City Seeking Funding for Main Street Water Main Repairs

Earlier Street Repairs at Main and Olive Intersection

Earlier Street Repairs at Main and Olive Intersection

The City of Lamar will take advantage of CDOT’s deep resurfacing project along US Highway 287/Main Street through Lamar next year, and will replace all the affected water and storm water lines during the highway construction.  JVA Consulting Engineers have estimated the water project at $3,246,800 with the bulk of the cost amounting to $1,228,000 to replace a network of eight and twelve inch pipes, plus an additional $405,000 for Fire Hydrant Assembly and Service Line Assembly parts.  The council approved an application for Energy and Minerals Impact Grants, plus State Revolving Grants to finance the project which is expected to begin in early 2015.

Josh Cichocki, Water/Wastewater Director for the city, said the city will incur some expenses from this project, “We don’t really know just how they’re going to start, but any construction on these streets will become disruptive to our utilities.”  Cichocki recommended that the city continue to ask that CDOT pay for the water infrastructure improvements.  Councilman Anne Marie Crampton asked about the timetable for the project, stating, “I’ve heard from a reliable source that actual construction won’t begin until 2016.  Would that delay have an impact on our grant request?”  Cichocki said replied that to the best of his knowledge, work would begin around March of next year.  The city has a December 1 deadline for the Minerals Impact Grant application and December 15 on the State Revolving funds.

New Location for Parker Heating and Air

New Location for Parker Heating and Air

The Lamar Redevelopment Authority approved a partial grant request from Parker Heating and Air Conditioning for $11,421.98.  The approval for a lesser sum of $7,971 will fund plumbing and HVAC work, but not the requested electrical work, pending additional information.  The business’s new location is at 518 North Main Street in Lamar.  Shawna Hodge, Main Street Director, explained that the owner, Mike Parker, will provide a $10,000 matching contribution through in-kind work on the store.  Councilman Oscar Riley asked why it would cost that much to install an HVAC system priced at $4,145.  Parker has spent $88,000 on the purchase of the building, as well as some major modifications to the store interior.  Future plans call for improving the parking lot to the north of the building.  City Administrator John Sutherland asked Hodge to work up a development agreement for the grant with the understanding that improvement invoices would be submitted to the Authority Board for review.  This has recently become standard policy on grant requests.

Orange Ribbon from Zonta

Orange Ribbon from Zonta

Members of Zonta International presented the council with a proclamation declaring the 16 days between International Day to Eliminate Violence against Women on November 25 and International Human Rights Day on December 10, as the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Violence.  Debbie Reynolds told the council the proclamation has been visibly highlighted as Zonta requested the downtown light poles be decorated with orange ribbons and they have provided posters for local businesses to heighten awareness of the global problem of gender violence.  The final event of the local Zonta Club’s campaign is the annual Holiday Home tour from 1pm to 4pm on Sunday, December 7, featuring five local homes decorated for the holiday season.  Proceeds from the event are donated to Domestic Safety Resource Center in Lamar.  Tickets cost $6 and are available from any Zonta member.

Zonta Members:  Karen Ketcham, Debbie Reynolds and Cody Laughlin

Zonta Members: Karen Ketcham, Debbie Reynolds and Cody Laughlin

Lamar City Administrator, John Sutherland, announced that Roberto Becerril has resigned as the City’s Planning and Development Director and a search is underway for his permanent replacement.  Sutherland said Bobby Ward, Lamar’s former Building Official had been recommended to take on the position to review plans, issue permits and inspect projects during the interim.  Sutherland said that the city’s insuring agent, CIRSA, has some concerns on the matter and the appointment will be tabled until further notice.

This past spring, the City of Lamar joined several other regional cities in applying for a Tiger VI grant to repair and upgrade the BNSF railroad tracks for Amtrak’s Southwest Chief line.  The council approved a $10,000 grant toward the grant match application which was successful.  Garden City, Kansas is calling for co-applicants to sign a letter of commitment for the matching funds to be used for the project.  The rail upgrades are for a 55 mile stretch of tracks in the La Junta Subdivision of the Kansas Division of the BNSF Railway between Hutchinson, Kansas and Las Animas, Colorado.

City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea, noted that the city auditors have recommended that the known uncollectible utility accounts be written off to the uncollectible reserve account rather than being carried in the receivable accounts.  Attempts will still be made to collect on the delinquent accounts for the water and sewer funds as well as the sanitation and electric funds, although the Lamar Utilities Board will deal with the electric write-offs.  Collections between 2012 and 2013 improved with the water and sewer fund showing $13,957 in delinquent accounts decreasing to $6,708 in 2013.  The sanitation fund also showed an improvement, going from $9,522 in 2012 to $5,487 in 2013.

The council adopted a resolution to amend the Personnel Management Policy, adopting Federal Fair Labor Standards regarding new overtime shift schedules within the Lamar Police Department.  Another resolution was approved for water deposit interest rates per the Public Utilities Commission for the city.  There was no change from 2014 for the 0.34% interest rate for 2015.

The Lamar Housing Authority Board filled two vacancies with the council’s approval:  Pastor Rory Gillespie will fill a five year unexpired term ending in 2017 and Ms. Elizabeth Bosquez will fill a term expiring in 2019.

The council, in an annual housekeeping task, approved the scope of work with the State of Colorado for the operation of the Lamar Welcome Center for fiscal year 2014-2015.  The state will pay the city $54,696 for the year, covering salary and benefits, Center operations, volunteers and travel.

The database for the Encyclopedia Britannica website at the Lamar Library was approved by the council.  The cost is $709 for the annual Britannica Library and Spanish Reference Center.

Lamar City offices will be closed November 27 & 28 for the Thanksgiving holiday and on December 25 & 26 for Christmas.  The council’s monthly informal breakfast on December 3 will be held at Becky’s Restaurant.

By Russ Baldwin

 

Filed Under: BusinesscommunityEconomyEnergyFeaturedLamarProwers CountyPublic SafetyTransportationUtilities

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