City of Lamar Prepares for 2021

Pond at North Gateway Park


The Lamar City Council finished business for 2020 with their final meeting of the year, Monday, December 21st with a reminder that city offices will be closed December 24th and 25th as well as January 1, 2021.

City Administrator, Steve Kil, noted the Community Development Block Grant of $900,000 for the administration of funds earmarked for improvements to Plainsview Apartments on South 11th Street in Lamar was awarded by the Department of Local Affairs. The city will be a third-party funding conduit between DoLA and the apartment complex owners.

Kil told the council the city is working with GOCO for an extension and modification of the Generation Wild grant that was awarded in 2015. The goal of the grant was to develop various outdoor projects appealing to Lamar’s youth. The project grant, $1.3 million was awarded to Lamar with $445,000 for capital projects and the balance invested in programs, pathways and capacity. The city used $380,000 for the skateboard facility in Willow Creek Park and $80,000 for new playground equipment on the western side of the park. However, the pathways and programs portion of the grant became stalled with the departure of the local LiveWell Prowers County coordinator. The city is now requesting a modification to the grant to redirect $524,127 over to capital improvements which includes $65,000 for a picnic and camping area at North Gateway Park, a new playground at the Lamar Sports Complex, expanding the soccer field and lighting at Escondido Park and resurfacing the town’s tennis court adjacent to the municipal swimming pool. The council is also requesting an extension to June 30, 2022 to complete these projects.

The administrator included in the council’s meeting packet, a set of goals he’s recommending for 2021. “We hope the Covid situation gets resolved in the coming year to allow us to gather outside of a Zoom meeting to review these proposals and allow a face-to-face discussion on what we consider to be our priorities,” he stated. Replying to a question from councilmember Oscar Riley, Kil said Farm Credit of Southern Colorado’s new location along East Olive Street has not been annexed into the city at this time, but is pending, “We’re waiting on their lawyer to begin to initiate the annexation documentation and we estimate it will be some time early in 2021,” he explained.

The council conducted a public hearing for comments regarding the supplemental budget for the current year ending December 31, 2020. The council approved Resolution No. 20-12-02 to appropriate additional sums of money to defray expenses in excess of amounts budgeted for the City of Lamar for General Funds, Sales Tax Funds, Fairmount Investment Fund, Sanitation Fund, Water/wastewater Fund and Ambulance Fund.

Other financial matters before the council included the annual review of water deposit interest rates approved by the Public Utilities Commission as .74%, a decrease from 2020 of 1.59%. The council also accepted the 2021 VALE Grant award of $15,384 for 2021. The annual agreement between the Lamar Police Department and Lamar High School was approved for law enforcement and security services for 2021.

An economic development incentive proposal for a new business venture, Veradyn, LLC in the City of Lamar, was tabled by the council during their Monday meeting. Dustin and Jennifer Randle have requested financial assistance to relocate an office and manufacturing facility from Denver to Lamar. Their business consists in constructing pre-fabricated buildings and will begin with three, full-time employees for the first year of operation with an estimated 20 new full-time positions for welders, assemblers and designers with an average salary of $40,000 per year. The approximate total incentive package is currently $164,495.81 and would be in effect for six months from approval. The council is asking the owners to provide more specific details about the business plan and a site of operations before considering the incentive package agreement.

Providing adequate funding for the continued operation of the E911 Emergency Telephone Service Center has been a daunting task for both the City of Lamar and Prowers County as well as the E911 Authority Board. An agreement has been reached and the council approved a motion authorizing Mayor Crespin to sign the agreement. The city and county are adopting a revised agreement that will create a 911 Authority Board that will be responsible for the operation of the center, known as the Second Amendment. The Initial By-laws were approved by the Board and adopted by the city and county. The board’s representation will be comprised of three persons from the county, three from the city, three citizens and City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea will assume the fiscal duties. The new agreement take effect at the start of the year. The funding for 2021 is approximately $600,000 with phone surcharges at an estimated $200,000, City of Lamar will contribute an estimated $247,530 and the county’s estimated share is $152,470, all based on population figures.

The council ratified an earlier phone poll conducted on December 8th which approves the City of Lamar’s Economic Development Incentive Package to aid in attracting business ventures to the community.   Administrator Kil described this as the initial step to the city’s “Open for Business Campaign” to be used by the Real Estate and Development industries. While it’s similar to previous incentive packages, this will be allocated on a case-by-case basis customized to suit a particular business venture. The package includes State of Colorado Enhanced Enterprise Zone Credits covering new employees, job training costs, new equipment purchases and approved health insurance credits. It also covers rebates for property and sales taxes, site development costs for electric power and water, sewer and permits.

Dwight Daniels was re-appointed for a five-year term to the Variance and Building Codes Board. It expires October 1, 2025. The next council meeting is set for Monday, January 11, 2021.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyEmploymentFeaturedHealthHousingPublic SafetyRecreationTourismUtilitiesWater


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