Council Reviews Ordinances for Public Safety Committee/Building Vacancy Registration


Municipal Offices in Lamar

The Lamar City Council held in-depth discussions regarding two ordinances during its May 10th meeting.  One proposes the creation of a five-member Public Safety Advisory Board for the community and the other outlines guidelines for owners of vacant buildings to identify their future plans for the property.

The safety committee Ordinance #1245 will receive it’s first reading at the May 24th council meeting.  The committee is being created to promote communication and collaboration between Lamar’s citizens and the city’s police and fire departments.  The board will come into play should the need arise to review un-resolved citizen complaints in these departments after the proper internal administrative process has been concluded.  The board can recommend policy changes or new procedures and capital purchases and continue to promote understanding and relationships between residents and the police and fire departments.  City Administrator, Steve Kil, explained this is not intended to be a forum simply for public complaints about the departments, but to provide a conduit to share concerns and needs of both the city’s residents and the police and fire departments.

The council also discussed proposed Ordinance #1246 establishing a program to identify and register vacant residential and commercial buildings and to determine the responsibilities of owners of vacant buildings and structures; ensure the safety, structural stability and code complains and to speed the rehabilitation of the vacant buildings.  The ordinance is intended to help prevent blight in local neighborhoods where these vacant buildings have been allowed to deteriorate, are not safe or secure and pose a health threat to the area.  The council discussed at considerable length what they believed to be reasonable fees for the registering of the buildings and having the city monitor each site for each year the building remains vacant.  Failure to register these buildings can result in various penalties for which an owner can be ticketed.  The fee structure for this action was also discussed at length with various proposals suggested ranging from $25 to $50 for a first-year offense and up to considerably more for a prolonged failure to register when it involves on-going years.  The classifications were broken into residential for one rate structure and commercial-agricultural-industrial for the other.  Additional discussion was placed on the means by which property owners can claim an exemption to a fine.  A new draft will be conducted by City Attorney, Lance Clark, and brought back to the council for the May 24th meeting as well as the opportunity for public input on the ordinance.  Mayor Kirk Crespin pointed out; the intent of the new ordinance is basically to see what future plans a property owner has for their vacated buildings.  There are approximately 137 such structures within the city limits.

Administrator Kil, provided the council with updates on future and current local activities including the annual Lamar Days celebration, set for May 14 and 15th.  The event includes a chamber barbecue on Friday beginning at 11am, Rod Run and Car Show, Beer Garden, street dance and Saturday parade as well as numerous displays and vendors on Saturday at Willow Creek Park.  City offices will be closed Monday, May 31st in honor of Memorial Day.

Kayak Rentals in Progress

The framework for the kayak and paddleboard rental building at North Gateway Park has been constructed.  Kil said it’s about 60% complete at this time to include a roof and a boat launch area is also under construction.  The city has reached a lease agreement with Aquaholics for the rentals. The lease agreement is for $200 per month to the city minus any percentage of sales.  The one-year agreement is set to begin June 1, 2021, but can be pushed back one month if the building is not in operation by that time.  Kil said the shop plans to sell soft drinks, snacks and bait and should be open for business by June 1st.

Floating Dock at North Gateway Park

Elegant Concrete, LLC, was the low bidder of three submitted to the city to construct a handicap ramp, sidewalks, parking lot and curb and pan at North Gateway Park.  Fourteen contractors were sent requests for proposal for a project that would provide additional access to the floating dock and restrooms at the pond.  The selected bid was $81,145.

Various city employees, department heads and council members will attend Public Employment Best Practices classes conducted by CIRSA, the city’s risk management group this June.  The training will focus on customer service and proper delivery of services to local residents.

Troy Manor Motel

The asbestos has been removed from the Troy Motel on South Main Street.  All that remains is the basic framework.  A demolition notification application form has been submitted to the state health department for the needed permit for the city’s public works department which will level the site.  The state’s Energy Impact Assistance Fund committee recommended the city’s water and sewer master plan grant application be approved.  The amount, $71,818, represents half of the project cost.

The council decided to adjust by resolution, background-check policies for minors, those under 18, who may apply to work for the city.  Due to their minor status, applicants are not legally able to provide consent for some of the questions normally asked of adult applicants such as credit histories or criminal backgrounds.  These employees are serving basically as lifeguards at the municipal pool on a seasonal basis.  The new resolution will be introduced during the next council meeting.

The council set May 24th as a public hearing date for a new hotel/restaurant liquor license for Palace Tavern, doing business at Tavern 1301.  The council also approved the extension of the Economic Development Incentive Agreement with Cobblestone Development, LLC for the construction of a Cobblestone Hotel on North Main Street in Lamar.  That construction is based on the formal agreement for the incentive package from the city, estimated at $249,260.

In a follow-up to the take-over of operations at the Southeast Colorado Regional Airport, the council approved a CDOT CDAG grant agreement.  The CDOT Division of Aeronautics awarded the airport a $25,000 grant to be used as funding for self-service fueling at the airport.  The city is responsible for a cash match of $2,778.  The council tabled an assignment agreement with Lamar Flying Service to assume its fuel purchase agreement with Phillips 66 and the lease purchase of the Jet Truck (refueler).  All rights are expected to be transferred from LFS to the City of Lamar.

The council joined with other local and state organizations by passing a resolution opposing Ballot Initiative 16 (PAUSE).  The resolution claims the ballot’s passage will harm the state’s livestock industry and add to needless animal suffering.  Opponents claim the initiative would criminalize common, long-standing and necessary veterinary rand ranching practices of breeding and caring for animals.  The council directed a copy of their adopted resolution be sent to Governor Polis, who is also against the bill, and to the Secretary of State.

The council was unanimous in its agreement with its resolution to be sent to the Governor, State Senate and House of Representatives, voicing its opposition to SB-21-062, regarding jail population management tools concerning measures to reduce jail populations.  The resolution states that by removing the ability of law enforcement to arrest individuals who commit crimes, sends the wrong message to the individuals who commit those crimes.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarFeaturedHealthLaw EnforcementPolice ReportPublic SafetyRecreationTourismUtilities


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