Council Approves 2015 Budget

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The Lamar Redevelopment Authority approved a resolution adopting the 2015 budget with revenues and expenditures at $116,700. These funds are generated by Tax Increment Funding from taxable improvements within the Redevelopment District in Lamar. They are set aside as grant donations to help develop new and existing business ventures through the year.

On a finance issue, the Lamar City Council followed suit, approving on second reading, an ordinance to levy and collect taxes in the City of Lamar for 2015. The mill levy is unchanged at 13.239 mills, marking the 27th consecutive year the city has operated without a property tax mill levy increase. The city will collect $439,615 next year, a 3.7% decrease from 2013 when $456,268 was collected.

The 2015 budget was also approved by a unanimous vote of the council following first reading of the revised ordinance. The General Fund for next year is $7,657,293; Sales Tax Fund is at $3,610,388, Water & Sewer Fund is at $2,899,413 and Sanitation Fund is at $1,193,251. A portion of the funding revenues will come from the city sales tax at $3,389,411, the Charter Appropriate from the Lamar Utilities at $1,647,779, Highway Users Tax at $251,051, Recreation Receipts at $232,300 and Franchise Fees at $195,000

The Council voted to pay half of the costs of legal representation by the law firm of Robinson, Waters and O’Dorisio, with the Lamar Utilities Board regarding the city’s interests in the Lamar Repowering Project. The city voted to retain the firm during their October 13 meeting. The firm recently represented the city which sought a temporary restraining order against ARPA regarding the decommissioning or scrapping of the coal-fired plant. A special judge denied the motion, stipulating that all involved parties in the dispute try to remedy their differences within a 90 day period once a mediator has been appointed by the court.

Lance Benninghoff, Executive Director of Prowers County Development Incorporated, and Rick Robbins, PCDI President, detailed a series of business-oriented seminars which will be hosted by PCDI. The business talks will offer training sessions, such as certification of a business’s fork lift operation.  A three year certification course will be available at Rodeway Cow Palace Inn on November 13.  “This will help save a business time and money,” Benninghoff explained, adding that employees won’t have to travel out of the community for the courses.  Robbins added that a business owner that hires a firm using fork lifts needs to be aware of certification issues to avoid insurance liabilities.  The cost is $50 per session and sign ups are available through PCDI at 336-2384.

Lamar Librarian, Debbie Reynolds, had four agenda items before the council seeking renewal of agreements and contracts for services which will provided to the Library in 2015. The Learning Express Library is an interactive online platform of practice tests and tutorial courses series which provide information on academic or licensing tests for school age students or workplace skills, jobs and careers. The service was approved for 2015 and costs $1,999. A request for an online database for access to electronic editions of record for local, regional and national U.S. newspapers was approved for $837.60. The council approved a request of $3,575 for two databases which offer electronic reading materials for children of different age groups and $3,575 was also approved for a program which provides research navigation guides for students.  The funding has been set aside for the state’s libraries  through the Colorado legislature for 2014-2015.

Josh Cichocki, Lamar’s Water and Wastewater Director, informed the council there are spare funds amounting to $245,000 that can be used for water transmission line improvements. The extra revenue is available because the South Water Transmission Line Upgrade Project came in under budget. Cichocki said the city could use the funds to replace a transmission line which has had six breaks over the past four months between Well #1 and #4. Approximately 3,500 linear feet of aging steel pipe needs replacing and the funding is available through the city’s current contract with DOLA. Cichocki said it would take about two weeks to complete the new project. The cost of materials comes to $79,379 and in-kind equipment and labor costs are $14,768. The council approved the project.

The council went into executive session at the close of the regular meeting for a conference with City Attorney, Garth Nieschburg, to receive legal advice on specific legal questions relating to the Lamar Police Department.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCitycommunityEconomyFeaturedLamarLaw Enforcement


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