Council Okays MOU for Regional Housing Project

 

 

The Lamar City Council, during its Monday, July 26th meeting, approved a Memorandum of Understanding to opt in to the Southeastern Colorado Workforce Housing project by a split vote with one dissent. The MOU is not binding on the city which can decide later to remove itself from the project which intends to construct at least 70 new houses and duplexes among the six counties in southeast Colorado served by SCEDD and SECED. Brent Frazee explained that the cost to Lamar would run between $67,000 and $80,000 for up to seven houses which would be built and sold to essential employees in an effort to stimulate commercial housing construction. The city can also choose as few as two units for construction and still remain in the program. The city’s share of funding would amount to 4% of the money received from the American Recovery Plan enacted to counter economic shortfalls brought about by the pandemic in a given community. Frazee explained the city would be reimbursed for costs, essentially the TAP fees associated with developing a property on city-donated land.

A new City of Lamar seal was highlighted for the council which was created by the city’s communication director, Martha Alvarez. She said the seal represents a blend of modern and traditional and is intended to showcase pertinent aspects of life in Lamar: wildlife, energy, transportation and agriculture. The last logo was updated in 2016.

Lamar Librarian, Susan Lathrop recommended this this year’s grant from the State of Colorado, $5,995, be applied to resources that promote literacy in our community. Historically, the funding has been used for databases and books. The funding request, about $1,000 more than last year, was approved. Another small windfall from the American Rescue Plan Act and Colorado State Library, was approved by the council, estimated at $6,054. Lathrop said the funds will purchase equipment to develop a logging studio for public to communicate with each other during health or other emergencies. Unused funds will go to improvements of the library’s digital resources.

The council tabled a decision on altering the current city employee salary plan by resolution, pending any future recommendations made by Public Sector Personnel Consultants from their original estimates in 2016. An update on the overall salary scale is conducted every three to five years. Human Services Director, Margaret Saldana explained that job titles and descriptions had been changed over the past several years in relation to the actual tasks and duties involved.

Pat Mason, City Public Works Director, informed the council the FAA approved the city’s grant application for reconstruction of Taxiway A at the city’s Southeast Colorado Regional Airport. The grant is for $1,774,485. Because of Federal Coronavirus funding, the city will not have to provide a match for a savings of $70,000. The council approved the grant, pending city attorney review. Mason added that two bids were opened for the project on June 16th and IHC Scott Inc. submitted the winning bid of $1,576,443.04. The project will include reconstruction of a portion of the Taxiway A in concrete. The Jviation engineering estimate was $988,612.50. A contract amendment for the costs associated with the design and engineering of the project was also approved for $226,994.58, pending city attorney review.

The council also approved a resolution to maintain the current fee of $50 per day at the Regional Airport to unload freight from Key Lime Aircraft, the UPS hauler which serves the Lamar area. Mason and airport manager, Eric McSwan, explained that it usually takes about an hour for the task and the airport receives around 1,200 to 1,500 pounds of freight per day. Mason suggested that the council consider altering the rate to $50 per hour and that proposal will be discussed at the start of 2022.

A request from Mario and Evangelina Ramirez for extra-territorial water service was approved by the council for their single-family resident on CR HH. The property lies outside the city limits and water service to them requires approval by the city council. Their water meter will be installed on an existing city water line in their vicinity.

Mayor Kirk Crespin reminded the gathering of the Meet and Greet event set for Friday, July 30, at the Cultural Events Center for the four City Administrator candidates, beginning at 5:30pm.

The Scooter’s Coffee Shop on North Main Street, now almost complete, has set Monday, August 9th for a ‘soft’ opening which will give new employees sufficient experience prior to the grand opening which has yet to be announced.

The First Annual Corporate Cup sports competition among volunteer teams being held August 5th through the 7th at North Gateway Park and the ballfields. The Friends of the Lamar Library monthly book sale will be held from 9am to 1pm on Friday and Saturday, August 6th and 7th.

Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, informed the council, the department received $5,625 in POST grant funding from the original $8,349 requested. The funds are used to purchase training funds for officers.

The council approved an exclusive ‘right-to-sell’ contract with Cruikshank Realty in Lamar for the Troy Manor Motel property at 1101 South Main Street. The exclusive contract will remain in effect for four months. Gene Cruikshank transferred the property to the City of Lamar at fair market value which is set at $150,000.  Apparently, the motel sign can stay where it is under a grandfather clause. Mayor Crespin explained that if the sign should be taken down, CDOT officials will order any new signage to be moved farther away from South Main Street. It’s a wait-and-see situation pending the purchase of the property and the decision by a new owner.

The council, under the consent agenda, approved Ordinance # 1248 and #1249 on second reading pertaining to the authorization to sell medicinal and recreational marijuana within city limits and to add a new special sales tax and excise tax on marijuana sales and accessories. That issue will come before the voters on the November General Election ballot.

The council went into executive session to discuss a potential land lease and to discuss a land purchase which does not exceed $300,000.

By Russ Baldwin

 

 

 

 

 

 

Filed Under: City of LamarConsumer IssuesFeaturedHousingPolice ReportPoliticsPublic SafetyRecreationSchool

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