Oscar Riley New Lamar Councilman, Buzzard Gets Renewed License

Oscar Riley was selected as a replacement Lamar City Councilman for PJ Wilson who resigned his position as he no longer resides within city limits. Wilson informed the council last month and Riley was one of three candidates who was interviewed by the council in executive session last Wednesday.

Steven Rabe has been selected by the city council as an interim City Administrator, replacing Bill Pfeilsticker who resigned his position on February 29. Rabbe hails from Canon City, and has connections to the region with family members formerly from Eads and Galatea. He began his duties at the March 12 city council meeting.

By a unanimous vote, the city council voted to approve a liquor license renewal for Jay Gruber, owner/manager of the Buzzard’s Roost in Lamar. Lamar Police Chief Gary McCrea said from now on, he will detail for the council, the number of responses his department makes to various liquor establishments and bars within the city limits in a year, to give them a better idea of the operation of the establishment. McCrea presented a fact sheet for the council showing the number of calls from the Buzzard’s Roost to the LPD had increased from 8 in 2010 to 19 from March 2011 to 2012, including a stabbing that occurred outside the Roost and another instance of a fight that went unreported and sent a person to the hospital for medical attention. Gruber and several staff members were also fined for failure to comply with a city ordinance mandating that such instances be reported to the police department. Gruber and McCrea addressed the council stating that Gruber will be more diligent in complying with the ordinances and will call for police aid. Ordinances will be placed in other drinking establishments to enforce the need to comply. McCrea said he was more concerned with the severity of the fights than with the number being reported, with the Roost outweighing other bars in town. Gruber said that when Opal’s closed last year, the nature of his usual crowd had altered. As an example, McCrea said Desiree’s, across the street from the Roost had 36 calls placed from March to March and Stockman’s had 5 in the same period. The Eagles Lodge had one and the Hott Spott had two during the past two years. Opal’s is in the county and does not report to the city police department.

The council voted to approve several property annexation requests, two from Dustin Langston for property he owns west of South 14th Street. The other annexation was approved for the Bosley-Strailey-Lauritsen properties almost opposite CR EE.5 off Memorial Drive. The other property transaction on the agenda was approved as well, for the acquisition of 25.91 acres of land adjoining the Lamar Municipal Airport, owned by Rex and Sharon Hiner. The purchase price is $13,000, plus a 40 year pasture lease on 120.29 acres East and South of the Airport Wildlife Barricade, now leased by the Idler family, which will be terminated. The Hiners will maintain a waterline easement for the family’s cattle.

Lamar Days will be held in May, and members of the Lamar Chamber of Commerce, organizers of the annual Wild West BBQ Contest and the Car Show had their requests approved for overnight parking at Willow Creek Park and waiver of a curfew allowing various staff to perform late night clean up. The council approved the Chamber’s request and waiver of the carnival license fee of $290 provided the carnival owners sign a city license. Last year, the license was not signed and the carnival did not pay any city sales tax on their revenues. The council also agreed to fund the annual Chamber Good Morning Lamar Breakfast on May 11 at the Lamar Elks Lodge, not to exceed $300.

The council approved a sub-lease agreement of 300 Lamar Canal shares to Nova Somina LLC, per acre foot delivered at a price of $45.01. Last year, that translated to 349 acre feet from the Canal. There were seven bids on the water for the 2012 irrigation season. The city has sub-leased the shares from the LUB for the past seven years and put them out to bid.

An intergovernmental agreement with Bent County was approved for the handling of funds through the Homeland Security Grant Program. Lamar Fire Chief Marshall Cook explained the funds are administered through Bent County. $16,000 will be used to purchase two self-contained breathing units as well as a combustible gas monitor. The council also approved $16,750 for a replacement Thermal Imaging Camera to replace the ten-year old model which no longer works. Cook said past corporate donations from Wal-Mart and Shell Oil helped with the purchases in the past and he will seek funds over the next two to three months to offset the city’s authorization.

The council approved extending the use time of computers at the Lamar Library from one to two hours per patron. Librarian Debbie Reynolds explained that sometimes, an hour is not enough to accomplish the user’s tasks. The council also approved lowering the price of paper copies during tax time from $0.25 to $0.05, until April 15. Reynolds explained some patrons just can’t pay the price of internet copies, which in some cases can amount to $10 to $15. The council approved the purchase of a 2009 Crown Victoria Police Interceptor for the police department.The model has about 50,000 on the engine and sold for $13,500. It was a budgeted police item. Another budgeted expenditure was approved by the council for a backhoe at $93,750. This too, had been budgeted for 2012 expenditures.

Bill Pfeilsticker had been the city’s representative to ARPA, Arkansas Valley Power Authority. That position remains open with his departure. City Attorney, Garth Neischburg said he would consider serving at the monthly meetings, but the council will discuss a replacement at a future meeting. In other action, councilman Skip Ruedeman reported that several cities in Colorado and Kansas are pledging funds to hire a Washington, DC lobbying firm to seek federal funds to help maintain the Southwest Chief rail route through southeast Colorado. Garden City and Dodge City, Kansas have pledged $20,000 each, Raton, New Mexico is contributing $15,000, La Junta is considering $20,000 this week and Lamar might raise $10,000 for the needed $100,000 for the first year. That expenditure will have further discussion among council members.

by Russ Baldwin.


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