City Council has 2024 Budget and Land Develop Interests on Meeting Agenda

Municipal Offices in Lamar



Several financial concerns were addressed during the Lamar City Council’s October 9th meeting this past Monday.

The council held a public hearing for the proposed City of Lamar 2024 budget to outline expected revenues to the city and how the funds will be spent through the new year.  Following the hearing, the council passed, on first reading, the 2024 budget as well as the ordinance to levy and collect taxes in the City of Lamar for fiscal year, 2024.  The mill level is set at 13.239 mills for each dollar of the total valuation for assessment of all taxable property with the City of Lamar for 2023.  That percentage will generate $497,043 for 2024, an increase of 3% from $484,430 set last year.  This marks the 36th consecutive year the city has not had a property tax mill levy increase.

Houssin Hourieh, Lamar Light Plant Superintendent, reviewed the 2024 proposed budget before the council.  Hourieh’s appearance was information-based only, as the council does not take action on the Light Plant’s annual budget.

City Administrator, Rob Evans, will host his weekly Coffee with Rob gatherings on Wednesday, October 18 and the 25th at 7am at TA Express, North Main, Lamar.  Crossroads HORIZON, Lamar’s Comprehensive Development Plan from Ayers Associates was discussed.  Several community meetings have been held seeking resident’s input on projects beneficial to the economic and social well-being and improvements to the community.  Evans noted the Lamar Chamber’s Moonlight Madness event is set for Thursday, October 26th, beginning at 5pm.

Beverly Haggard, Lamar’s representative to Ports to Plains, provided a summary of the organization’s conference last month, held in Eagle Pass, Texas.  She stressed the need for highways in southeastern Colorado to be designated as at least, “a future interstate” by the state in order to become available for construction funding.  “There are three main southern ports that are under expansion, Eagle Pass, Texas, Laredo, Texas and Del Rio, Texas and that means there will be an increase in truck traffic to the north.   We can realize a lot of economic improvements to this area, but only if our highways will be suitable for the additional traffic,” she explained to the council.

Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, will apply for the annual VALE, Victim’s Assistance and Law Enforcement Grant for 2024.  Last year, the organization received $16,660 and is asking for $20,340 for the new year.  Funds are used to provide “Victim Rights Act” notification to crime victims.

The council approved a contract with Purple Wave, a business which provides an online auction through which the city may bid for materials and various pieces of equipment at a reduced price and/or post its own equipment for auction as is the case in this contract.  The auction site will remain open until October 31st, 2023.  There is no cost to the city for any of the services, according to City Treasurer, Kristin Schwartz.

The 2024 annual contract with Lower Arkansas Valley Area Agency on Aging was approved.  The grant application assists in operating the Lamar Community Resource and Senior Center.  The city was awarded a $25,589 grant which requires a 10% match of $2,844.  This covers operations for the fiscal year running from July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024.  Approval is contingent on a review by City Attorney, Lance Clark.

An opportunity for new housing in Lamar can take a step forward as Peter Page has offered to trade approximately 24 acres of city-owned land west of South 14th Street in consideration for a 10-acre plot of highway frontage south of the NBC Storage/SECPA buildings.  The trade agreement would carry a commitment of beginning a housing development within a ten-year period.  At least five newly built homes on the southern half of the property are expected by the city.  The city would like to see either housing and/or a tax revenue generating business on the frontage property.  To date, much of any business or housing developments have occurred in the northern portions of Lamar.  As this was the first draft to be reviewed by the council, the matter has been tabled until future consideration.

A one-year contract between Lamar and Prowers County was approved, spelling out the financial details and services to be provided by the city’s Ambulance and Emergency Medical Service.  The agreement states that those services will be extended into those areas of Prowers County not served by the Holly Fire and Ambulance District.  The agreement is intended to collect data on emergency needs and costs to help determine a future course of action between the city and the county.  The $145,000 agreement will be paid out to the city in four equal payments in January, April, July and October of $36,250.

The development of an Arby’s fast-food restaurant took one small step forward with the approval of an amendment for a plan review of the project, allowing LV Petroleum (TA Express in Lamar) to restart the project as the new owner.  KB WHTM and LV Petroleum plan to synchronize the start of the project to occur after the approved plans have been returned.  This aids the original timeline for the project’s completion to align with the original estimates and eliminate an extension should there be a delay in the plan review.  Essentially, the agreement states the two-year construction project will begin once the building permit has been issued.

An ordinance was approved on first reading which will accept and dedicate real property as an alley, a 20 foot strip of land running between 1710 and 1708 South 9th Streets.  The 1710 Street property was sold intact, however, former owner, Elsie Dunn purchased the strip which has been used as an alley for many years and will donate it to the city.  The council approved the action and signed the quit claim deed last month.  Another ordinance allowed the city to accept a property donation which will allow two separate streets to be connected.  Sword Street was established during the construction of Scooter’s Coffee Shop between the Cobblestone Inn and the Cow Palace Inn.  Sword runs east from Highway 287 to the west, ending just to the north of 5th Street.  TJ Sanders owns the property needed to connect the two streets and has agreed to donate that land to the city for possible future development to the west and to the south.
By Russ Baldwin


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