Lamar to Receive Funding from COVID-19 Stimulus Package, Discusses Marijuana Ordinance



The Lamar City Council, under the Consent Agenda, passed on second reading, the modified Ordinance No. 1245 establishing an Advisory Board of Public Safety for the City of Lamar during its June 14th meeting.  The council is expected to set in motion the requirements for assembling the future board membership.

City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea, provided an update on the funding the city will receive through the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021 or COVID-19 Stimulus Package.  Various cities throughout the state will receive federal funding based on population.  Lamar, listed as a community under 50,000, is slated to receive a total of $1,924,082 in two equal payments.  McCrea explained, “The payments will come to us in 2021 and in 2022 and I suggest they be put into a special line in the city’s budget and not under a General Fund classification until we have an idea of how we will use the money.”

City Clerk, Linda Williams, was directed to inform the Prowers County Clerk and Recorder of the city’s intention to participate in a coordinated election set for November 2, 2021.  The city will have five vacancies on the council with one in Ward 1, one in Ward 2, two in Ward 3 and the mayor seat will also be vacant.  The City of Lamar, she said, may introduce one or two questions regarding Tabor limitations on the ballot as well.

Those council persons affected are Manuel Tamez in Ward 1, who, if he decided to run for re-election, will be up for a four-year term ending in 2025.  Oscar Riley is up for re-election in Ward 2, also with a four-year term, as well as both representatives from Ward 3, Rafael Rodriguez for four years and Joe Gonzales for a two-year term.  Mayor Kirk Crespin’s term of office is two years.  Any council person wishing to run for re-election may begin the petition process between August 2nd-23rd and write-in candidates will have until 4pm on August 25th to file an affidavit with their intent to run for election.

One item that may appear before the November voters is a question to allow retail marijuana dispensaries within city limits.  The council discussed a petition initiated by a private concern, SOCO out of Pueblo, to initiate a ballot question.  Clerk Williams said the group has provided her with the necessary signatures on their petition.  “They needed at least 5% of registered voters from the 2020 November election, which is about 225 signatures.  I received and confirmed all of them, so they can move forward if they want.”  She said the next step is for the council to develop an ordinance pertaining to the ballot question for a first reading at the July 12th council meeting.  Mayor Kirk Crespin said he has reviewed the city’s initial ordinance from 2010 regarding marijuana use in the city and proposed a committee to review it and contact local communities who have legalized its recreational use for an overview of how it’s working for them.

When we get rain, we get weeds in southeast Colorado and the Lamar Code Enforcement Officers have been busy enforcing the guidelines and rules which must be followed to ensure property owners have been notified of any violations prior to the issuing of citations or conducting a city clean-up of a property in violation.

Police Chief, Kyle Miller, explained the process for the council, stating an in-person notice is conducted if a property owner can be initially contacted about a concern and if not, a message is left on the door handle advising they have 14 days to correct the problem before any municipal action is taken.  “Usually, it’s weeds or junk left laying in a yard,” Miller explained, adding, “Our two Code Enforcement Officers are about the busiest people working for the city, turning in around 20 citations each day.”  Miller said the city has a better compliance rate than we did about seven years ago, due to having code enforcement take care of the daily patrols rather than the city building inspector under earlier procedures.  Miller said since January of 2019, each code enforcement officer has written just over 5,000 events per person, “Of those, about half were just for weed height problems alone.”

The contract for custodial services at the Lamar Welcome Center was awarded to Daniel Neuhold who submitted the only bid for the position.  His bid was $675 a month which is the same as the last four years he has provided these services out of the past ten he has been working in this capacity.

Ground Engineering Proposal had its service agreement with the city approved for $24,795.  The firm will conduct materials testing and special inspection services for the Main Street Waterline Project.  Patrick Mason, Public Works Director, said the waterline installation should be completed by the end of September and at that point, CDOT will begin the concrete overlay project, replacing the asphalt covering on the highway.

Expect some improvements at Escondido Park in Lamar in the future.  The soccer acreage off North 14th Street will be developed into two playing fields with a sprinkler system and sod at a cost of $535,117.  Funding comes from Greater Outdoors Colorado, Lamar Community College and the Conservation Trust Fund.  Timberline Landscaping will provide the construction.  An estimated 335,400 square feet of sod will be used.  Councilperson, Anne Marie Crampton, emphasized that although the college has been heavily involved in these developments and will make use of the fields, the new development is a public facility and not college-owned or controlled.

Craig Brooks, Lamar Chief Building Inspector and City Treasurer Kristin McCrea were given approval to apply on behalf of the city for a $100,000 CDOT Revitalizing Main Streets/Small Multimodal and Economic Resiliency Grant for continued improvements to the east side of the city.  This area will be updated to match Americans with Disabilities Act requirements to allow access from Lamar Community College to the Pizza Hut parking lot on the eastern sides of North and South Main Streets.  The city will be required to provide a 10% match.  Another similar grant application was approved for $125,000 to be used to provide continuous ADA access from Savage Street north to Park Street.

The council tabled the new 2018 International Building Codes pending review of some of the recommendations in the new codes.  The ordinance would update the 2006 codes the city has been using since 2008.  It was determined that some provisions are now out of date with some modern building materials and methods and do not provide for either the quality of construction or the public safety that the adoption of the more modern codes would provide.  Building Inspector Brooks said that the city’s ISO insurance rating could be impacted by not adhering to all the guidelines, but at the same time, some may be prohibitive to follow and may need a review and adjustment by the council before they’re put into effect.

The council approved the contract with Central Security Communications for security service monitoring for the Lamar Library and the Lamar Senior Center.  The firm monitors the building’s fire, smoke and fire sprinkler systems.

July 12, 2021 was set as the date for a public hearing for the Sand and Sage Round-up to host an annual beer garden during the Sand and Sage Fair.  The garden would operate on August 7 and August 12-14.

The council moved to ratify Proclamation 21-03 of the council’s earlier approval in recognition of Joe Martinez, who led Lamar High School to state football titles in 1954 and 1955.  Martinez was inducted earlier this month into the Athletics Hall of Fame at CSU in Pueblo.

The council tabled Resolution 21-06-01, opposing Colorado Senate Bill 21-273 Pre-Trial Reform Concerning Measures to Increase Public Safety by Minimizing Custodial Responses to Low Level Offenses.  There was no action taken on the bill by the state legislature before it closed for the summer.  The council will wait to see if it is brought up again in the next legislative session to determine if it needs to be acted upon.

Jim Larrick was re-appointed to the Adjustment and Appeals Board for a five-year term expiring July 1, 2026.

An intergovernmental agreement between the city and Lamar Community College was approved for another three-year period at $16,500 per year.  The college uses city property for its athletic programs.

The council invited the public to attend the grand opening of the Lamar Airport, becoming the Southeast Colorado Regional Municipal Airport between 7-10am on Saturday, June 19th.  A new logo for the airport will be displayed.  Activities include a pancake breakfast, gifts and a scheduled fly-in.

By Russ Baldwin








Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesCOVID-19EconomyEnvironmentFeaturedHealthLaw EnforcementPublic SafetyRecreationUtilitiesYouth


About the Author: