City Moves Ahead on Willow Creek Levee Improvements/Swears in Councilmembers

Section of Willow Creek Levee

Members of the former Lamar City Council held a brief session Monday night, November 14. City Clerk, Linda Williams reviewed the City Sales and Use Tax report for September collections, which detailed another monthly increase. City Administrator, Bill Pfeisticker provided the council with an update on used and unused railroad property just west of the railroad crossing on Highway 287/385 and behind Cruikshank Realty. The council decided that because the original lease agreement with Amtrak has not been found at this time, to continue to pay the lease agreement instead of making a purchase offer on the land until a later date.

Under the consent agenda, liquor licenses were renewed for the Loaf N Jug stores on North and South Main Streets, for Corner Wine and Liquor and for Lamar Lanes.

City councilman Jim Larrick was thanked for his years on service to the city by Mayor Roger Stagner. Larrick did not run for another term, and was replaced by Anne-Marie Crampton who was unopposed in her bid for the vacated seat. Larrick has been on the council since 2003. He said he has some plans for continued public service, but did not elaborate on what they might be at this time.

Following a brief reception for the current and new councilmembers, the council moved into the second meeting for the evening and took care of some regular housekeeping activities including oath of office, administered by Judge Stutler to Mayor Roger Stagner, Beverly Haggard and Skip Ruedeman. Crampton was unable to attend the meeting due to personal matters. Ruedeman was re-elected as, Mayor Pro-tem, the designation of banks for check signing needs and deposits was approved for Valley National Bank, Frontier Bank, Colorado East Bank and Trust, and Community State Bank, and the Legacy Bank was also included during the meeting at the recommendation of Haggard. The city also passed resolutions which allow for the deposit of funds with Edward Jones, ColoTrust and CSAFE. The council authorized the Mayor and Mayor Pro-tem, the City Clerk and City Treasurer to sign checks for the City, with the exception of the electric utility’s accounts where the signature is determined by the Lamar Utilities Board.

City Administrator Bill Pfeilsticker briefed the council on a contract with Olsson Associates for engineering services needed for recertification of the Willow Creek levee system. The company’s water resource specialists have reviewed the suggested improvements needed to certify the levees as outlined by the Colorado Water Conservation Board. The assessment should start January 9, 2012 and be completed by April 30, 2012. Cost of the service provided by Olsson Services is not to exceed $56, 510. $100,000 has been set aside in the city’s 2012 budget to cover costs. A Digital Floor Insurance Rate Map and Flood Insurance Study found that the levee’s freeboard need to be three feet higher to meet the minimum requirements. Other findings include the need for: all openings in the levee must be provided with closures, the embankment needs to be protected from erosion, an analysis is needed for foundation stability and seepage, an interior drainage analysis is needed and an operations and maintenance plan for the levee upgrades. The study was done from the upstream side of CR 8 5/10 to the Bent Canal. Pfeilsticker said the city may escape the higher costs of adding to the height of the levee, following a conference call discussion last week. Pfeilsticker said one option being explored is to deepen the levee by removing accumulated dirt and widen the base of the levee which will allow for the movement of more volumes of water.

Lamar Fire Chief Marshall Cook introduced the new Fire Engineer for the city, George Sczzrba who has an extensive background from his years in New York, Virginia and on two occasions in Colorado. Sczzrba is undergoing his orientation training. Liason appointments were postponed until the next council meeting and council members have had a chance to review the current postings. with the council change from Larrick to Crampton.

Administrator Pfeilsticker held a brief discussion of ARPA board vacancies. There will be two openings to be filled, for departing LUB member Bob Schemahorn and for Lamar Light and Power Superintendent Rick Rigel. As Rigel is currently interim general manager of ARPA, Pfeilsticker felt it could be a conflict of interest to serve as general manager and on the executive board. The city will advertise the positions. City offices closed for Thanksgiving and Friday the 25th. Time will be set aside for a November 28 council work session regarding liability issues for elected officials. The council made a meeting change on the calendar, moving the last meeting of the year to December 27, as the date is now set for December 26, a holiday observed by the city for this year.

The council approved a proposal for the annual audit from Bondi and Company. This past spring the company was purchased by RubinBrown LLP. The client engagement letter was approved, including an option to extend audit services into 2013 and 2014. The Lamar City Charter requires that an independent audit be conducted annually on all funds of the city.

The Big Timbers Museum is getting a fire truck for display. The Lamar Fire Department donated a 1964 GMC/America LaFrance fire engine that is now surplus equipment. Fire Chief Cook told the council the truck is in good repair and would be a welcome addition to the current fire equipment display now at the Big Timbers Museum. The city will be able to use the truck on special occasions. It will be housed inside the new Transportation Museum addition.

The council approved a resolution clarifying use and ownership of property owned by Mike and Gail Harvey on Poplar Street across from the North Side fire station. Fire department crew have been parking their vehicles on the Harvey’s property at various times. The agreement specifies that the city will not make any claim to the property through adverse possession, and that the parking will be temporary only and not for overnight, nor will it block access to any buildings or driveways located on the property.

A multi-party memorandum of understanding was approved among the Colorado State Forest Service, the U.S. Department of the Interior Bureau of Land Management and the Lamar Municipal Airport. Earlier in the year, Donna Davis, with the Colorado State Forest Service, outlined aspects of a plan of action to help combat regional wildland fires. The agreement will let various agencies use the Lamar Airport to accommodate single engine air tanker operations. The use includes parking of aircraft and storage of firefighting supplies and equipment. The agreement is for five years. Similar agreements have been set up in Springfield and La Junta.

by Russ Baldwin

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