Lamar Snow Removal Operations Resume, Council Holds Last Meeting of 2011

City crews should be back on the streets of Lamar today, continuing their snow removal operations. City Administrator Bill Pfeilsticker told the city council during Monday night’s meeting, that the warmer weather will help with the clean up, as the colder temperatures froze the snow on the roads to hard-pack ice. He said they’ll attempt to bring the airport’s snow blower truck into town to help with the operations. Temperatures are expected to reach into the mid to upper 40s for the next few days. Mayor Roger Stagner and other council members expressed their appreciation for the efforts of the street crews during the initial stages of the storm that swept across the region last week.

Pfeilsticker recapped the financial benefits the city experienced when the first two phases of Ramp Rehabilitation were combined at the Lamar Municipal Airport. The CDOT Aeronautics Board had provided funds to upgrade portions of the airport earlier this year, but it was determined that there would be savings all around if the second phase of the project was coupled with the first. This move reduced the direct cost to the city and generated additional funding from CDOT. At the same time, FAA Entitlement Funds that have been banked each year for airport upgrades were added to the project as the funds were in a ‘use it or lose it’ bracket. The breakdown provided by Pfeilsticker shows $1,206,800 of improvements to the airport, at a cost to the city of only $67,633 which includes in-kind participation. Pfeilsticker told the council, “If there’s such a thing as free money, we’re getting it.” He added that 40% of the city’s share of work has already been completed. The project consists of construction of a concrete hardstand, a fuel spill containment area, a surface drain gutter and adjacent asphalt paving.

The council, after final discussion, signed off on a yearly contract for the operations of the Communications Board and Staffing of the Combined Dispatch Center which serves the city and Prowers County. There had been considerable discussion among the city, county and E911 Authority Board regarding the financial obligations of each party to maintain the emergency service to area residents. There apparently had not been adequate documentation in the past as to who pays what for services, rent, salary, equipment purchase, maintenance at the center, insurance and so forth. A new agreement was hammered out, replacing the former contract which obligates the city to $156,904, the County to $120,000 and the Emergency Telephone Authority to $90,000. Although the city is paying the higher amount, their figure is flexible and the County’s is fixed. The city will have a more clear idea of expenditures in about six or seven months, at which point they said they’ll review their costs in line with future negotiations for a new contract for 2013.

In other action, the council approved two health related agreements for city employees; one provides oversight services for healthcare provisions and the other provides a variety of pharmacy benefits. Cow Palace Inn manager Doug Thrall thanked the city for the sewer work that was provided to the motel, which is currently being renovated. Thrall said the crews were quick and professional and mindful of the motel’s customers during the sewer installation. Pastor Rorie Gillespie, a resident of the Ridges in Lamar also thanked the city for the swift and thorough snow removal operations during last week’s snowstorm.

City offices will be closed for the New Year Holiday on January 2 and the city council will hold their monthly informal breakfast session on January 4 at 7am at Subway on North Main Street. Residents are welcome to attend and share their views of city operations or ask questions of the council members.

by Russ Baldwin


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