Lamar Council Starts 2024 with Full Agenda, Bellomy Stepping Down

Municipal Offices in Lamar


The Lamar City Council got 2024 off to a start with a carry-over agenda for the January 8th session which was cancelled due to the blizzard that swept across southeast Colorado in the early days of this month.  The council continued the majority of that agenda to its January 22nd meeting as well as several new items.

City Administrator, Rob Evans, highlighted various events to include his Coffee with Rob informal meeting on January 31st at 7am at McDonalds.  Prowers Medical Center has a health fair scheduled for the 31st from 7am to 9am.  The Lamar Chamber of Commerce will hold it’s 102nd Annual Banquet at the Lamar Eagles Lodge on Monday, January 29th at 6pm and the banquet and awards presentation will begin at 7pm.  A history of Green’s Jewelry/Oscar Noble in Lamar will be presented at the Big Timbers Transportation Museum on February 1st at 7pm.  “We’ve opened up the parking lot just north of the Lamar Community Building,” he stated, adding that there is now a gravel surface which will accommodate closer parking to the building for future events.  Both Evans and Mayor Kirk Crespin responded to concerns for the welfare of the city’s homeless population, especially during the bitter freeze that began the year.  “We don’t have the housing facilities for transient persons anymore,” said Crespin, “but the generosity of various institutions and individuals in Lamar helped accommodate their needs during that cold spell.”

Melonee Marcom, Lamar Chamber President, said the chamber has several events planned for early 2024 including the observance of Cinco de Mayo in Lamar, a new element that used to be celebrated in Lamar.  “We’re planning on hosting the event in the Enchanted Forest and we’ll keep the council and community updated on developments,” she explained. Marcom invited the council as well as the community-at-large to attend the annual chamber banquet on the 29th.  Future events include the annual Lamar Day celebration, another glo-golf tournament and Oktoberfest.  “That past event had a tremendous turnout and we intend to work to have that sized crowd and vendors for next year.”

City Treasurer, Kristin Schwartz, provided several close out reports for grant funded projects for the city including $34,511 for improvements to the downtown Pocket Park and bike repair stations along the Lamar Loop.  Electric heating elements were installed in the Pocket Park as a proposed gas fire pit would not be feasible as a needed feed line would not be possible, given the current infrastructure.  Additional customized lighting was installed along the Park’s walls.  A CDOT design study for reconstruction of Taxiway A at the Southeastern Colorado Regional Airport was financed in a $350,000 grant.  Taxiway A, due to aging, has become a safety concern for aircraft due to numerous cracks allowing vegetation to sprout.  The design project will allow Lamar to become eligible for future funding for concrete and asphalt reconstruction in which Taxiways A 1 and A3 will be demolished and rebuilt as they currently do not meet FAA requirements.  The existing runup apron/holding bay for A3 will also be demolished and regraded.  Another airport grant for $200,000 will be for pavement maintenance for the Crosswind Runway 8/26 which is close to the end of its useful life.  The runway has received temporary repairs and the funding will go towards continued maintenance and repairs.  Each grant required a 10% match from the city.  Schwartz said the city received $8 million in various grants in 2023 and she will begin to provide quarterly updates on how current funding is being used.

A public hearing for a new lodging and entertainment liquor license for LaMar, Inc, formerly Lamar Theater, will be held on Monday, February 12th.  Tim Courkamp was re-appointed to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a five-year term expiring on February 1, 2029.  An ordinance was approved on first reading for the city’s annexation of a plat known as Misty Hills Estates at 3103 Memorial Drive.  The property is bordered on two sides with R-1 zoning and the third with R-2 and per the ordinance would be switched to R-1.  The house is being built by Lamar Community College’s construction trade students.

The council took action on several other agenda items including approval a $19,500 grant from the Animal Assistance Foundation for the Lamar Animal Shelter.  The annual grant will offset expenses for operation of the shelter including manager’s salary.  The council approved the animal shelter manager to apply for a grant of $11,000 to Colorado Pet Over-Population to cover some expenses associated with spaying and neutering all dogs prior to the animal being transferred or adopted.  The breakdown is $8,000 for spaying and neutering, $2,000 for veterinary care and $1,000 for microchipping.

A service agreement with Clifton LarsenAllen, LLP was approved for providing the city with its annual 1095s and 1094 reports to the IRS.  Annual bids for the purchase of asphalt, concrete and road base material were opened and will be issued to local companies through a selective item award procedure.  One bid was received from All Rite Paving and Redi Mix for aggregate materials and snow removal.  The board will consider a late proposal from Brannan Aggregates for road base materials.  Treasurer Schwartz told the council there is no conflict of interests between either business and Public Works Director, Pat Mason, said the city could realize substantial savings on a lesser price for road base.

The contract for the production of T-Shirts/shirts/hats used by various Leagues and programs within the City of Lamar was awarded to low bidder, Printed Imagination.  The city approved an agreement for reimbursement of education and training for the Lamar Police Department.  The agreement ensures individuals who attend the academy when paid for by the city, will remain employed for a minimum of two years.  Any lesser time of employment will be reimbursed to the city at a prorated amount.  Chief Miller told the council the department now has a candidate who enrolled in the school and will join the department following his graduation this July.  Some two dozen persons and locations have been designated places for posting notices of public meetings of the Lamar City Council.

A letter of support was approved for Longhorn Extension.  As outlined by Anne-Marie Crampton, Lamar Community Development Director, there is a concern the state Public Utilities Commission may not approve the Longhorn Extension which would tie power lines into existing substations, May Valley and Longhorn, a portion of a plan developed by Excel Energy and its Colorado Power Pathway Plan in an attempt to eliminate a transmission line bottleneck.  This segment has been deemed critical for providing needed power for Baca and Prowers Counties for future economic growth.  The Longhorn line would also provide voltage support and stability to the Southeast Colorado Grid, especially during the summer season.

Ward lll Councilman, Mike Bellomy, announced he is stepping down from the council as he is taking future employment with the City of Lamar and as such, cannot serve on the council.  Mayor Crespin thanked Bellomy for his service and said the city will begin to advertise the open position and host candidates for his replacement.

The council went into executive session for matters of evaluation of City Administrator, City Clerk and City Treasurer.
By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: Chamber of CommerceCity of LamarEconomyFeaturedLaw Enforcement


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