Lamar City Council Begins Annual Budget Discussions

The Lamar City Council held a lengthy, preliminary budget discussion during a work session prior to the regular meeting on Monday, August 13.  The workshop gave an opportunity for department heads to discuss any capital equipment or project requests, additional employees or changes in their budget requests for 2013.  Fourteen different departments will have their budgets reviewed by the council.  Leisure Services Director, Rick Akers, stressed the need for a complete resurfacing of the Lamar Municipal Pool as his department’s top priority.  In past years, the city council has held a series of budget workshops while finalizing the city’s finances for 2013. 

 The city is in good financial shape, according to City Treasurer, Linda Rohlman.  Based on the final audit report from RubinBrown, Rohlman stated the General Fund balance is up over last year’s by $216,000 and is now at $1.258 million for 2012, a noted improvement.  The city’s employee health insurance fund is also improved and is now in the black at $106,000 where it had been at a negative balance two years ago.  Mayor Roger Stagner commended the department heads, stating, “We managed to stay within out budget boundaries over the past year, and that has really helped us.”  City Clerk, Linda Williams noted the city sales tax had another increase for the past month, but because of an irregularity in a vendor’s accounting, a $14,000 deduction was needed from the current Use Tax listing. 

The council approved the purchase of a refuse collection truck for $228,076.    The truck was approved in the 2012 Capital Improvement Budget and the city’s sanitation department generates sufficient revenue through collections to afford the cost of a new, 2013 unit. 

Two of the four playing fields at the city’s sport complex need to be completed.  The council approved a resolution for a grant application from the Great Outdoors Colorado Trust Fund for funding to complete the remaining fields.  The city has requested $229,500 for the project which will complete construction of two softball fields.  The city will be required to contribute funding through in-kind projects. 

Following the regular Lamar City Council meeting, the Lamar Redevelopment Authority Board met to discuss an annual payment to Prowers County to reimburse the 2011 Incentive Agreement payment to Holiday Inn Express of $10,636.63.  The Urban Redevelopment Authority considers whether the annual payment should be made to the county each year and the decision to authorize the funding was unanimous. 

The council approved the re-appointment of David Parker to the Building Codes Variance Board for a five year term, expiring, October 1, 2015.  The Variance Board still has one open position at this time, according to Bobby Ward, City Code Inspector. 

The second Citizen’s Police Academy of the year has graduated eleven students and Lamar Police Chief, Gary McCrea, presented the council with an update on the activities, as well as recognizing those students who had a perfect attendance record which included Tom Campbell, Manuel Madrid and Lisa Mendenhall.  

Tom Campbell, Lisa Mendenhall, Chief McCrea. Not Pictured: Manuel Madrid


The council noted that Lamar schools will be in session for the start of the new year this Thursday, August 16.  City crews have been repainting crosswalks at all schools, as well as Lincoln School, which will be in use this year, following the decision to use the former elementary school as the Teen Center headquarters for the Project HOPE program. 

Safety Net Clinic Week is August 20 through Friday, the 24th.  The city council approved a proclamation submitted by Charlotte Kaye, Project Coordinator and read by Mayor Stagner.  Prowers Medical Center is noted as one of 53 federally certified Rural Health Clinics in the state.

 Interim City Administrator Steven Rabe noted that the city and John Sutherland had concluded their contract agreement for Sutherland to become the next city administrator, beginning with the next city council session on August 27. 

Councilman Oscar Riley mentioned that the Lamar Library Board recently made donations to the shooting victims in Aurora using discretionary funds available to them.  This was in response to several calls he had received from local citizens.  He said the board will be mindful of local donations as well.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCommissionerscommunityCountyEconomyEducationFeaturedLamarLaw EnforcementPolice ReportsPublic SafetySchoolYouth


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