Mike Duffy to be Next City Council Member

Municipal Offices in Lamar


Long-time Lamar resident, Mike Duffy, will fill the council vacancy in Ward II, following the passing of Oscar Riley earlier this month.  Duffy, a resident of Lamar since 1980, will take his seat at the next council meeting on Monday, October 10th.  He received a four to two vote on the second round of balloting by the city council following its executive session at the September 26th meeting.

Action regarding adopting regulations for constructing tiny homes in Lamar was tabled by the council.  One new regulation was added to cover the construction of a ‘bungalow-style’ house which could range from between 401 to 1,000 square feet which offered some leeway to potential contractors.  It was reiterated that these homes would be permanently attached to a foundation and not moved at a future date.  Building Codes Inspector, Craig Brooks, explained that the state legislature is still working for an updated 2018 Appendix Q for the tiny home’s guidelines in the International Building Codes, as changes are expected.  “At this point, we’re not sure what the state legislature will do with this or when they may act,” he explained to the council, adding that to date, there has been only one person showing any interest in the city for homes of this size.

Strategic planning sessions by the council over the past two years, has broached the need for a new and larger police and fire public safety facility.  Cramped for space for the two departments to begin with, the pandemic only exacerbated the situation with the need for additional distance between persons due to medical needs.  Moving forward, the council approved hiring Galante Architecture Studio, Inc for the first phase of the project which will assess the basic needs of the departments and discussion with interested parties.  The council worked through a couple of amendments on the motion, basically a call for a member of the incomplete Public Safety Board to be in on the review talks.  That received no follow-through by the council and Gerry Jenkins, who made the proposal, asked that she be taken off the Board and another council person be appointed.  The first phase will cost $132,142.  The city has close to $2M derived from the settlement of a long-lived insurance policy for fire and ambulance which was earmarked for projects for those departments.  The city is currently paying rent on two, off-site locations for some of the police department staff.

A public hearing was set for October 24th for a special events permit request from Lamar Community College which needs permission from the city to serve beer and wine while the college hosts the Prowers Economic Prosperity membership social from 6pm to 9pm on October 25th at the student union.  Pastor Galen Burnett questioned the next-day timing from the public hearing to the day of the event, feeling the council might be arm-twisted into giving its approval due to the timing.  Councilwoman Anne-Marie Crampton explained the city was not at fault for the scheduling, but as the colleges past few events of this nature went through the County which did not require a hearing, they did not take the timing into consideration.

In other action, GN Bank in Lamar was awarded the financing agreement for the lease/purchase of an Elgin Broom Sweeper.  Their interest rate, 3.98%, was the lowest of the three submitted.  Five annual payments for the equipment, which was budgeted in 2022, will be $65,454.61.

Todd Horning was approved to a vacant seat on the city’s Adjustment and Appeals board, replacing former chairman, Chris Currell who resigned earlier this month.  The term expires in July, 2024.

The city renewed a memorandum of understanding with the Veterans Administration for law enforcement coverage on VA property within the city limits.  Chief Kyle Miller also received approval to apply for a grant of $18,500 from the Animal Assistance Foundation for funding for the Lamar Animal Shelter.  There is no match required for the grant which funds operations at the shelter as well as cover a portion of the manager’s salary.  Miller said he would contact CDOT regarding the road conditions at the intersection of Savage Avenue and Main Street.  The construction project has left that area where vehicles transition from one road onto another, very bumpy.

City Administrator, Rob Evans, noted the council will host an informal breakfast get-together for interested citizens at McDonalds on Wednesday, October 5th at 7am, the Lamar Library has scheduled its annual Trunk or Treat night for Friday, October 28th from 5pm to 7pm.  The Lamar Chamber of Commerce will host the annual Oktoberfest/beer garden this Saturday, October 1st and the 10th annual BBB race to support awareness of breast cancer will be held that morning.  Clean-up work is underway on the steam locomotive at the Chamber on East Beech Street.  Some power-wash cleaning and a temporary paint job will be applied to the aging engine.

By Russ Baldwin




Filed Under: Chamber of CommerceCity of LamarCollegeConsumer IssuesEconomyElectionsFeaturedLamar Chamber of CommerceLaw EnforcementPublic SafetyRecreationVA


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