City Council approves proposed 2024 budget, votes to approve resolution opposing Proposition HH


During the Oct 23 City Council meeting, several items were approved, including the 2024 City of Lamar Budget at its second reading.  Also approved unanimously on second reading by Council were Ordinances 1264, 1265, 1266 and 1267.

Kristin Schwartz presented the Treasurer’s Report which included the write-off of 2022 unpaid debts for utility accounts for 2022, which Lamar Light and Power approved on Oct. 10.

Linda Williams gave the City Clerk’s Report in which she spoke of the many grants that are still in the works, including grants for sidewalk improvement, the animal shelter, archery range, etc.   Total value of all grants currently applied for is $5,789.

Rob Evans presented the City Administrator’s Report.  He mentioned that the next “Coffee with Rob” will be Wednesday the 25th at TA Express on N. Main, reminded Council of the “Moonlight Madness” event on October 26 from 5-8 pm, which includes a scavenger hunt at local merchants; the Lamar Library’s “Trunk or Treat” event at the Lamar Library on October 27 from 5-7 pm and the Lamar Library Holiday Food Drive running from November 1 through Dec. 20.  All items collected in the food drive will be donated to Sparrow House Ministries.    He reminded Council that City offices will be closed November 23 and 24 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Council Correspondence and Reports speakers and topics:  Joe Gonzales spoke of the property at 8th and Cedar concerning the classification of a home there.  Council is undecided if it is considered a mobile home or a manufactured home and voted to further discuss this at a work session at next Council Meeting.  Gerry Jenkins told Council that the Ladies Auxiliary for the Fire Department is having its second annual “Spook Sprint” Oct. 28 at Thunder Stadium, with registration at 6 pm with the race beginning at 7 pm.  For more info on the event, contact Amanda at 719-691-1687.   Brent Bates told Council of a recent presentation by Jake Specht, a Construction Trades instructor at LCC regarding the Colorado Partnership for Education and Rural Revitalization, a program that teaches youth and the community the “ins and outs of renovation and building.”  Classes are available through LCC for this to the public.  Per Brent, “Jake is a bright young man and it’s really nice to see another young face in the community doing well.”   He also wanted to mention that Lamar Partnership Inc (LPI) is participating in the Moonlight Madness event from 5:30 to 8 pm in front of Daylight Donuts, giving out popcorn donated by Main Street Shoppe.  Members will be available to answer questions for the community about the work of LPI.    Mayor Kirk Crespin told Council that a retirement party for Brenda VanCampen was held on October 13.  Mayor Crespin said that “Brenda was a tremendous support for our City Administrator for 31 years” and that she will be greatly missed.

In New Business, Dr. Rosana Reyes from Lamar Community college addressed Council with updates from the past 8 months.  She said that enrollment at LCC has increased by 7% over last year and that 73% of staff at the College are new this school year, with staffing at 99%.   The LCC Career Job Fair Expo recently held on campus was attended by 40 industry partners and 200 high school students.  Dr. Reyes spoke of the Career Advance Colorado grant which strives to increase the work force in the nursing, teaching and welding fields.  The grant has provided $100,000 so far.  She was excited to invite the community to attend the Nov. 1 first basketball game at LCC, where a new mascot will be revealed after “decades” of not having a mascot.  Dr. Reyes stated that the college wanted a mascot to embrace the spirit of the Antelopes with “an athletic and muscular look.”  A contest was held for people to submit their ideas for a mascot.  The winner will receive a prize after the announcement at the game.   TA Express is sponsoring the mascot event, providing food to the first 100 participants, as well as giveaways and prizes.

Public hearings for new liquor licenses for Main Street Cinema Inc/dba Lamar Theatre as well as for UPOP Holdings LLD/dba JR’s Bottle Shop were scheduled for the next City Council meeting.  Other topics under New Business included a proposed sale of property at 1101 S. Main, site of the former Troy Hotel.  Melissa Bower with Edward Jones made a bid for $90,000 to build a new commercial building.  Council voted unanimously to allow Mayor Crespin to sign this agreement.    Council discussed Resolution 23-10-01, “A Resolution of the City of Lamar, Colorado Opposing Proposition HH, an Undue Limitation on Municipal Budgets and Local Control of Property Tax Relief”.  Council voted unanimously for the City to oppose Proposition HH.

Next City Council Meeting will be Monday, November 13, 2023 @ 7 pm.  Mayor Crespin addressed Council saying that it has been great to work with the City staff and that there has been a “rollercoaster of emotions” lately.  He mentioned the Arby’s restaurant project and how he has been pushing to get this project going because “I don’t know what’s going to happen with the election.  There may be a new mayor or a whole new Council, so we’ve been moving forward to look at all the projects we look to wrap up in the next few weeks”.   He addressed concerns that some citizens have expressed about the Arby’s project and its tax sharing agreement, explaining that Council and the Lamar Redevelopment Authority Board work together with incentives to try and attract new business to our community.  He stated that the City needs to look at return on investment for such projects and that “half of something is better than all of nothing”, particularly on a property he said had been sitting vacant for 20 years, not generating any income for the city.   He then quoted something said by one of the candidates at the recent forum who stated “It’s not just an incentive, it’s actually an investment for our community.”  Mayor Crespin said in closing that he wanted to take a moment to thank all the staff and said “I’ve really appreciated my time as mayor and hopefully I’ll be back here at the next meeting.”

By Barbara Crimond


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