well as pertaining to collection of taxes for the fiscal year were passed through the consent agenda.

The next council meeting will be held Tuesday, November 9th, in a total Zoom format instead of in council chambers, given the need for pandemic safety measures at this time.

By Russ Baldwin

 

 

Filed Under: City of LamarCountyEconomyEnvironmentFeaturedHealthPublic SafetyUtilities

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