City Upgrading Council Chambers and North Gateway Park

Concrete Pad Overlooking Second Pond at North Gateway Park



The Lamar City Council held its first meeting of 2021 this past Monday, January 11th. City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea noted her findings for the city’s Water/Wastewater fund from 2016 to 2020 which indicated the operating expenditures for four of the past five years have been overspent. Her written report suggested the need to increase the fund balance in order to complete future capital projects. She recommended that for the 2021 budget, the city move closer to what the annual averages have been, based on a three-year history. McCrea outlined her goals including educating department heads on the differences between considered capital and operating expenses, explaining budget versus actual expenses and remaining within the budgeted guidelines for the year and develop an understanding of the needs of each department head to assist them to reach their annual goals. McCrea said the new, quarterly reporting system suggested by Administrator Kil will help with the financial breakdown.

Kil presented costs and plans for the renovation of the city hall meeting room. He estimated it would cost $25,000 to bring in new technology and assist in the future broadcast of public meetings as well as some needed cosmetic upgrades to the council chambers. Improvements included painting, drywall installation, technology upgrades for visual voting of councilpersons, chairs for the public and upgrade the LED lighting as well as a new exterior to the dais. Kil said as this was not a budgeted item, the council needs to give its approval before the work can be funded. “We asked Pat Mason, Public Works Director if he knew when the last upgrades were performed,” Kil told the council, adding that Mason estimated there hadn’t been any done since the original construction work in 1975. The council approved the funding and noted that as many local bids for the project will be advertised as possible.

Improvements are continuing for North Gateway Park. Kil said the new pavilion adjacent to the beach area, should be completed by mid-March and the restroom facility will be constructed this spring. The design of the 5,000 square foot kayak rental center is being finalized by the city’s building inspector. Bids will be solicited once the design is complete and the construction should be finished by the summer.

Regional Asbestos Mitigation is at work removing hazardous materials from the Troy Motel. The project is estimated to cost $119,000 and should be completed by this spring. Once that has occurred, the city’s public works department will demolish the structure.

The council approved awarding of asphalt, concrete and road base materials for the new year though the Selective Item Award Procedure, alleviating the need for separate bids as the materials are needed. All Rite Paving and Redi Mix and Prowers Aggregate LLC received the council’s approval.

The council discussed, but postponed any action on approval of the Third Amendment to the Mutual Release and Settlement agreement with ARPA, Arkansas River Power Authority on the fate of the portion of the Lamar Repowering Project situated north of East Maple Street. City Attorney Lance Clark stated he wants to review the agreement which calls for the purchase of the coal domes and related equipment for $511,000 to the city. Last year, North Fork Farms indicated a willingness to purchase the domes and conveyer equipment and all other equipment north of Maple Street for grain storage.

Although no date has been set, the city has agreed to use Purple Wave Auction to conduct an online auction to sell equipment and large office items no longer in use by the City of Lamar. Purple Wave Auction assists governments in such sales, photographing assets, describing the items, uploading them to a website and advertise the event, selling to successful bidders, collecting the proceeds and issuing a check to the city when all accounts are closed. The cost of the service is 10% on each sold item. Treasurer McCrea added the auction items will receive wider coverage by way of the company’s national website.

As part of annual housekeeping duties at the beginning of a new year, the council designated places for posting an official notice for future council meetings. The council also reviewed various liaison positions for boards and commissions and decided to keep the current representation with the exception of replacing former City Administrator, John Sutherland with Steve Kil on the Community Municipal League Policy Committee.

Warren Camp was appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a five-year term expiring February, 2026. He is replacing Gary Oxley on the board.  The council postponed the scheduled executive session until the January 25th meeting.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureCity of LamarConsumer IssuesEconomyFeaturedPublic SafetyRecreationWater


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