Two Lamar City Council meetings were held Monday, November 9 and were a part of a municipal housekeeping process following a general election. The first meeting, held with current city council members approved the consent agenda. The second meeting, at about 5 minutes later, began with swearing in ceremonies for any new council members, a moot point this year, as there were no changes in the council line-up. The authorization for check signing signatures and local banks was granted and the mayor pro-tem for the city stayed the same with Kirk Crespin maintaining those duties. Judge Larry Stutler administered the oath of office for Lamar Mayor Roger Stagner, as well as council members, Felix Dias, Gerry Jenkins, Beverly Haggard and Anne-Marie Crampton.
The council approved a request to apply for a loan to the Colorado Drinking Water Revolving Fund for $1,612,800. This is the amount needed as a match for the water line replacement project estimated at $3,246,800 to replace 21,000 linear feet of water main during the CDOT Main Street Resurfacing Project. The city has already applied for $112,000 for costs associated with the planning state of the project to DOLA and $112,000 to the State Revolving fund, plus the request to DOLA for $1,612,800 for project costs. This application requires matching funds equal to the amount requested from DOLA. The city has 30 years on the loan at 0% interest. City Treasurer, Kristin McCrea, told the council there were some grants the city could apply for to help defray the costs for the planning stages.
The annual Prowers Partners for Progress group presented a check for the Lamar Fire and Ambulance Department’s fireworks fund. Organizer Trevor, LaCost said the donation included last year’s proceeds and was for $5,231. “We had over 40 volunteers who devoted hundreds of hours putting this together for another year,” he told the council, adding that the work on the house began about two months prior to the Halloween season. “Right now, we’re in the process of putting all the equipment away for the next season.” LaCost said he estimated about 20% of the total population of the town comes out each year for the haunted house display. This was the 9th year the house was set up to receive donations through the $5 attendance fee.
The city is making a change in the manner that EMS volunteers are classified as part-time employees. A review of the stipend policy determined that the system is not appropriate. Some EMS volunteers are also paid city employees in various departments and paying them as part-time employees has caused some overtime issues with those departments. City Treasurer, Kristen McCrea has recommended paying the volunteers as true ‘volunteers’ and set their pay under the current volunteer firefighter policy. The council approval now means that all volunteers in the Lamar Fire and Ambulance Department will receive their stipend from which all required withholdings would be deducted. Currently firefighter and EMS volunteers receive $17 per training session regardless of duration. That same amount is paid to a firefighter volunteer who responds to assist on a structure fire and an extra $10 is paid if the call runs past two hours. EMS volunteers receive $17 stipends made to calls based on two hour blocks, regardless of how many initial responses are in that two hour period. $10 is also paid if any single initial response exceeds the two hour block.
The approaching Holiday Basketball Tournament will be held December 17-19 and the Lamar Police Department has been asked to provide security for the second and third nights from 5pm to 11pm. The events promoter is asking for two officers and will compensate each of them at $30 per hour, not to exceed $720. The council approved the request.
Administrator Sutherland listed a series of upcoming community events for council members: the annual Farm-City Banquet will be held this Saturday at the Lamar Community Building and the annual Fantasy Tree holiday auction and dance will be held on Saturday, November 21st at the Lamar Elks Lodge to benefit the Domestic Safety Resource Center, CDOT has scheduled a community-wide meeting for Wednesday, November 18th at the city’s Cultural Events Center to discuss the Main Street project and all city offices will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, November 26-27. The council approved an annual resolution to set the interest rate paid on Customer Utility Deposits. The PUC approved interest rates of 0.34%. This is the same as last year’s rate. Sutherland said the search for the city’s Community Development Director has netted four applications, one of which is local. “We’re seeing some experience and depth on our needs from the applications,” he explained, but did not say when a selection would be made for any final candidates.
The council went into executive session to discuss a personnel matter.
By Russ Baldwin
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