Urban Renewal Tax Funds Allocated to Cow Palace Inn Sewer Repairs

The Lamar Redevelopment Authority Board approved a funding request from the new owners of the Cow Palace Inn. The interior and exterior sewer lines at the motel need replacing before the motel’s comprehensive re-opening can be completed. The owners, Palace Holdings, LLC, can fund the interior project, but have requested that the cost of connecting the exterior line to the City’s sewer main line be funded by the Redevelopment Authority. The estimated cost for materials is $21,577 and labor and equipment is $13,430. Under the agreement, the city will pay up to $35,500 for the construction and the Cow Palace Inn will pay for the balance. City Treasurer Linda Rohlman said there are sufficient (TIF) Tax Increment Funding dollars on the books at $31,000, which is sufficient at this time to approve the resolution. The vote was unanimous, with board member Jim Larrick abstaining due to a conflict of interest. At their last session, the Lamar City Council set a date of October 24 for a public hearing on the Cow Palace Inn’s liquor license application.

The Lamar Utilities Board membership is now at full strength with Monday night’s approval of Ron Cook to the Board by the City Council. Cook, a former city councilmember, is replacing Bob Schemahorn for a five year term. Schemahorn, who had been board chairman, continued to serve in that capacity when his office membership expired this past August. Cook will serve on the utility board until August 1, 2016.

Mayor Roger Stagner signed a proclamation designating October as Domestic Violence Awareness month. Doris Hughes, executive director of the regional Domestic Violence Agency and Debra Reynolds, Lamar Librarian, explained their goals and accomplishments in the local area. They were accompanied by Zonta members Karen Ketcham and Sue Sutphin, as well as Lisa Mendenhall from Domestic Safety.

The council approved a contract amendment for Department of Local Affairs for $10,000 executed last year. The amendment extends the one year contract to complete the historic design for the restoration of the Willow Creek Park Caretaker’s House. The total cost of the project is $40,800. The City’s cash match is $5,800 and would be available from the Conservation Trust Fund. Leisure Services Director, Rick Akers, told the council he would check into the possibilities. He mentioned the contract is simple housekeeping that safeguards the $10,000 grant for another year.

The council passed the 2012 City Budget on first reading. The Council also approved on first reading, an ordinance to set the mill levy for 2012 at 13.239 mills for each dollar of the total valuation of all taxable property in the city for 2011. This marks the 24th consecutive year the city has operated without a property tax mill levy increase. The city will collect $455,096 for 2012, an increase of 2.25% from $445,064 in 2011. Treasurer Rohlman said there would be some anticipated changes to the budget, but that will depend on developments from this week’s Wednesday night meeting between the council and Prowers County Commissioners. Each group will discuss areas of common budget concerns. It’s expected that joint meeting will be held in executive session, according to Mayor Roger Stagner.

Under miscellaneous items, councilwoman Beverly Haggard asked in general, if the stage at the Enchanted Forest could be replaced by a portable unit. She said the current stage is old and in need of repairs and not the best place to showcase local talent when it performs for various social events, such as the recent Oktoberfest. The property and the stage belong to the city, and she felt, that if there was sufficient funding available, a portable unit could be purchased.  Mayor Roger Stagner thanked the volunteers who turned out for the city wide, Saturday clean-up day.  He offered special thanks to the Lamar Community College softball team who, he said, have never missed volunteering for any of the clean up days over the past four years.

Municipal energy savings was discussed during the Lamar City Council work session Monday, October 10. Boone Birdsell, a representative of Energy Systems Group, a nationwide firm with offices in Denver, explained how the company will conduct municipal and private energy audits, contract to have the energy savings improvements installed, provide for project financing and guarantee that the City will realize savings on energy costs sufficient to pay for the improvements. He said that areas that qualify and are covered by his firm include: K-12, higher education, government, healthcare, water & wastewater, commercial & industrial projects. Birdsell said guidelines have been established by the Governor’s Energy Office. Mayor Stagner said the council will study the presentation and make a decision whether to pursue the potential agreement.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: BusinesscommunityEconomyEnergyFeaturedLamarPublic Safety


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