New: Lamar City Website; New Cultural Events Center Rates

Just three Lamar City Administrator Candidates will be on hand this Thursday, June 16, at the Cultural Events Center between 6pm and 7:30pm.  Mayor Roger Stagner reminded the audience during Monday’s city council meeting that the reception is open to the public, and residents are urged to visit the candidates vying for the administrator position being vacated by Ron Stock, per his March resignation letter.  The council has developed about 18 questions for the candidates and the mayor said that interviews will be conducted this Friday.

Rick Rigel, Lamar LIght and Power Superintendent, briefed the council on another delay in getting the Repowering Project back online.  Rigel said early July will be the best bet, as additional work is required by the boiler manufacturers, Babcock and Wilcox.  Rigel, who is also the interim general manager for ARPA, Arkansas River Power Authority, told the council, the power organization is setting up a new website which contains a brief history of the organization.  ARPA, he said, wants to stabilize rates, what the Repowering Project was intended for.  The organization has had some job layoffs in an attempt to cut costs and the recently available, low-cost federal hydro power, will continue to keep costs down through the hotter summer months, during peak usage periods.  Rigel said he’d be back to the council in two to three months with a more comprehensive report.

The Lamar city council voted to raise the fees for use of the Cultural Events Center, matching the rates used by the Lamar Community Building. Following a council inquiry in April by Pastor Harold Bohl as to why political or religious groups could not use the center, the Library board met and developed a policy to match the best practices of the American Library Association. Debra Reynolds, Lamar Librarian, said the board will decide on a case by case basis for the center’s use by commercial or profit-making organizations. Reynolds also demonstrated a new ebook-downloading device now available for check-out by library patrons in good standing. The Sony e-reader will not be able to download any other information outside the library, such as home based information or other commercial devices.

“Worse sound system in the state of Colorado. Pathetic!” is how city Leisure Services Director, Rick Akers described the antiquated sound system being replaced at the Lamar Community Building. He told the council a new system had been bid out for $22,338 by Listen-Up Audio of Denver. The city had budgeted $25,000 for a new system. Akers said the sound system engineers designed the ones in use at the LCC Wellness Center, Otero Junior College Gym, Mile High Stadium and Fiddler’s Green. Akers emphasized that once the system has been tuned to the audio needs of the gym at the Community Building, it will be locked away and not accessed for any reason by the general public. No busy fingers will be twisting the volume level dial to ’11’.

Tom Sanchez, the city’s Internet Technician demonstrated the city’s new website, now available online using the same website access address at Sanchez said the colors of the site are more in line with the windmill logo the city has been using for the past two years. The site is more user-friendly, allowing increased access to city information, online bill paying and a more comprehensive monthly city calendar. Sanchez said the site is still being upgraded with additional information.

A 1996 agreement for well water use for Escondido Park between the city and the Harold Parker estate was authorized by the council on Monday. The initial agreement was written up, but never formally executed. Harold Parker owned most of the land where Escondido Park was developed. The agreement allows for the use of water by Escondido Park and Parker’s heirs. As part of the agreement, the city will register and maintain the well and conduct flow meter testing at the site. Doug Montgomery, city water engineer and city attorney Garth Nieschburg met with Parker’s widow, R. Lucille Parker on June 3 to sign documentation for the agreement before she left Lamar after selling her property and the well and pump.

In a separate water matter, the city voted to accept an agreement with Lower Arkansas Water Management Association, (LAWMA). The contract calls for the city to continue using the organization’s augmentation station to measure return flow from irrigation ditches to the Arkansas River. The agreement is renewable for four, one-year terms and payment to LAWMA can be either 360 shares from Ft Bent or $3,588 a year. The city is currently investigating building its own augmentation station.

In other action, the council approved the re-appointment of Ms. Sue Kilpatrick to the Lamar Housing Authority for five years. A brief discussion for next year’s city budget decided that meetings should be scheduled to start on the 2012-2013 year, first focusing on Capital Improvement Requests.

by Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: communityEconomyEducationFeaturedLamarPoliticsRecreation


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