Proposed Marijuana Prohibition Ordinance Prompts Council Discussion



The Lamar City Council, on a split vote, passed an ordinance on first reading for a ballot question to go before voters for the November 8, 2022 general election regarding the prohibition and penalization of general sale of marijuana.  Lamar City Clerk, Linda Williams, said a statement of sufficiency was issued as five registered electors of the City of Lamar circulated 11 petitions and collected 414 signatures of which 386 were valid.  The required number was 233 which allows the ballot question to be brought before voters to amend the City Charter by adding Chapter XV for the prohibitions.  The ordinance covers marijuana establishments, cultivation, manufacturing or testing facilities, retail and/or wholesale marijuana stores and prohibit or penalize any person that has possession, uses, displays, purchases, transports, transfers, stores, warehouses, cultivates, sells or distributes marijuana or marijuana accessories to any other person of entity more than one ounce of marijuana to any other person under the age of 21.  Councilmembers Mike Bellomy and Oscar Riley cast ‘no’ votes.

The ordinance prompted discussion among council members regarding the ballot language and as to whether the council could vote against the establishment of the ordinance itself.  City Attorney, Lance Clark, explained that as this was not a referred measure, but the result of a petition process, the council was not endorsing the ordinance, but merely following protocol to place the ordinance before the voters in November.  The council will discuss the specific language used on the ballot at its next meeting as it needs to be forwarded to the Prowers County Clerk and Recorder for review by September 9th to make the election by November 8th.  A required second reading and passage of the ordinance is necessary for it to move forward.

The council approved a letter of support for Prowers County Dispatch which is applying for a $300,000 grant to replace its current radio system.  The Prowers County Emergency Telephone Authority Board requested the letter for the upgrade which will ensure first responders are able to receive and transmit information using a more reliable system.  The system is used by law enforcement, ambulance services and fire departments.  The 50% match will be paid for from Authority Board funds.

Thomas Sanchez, the city’s IT engineer, described the growing need for a bandwidth upgrade for the city’s computer system.  Sanchez told the council its internet speed hasn’t been upgraded in six years and in that time, additional services and hardware have been added to the list of services.  The upgrade, he said, will take the city from 100M/50M to 500M/500M.  He also recommended upgrades to the library and the Cultural Events Center internet system.  The cost for the city and library upgrades will increase by $10 a month to $169.95 and the cost for the Cultural Events Center will increase from $54.95 to $64.95 per month. The overall impact on the 2023 budget will be a $360 increase.  The council approved the action.

Lamar Parks and Rec Director, Rick Akers, presented an updated extension contract between the city and the Lamar Booster Club for the concession stand at the Lamar Community Building.  He said the city will receive 8% of the net income for the 2022-2023 year which was approved by the council.

Lamar Fire Chief, Jeremy Burkhart explained to the council, HB 22-1194 allocated $5M to distribute firefighter PPE, personal protective equipment to fire agencies throughout the state.  Due to a brief application window and issues with the internet portal not allowing timely access, the council voted through a phone poll to apply for 12 sets of bunker gear to replace the paid staff’s current equipment.  The gear that is still usable will be re-issued to other volunteers.  Burkhart also outlined plans to rebuild one working sewage pump from two failed units and use it as a backup.  However, the department needs to rent a pump to help with any potential flooding until two new pumps are delivered.  This expense is $33,418 for two months rental and shipping.  The council approved and ratified the phone poll.

A contract extension request from Maggart and Sons for painting hallways and stairwells at the Lamar Municipal Complex was approved by council.  Health issues have prevented the contractors from meeting the initial deadline.  The new, 120 day agreement will cover the contract up to December 25, 2022.

The council approved the re-appointment of Roger Stagner to the Lamar Utility Board for a five-year term expiring in August 2027 and the re-appointments of RoseAnn Yates and Debbie Vigue to the VALE board for three year terms ending in 2025.

Due to changes in the aviation/aerospace industry, various factors have contributed to increases in insurance costs.  This is reflected in the CIRSA-Chubb ACE renewal quote for the 2022-2025 airport liability renewals.  The cost for the three-year contract is $18,885.

The city is applying for an EIAF Grant from the Department of Local Affairs to cover the costs for a new, City of Lamar Comprehensive Plan.  The current plan will expire at the end of 2023.  The Plan covers a multitude of factors regarding improvement of infrastructure equipment, the three-mile municipal boundary, water supply, quality and distribution, land use and water demand, health and environmental resources, water-based recreation, intergovernmental agreements with neighboring municipalities and land use code updates.  The current plan was updated 20 years ago, while it was generally agreed the new plan will allow for a ten year span before a review is warranted.  The City will touch bases with the Prowers County Commissioners on their new comprehensive plan for matters of mutual concerns.

A public hearing was set for September 12th for a special event permit for a beer garden for the Lamar Chamber of Commerce’s annual Oktoberfest, set for Saturday, October 1st on East Beech Street.

An agreement was approved to conduct a coordinated election with Prowers County, to allow the County Clerk and Recorder to act as the designated election official for the November 8, 2022 election.

The council approved a thirty-day and final Extension of Review period to the purchase agreement of the WHO property at 1002 North Main Street in Lamar.  The request is from RB Colorado LLC and the extension will expire on Monday, September 12, 2022.  This is the property for the proposed Arby’s fast-food chain restaurant.

The council went into executive session for discussion of personnel matters under C.R.S. section 24-6-402(4)(f) for personnel policy questions.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: City of LamarElectionsFeatured


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