Council Moves Forward to Remove Troy Motel, City Sidewalk Improvement Project

Main Street Lamar, Co

Correction on November 11, 2020 City Council Article

(Editor’s Note)

A portion of this article originally stated Prowers County received $592,062 in CARES Act funding from the state. Actually, that amount was funded to the City of Lamar while Prowers County received $452,139 which includes Holly, Granada, Hartman and Wiley. Prowers County Commissioner, Wendy Buxton-Andrade pointed out the county is administering funds for the smaller municipalities and their funds will be used for their businesses and unincorporated county funds will be used for businesses that are applying in the unincorporated areas.

 

Lamar City Administrator, Steve Kil, reviewed three projects currently underway for Lamar during the council’s November 9th meeting.

The Colorado Partnership for Education and Rural Revitalization, or COPERR, to benefit both construction trades education and housing needs in southeastern Colorado, has been awarded $5 million from Colorado Attorney General, Phil Weiser. The funds will be used by Lamar Community College, Otero Junior College and Trinidad State Junior College to develop skilled trades programs. The program is funded through money the state received from the national mortgage settlement; a settlement reached in 2012 after 49 states sued mortgage servicers after the 2008 financial crisis. The communities will make use of those skills to improve blighted housing and housing shortages in the participating communities.

Kil said the city and LCC have partnered to address these concerns in Lamar and Prowers County. The college is seeking an “On-Site Instructor and Project Manager” for the COPERR program with a review of applicants set for November 13th and final interviews before the month’s end. He added an intergovernmental agreement is being developed, first with the state attorney general’s office and once that has been concluded, a separate IGA will be offered between the college and the city.

Some city sidewalks are slated for improvement. CDOT has awarded Lamar a $50,000 grant to replace several sections of sidewalk that are a hazard to pedestrians. Those businesses that front the sidewalk areas are: The Max, Las Brisas, Davies Hotel, Grandpas, J & N Shoes, Wilson Building and Vendor’s Gallery. A private contractor will replace sections of the sidewalk and city crews will remove the old sections. These sidewalks are not fronting Main Street, but run perpendicular to it, adjacent to the businesses listed. The city’s public works department will complete the sidewalk sections once a private company has removed the broken areas.

Required construction documents for revitalizing the Main Café are being funded by a $61,005 grant from the Department of Local Affairs. Earlier this fall, the city council accepted a $15,000 grant and awarded the Historical Structural Assessment contract to the firm, Form Works.

The demolition of the Troy Motel on South Main Street is moving forward. The city accepted the bid from Regional Asbestos as one of seven submitted to the council for the abatement and demolition of the empty building. Bidding ranged between $206K to $562K for the project. Regional Asbestos had the most competitive offer at $119K. The city will use $71,884 in funding secured by Building Inspector, Craig Brooks, from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment. As a cost saving measure, the public works department will handle the demolition.

The annual write-off accounts for uncollected bills for water, sewer and sanitation are lower for 2019 than for 2018 according to City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea. She told the council the uncollected accounts for water/sewer for 2018 were $15,342 compared to 2019 at $10,476. By the same token, the Sanitation Fund write-offs also dropped from $8,657 in 2018 to $5,651 in 2019. Payment is still sought by the city and utility board and any future monies are applied to the uncollectible reserve account.

City Clerk, Linda Williams, noted that city sales tax revenue continues to grow, based on last year’s collections. At the request of Mayor Kirk Crespin, Williams provided an accounting of on-line sales revenue and tax collections for Lamar with an estimated $3 million in sales, based on 134 vendors and of that, the taxes were at $90,560. Crespin asked if a separate line item could be introduced for future online sales revenues.

The council reviewed only a handful of proposed service fees submitted for consideration for 2021. One new one covers the cost of inspecting free standing carports, 12 by 20 feet or smaller. The council is concerned with a safety factor that, if not properly secured to the ground, they might become airborne during strong winds. The recommended inspection fee was reduced from $103 to $50. Another fee, $20, was proposed for the Lamar Animal Shelter, as a security fee when two or more parties are interested in adopting the same dog. A resolution will be brought before the next council meeting.

Under Miscellaneous matters, Administrator Kil told the council that chances are slim that a competing fast food franchise would be allowed to develop in the former Burger King building on North Main Street. He said he recognized there had been hopes that an Arby’s franchise might occupy the spot vacated earlier this year by the Burger King franchise owners, but the BK Corporation has not been known to allow a competitor to assume a prior facility. Kil did remark that the RV storage project off Division and Parmenter Streets in Lamar is moving forward and the developer, Ivor Hill, is attempting to remove several derelict trailers from the property and requires a court order to that effect. The approximate cost of removal is $2,000 per trailer.

The city plans to contact DoLA, Department of Local Affairs, recommending that $40,000 of the city’s share of the CARES Act Grant be allocated to Prowers County. In an effort to aid businesses throughout the state that have been financially impacted by the pandemic, a CARES Act grant was developed of which, $592,000 has been earmarked for Prowers County. All the communities save Holly agreed to enter into the grant which allocated the funding based on population. One of the more difficult aspects of the funding was prioritizing which business would receive how much money. Administrator Kil recommended the $40,000 be divided equally among those city businesses requesting help with Covid-related materials. The funds are from Lamar’s share of the CARES Act grant.

By Russ Baldwin

 

Filed Under: City of LamarCOVID-19FeaturedHealthHousingPublic SafetyUtilities

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