City Receives Fire Insurance Rating Upgrade, Tables Talk on Tiny Homes

Municipal Offices in Lamar



Lamar Fire Chief, Jeremy Burkhart, provided an ISO, Insurance Services Office, insurance rating update for the City of Lamar during the September 12th council meeting.  Burkhart explained the new Public Protection Classification as of December 1st of this year will be 02/2X, based on an analysis of the structural fire suppression delivery system for the city.  An ISO rating is based on various factors pertaining to fire fighting ability in a community and has a bearing on rates paid for by insurance customers.

The chief said that a portion of the study determined that the fire station, Lamar FS 3 is not recognized and therefore did not meet the minimum requirements for recognition.  However, the department overall, rated very high, “Out of thousands of communities in the nation, we’ve been recognized as being in the top 4% for our overall fire suppression response,” he told the council.  Burkhart said that in 2015, the city improved from a 5 to a 3 rating and is now rated at ISO level 2.

The council continues to discuss Tiny Home regulations in various past meetings.  The council has now decided to hold off on putting regulations into effect until next year when the state will have enacted specific guidelines for construction.   Based on Appendix Q, now in development from the state legislature, several recommendations have been made which will apply to Lamar’s needs.  These include a 400 square foot minimum for the building with one room at least 120 square feet, water and sewer services must be tied to the city and electric connected to city light and power, all utilities must be connected prior to occupancy, the houses will be zoned for a mobile home zone only, no wheels on the tiny home and it must be mounted on a permanent foundation.  At issue, according to Mark Westhoff, who addressed the council on behalf of his tiny home construction firm, is the size limitations to the houses.  His company cannot build over 400 square feet, while Lamar’s standards call for up to 1,000 square feet for housing construction.  The council will continue to investigate the parameters but will not act until the state legislation has completed its findings.

The City of Lamar tabled discussion for developing the best means of marketing itself while recommending that Martha Alvarez, the city’s Marketing and Communications Director, work towards adopting a branding policy.  Lamar plans to take steps to identify a brand that will best define the city’s identity, that which can set Lamar apart from other communities.  However, following an earlier work session, the council decided additional discussion will provide more focus on how to determine that future brand. The council also tabled development to revise and adopt a new social media policy using a disclaimer page that sets standards for user behavior and allows the city to take action against disruptive users.  Some concerns have been brought light regarding obscene comments, libelous or defamatory comments, specific or imminent threats or those that incite illegal activity.  City Attorney, Lance Clark, said he will review the social media policy for state compliance guidelines as well as consulting with the Colorado Municipal League for additional information.

The City of Pueblo airport is donating a Crafco Crack Fill machine to the Southeast Colorado Regional Airport to be used for pavement maintenance.  Lamar was notified of the donation by CDOT Aeronautics which originally purchased the equipment.  The council approved the donation by way of an agreement for release and waiver of claims.

The council ratified an earlier phone poll to approve the annual application for funding by the Colorado Department of Health and Environment for $10,000 for the county’s emergency medical services which will be used to supplement payment for the medical director and recruitment and retention items for volunteers.

Following a public hearing for a special event liquor permit for the Lamar Chamber of Commerce, the council unanimously approved the chamber’s request to host a beer garden on October 1st, during its annual Oktoberfest on East Beech Street.

Judy Arnold and Dewey Norfleet were re-appointed to the Lamar Tree Board for three-year terms and Joyce Reedy was appointed to a three-year term and Nancy Idler was appointed to a two-year term.  Gene Cruikshank will replace Robert Nickelson on the Water Advisory Board for a five-year term.  Earl Hawkins was re-appointed to the Variance Board/Building Codes for a five-year term.

The council accepted the Worker’s Compensation Preliminary Contribution quote from the city’s risk insurance carrier, CIRSA.  The quote for 2023 is $173,996, compared to the 2022 quote of $183,952.  The coverage for Property and Casualty quote was also accepted with 2023 at $581,998 compared to $536,990 for 2022.

The council approved a motion to ratify approval of Resolution 22-09-01, to participate in the 2022 General Election on November 8th of this year.

Former city councilman, Oscar Riley, served his community on the council for ten years, from March 2012 up until his recent passing last week.  Lamar Mayor Crespin, presented his widow, LaRoyce Riley and family members with his councilman’s nameplate, his official councilman photograph and a plaque of appreciation for his service.

The environment study for the proposed Arby’s restaurant in Lamar will take two more months as the RB Colorado LLC corporation asked for and received an extension through a second amendment to purchase the property at 1002 North Main Street.  Lamar Mayor, Kirk Crespin, reiterated that the project is still on course and the 60-day extension will allow the environment assessment to complete its study.

Crespin and City Administrator, Rob Evans, noted that the city has been in discussion with the owner of the Lamar Inn, severely damaged by a windstorm last year and has been closed ever since.  “We’re working on a first phase environmental impact study over concerns for asbestos content in the structure,” he noted, adding that the city is limited in any action it can take in the matter as the Inn is private property.

The council moved into executive session to discuss personnel matters under CRS 24-06-402(4)(f) of city council vacancy.
By Russ Baldwin

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