Wastewater Lift Station Needs Repairs, City Getting New K9 for Police Department

Higher than expected levels of hydrogen sulfide has caused excessive deterioration of the concrete wetwall at the city’s new wastewater lift station. The concrete is being damaged by agitation of the water as it spills into the headworks screen which causes a release of the corrosive gas. Eric Larson of the Farnsworth Group provided some options to correct the problem for the city council during their meeting, April 23, along with Water/Wastewater Director Doug Montgomery. Larson said about 200 square feet of the wall has been eroded to a depth of between one-quarter to one-half inch. He estimated repairs would consist of sandblasting the effected area, which would be seal coated and resurfaced. A rough, non-bid estimate for 200 square feet of repairs for the worst area would be in the neighborhood of $15,000 and a 1,000 square foot resurfacing job would be close to $36,000. The city has few options for this unexpected cost. The concrete wall was built to specifications, but Montgomery believes part of the problem is the gases emanating from the Prosperity Lane line. He said adding water to that line has helped, but won’t make the problem go away. The lift station has been in operation for only one year, and the problem surfaced about five months into its use. Mayor Stagner conferred with the council and decided that bids on both sized repair operations should be sought before the council decides on a course of action.

Three public hearings were conducted, including the request from the Fraternal Order of Eagles Lamar Aerie #3898 for a modification of premises application, which was granted by the council. The Aerie plans to construct an outdoor addition within the fenced-in portion of property to the rear of their building. Public hearings were also conducted for two applications from the Buzzard’s Roost in Lamar for temporary modification of licenses premises. Two outdoor music events have been scheduled for June 23 and 24 and for September 15 and 16. The September ‘Road Jam’ event has been held for several years, while the June, ‘Country Jam’ is a new feature. Both applications were approved by the council as presented by Lamar Police Chief Gary McCrea. Councilman Riley cast a no vote on the second request, as he indicated the September event was too far out on the calendar to make an informed decision.

Two youth oriented proclamations were adopted by the council during their Monday evening meeting, April 23. Leon Burndt, Exalted Ruler of the Lamar Elks Lodge, #1319 submitted the proclamation designating the first week in May as Youth Week. Four high school age girls representing the Care Net Pregnancy Center of Southeast Colorado submitted the organization’s proclamation designating May 6-10 as Abstinence Awareness Week in Lamar. Both proclamations were signed by Mayor Roger Stagner. The young ladies said a number of activities have been planned for that week.

A request for overnight camping in Willow Creek Park was approved for the Lamarlin’s Swim Team for June 29 and 30. Each year, the team hosts an annual, regional event and dozens of contestants camp in the park during the competition. The council also approved a waiver of city fees for ambulance stand-by service requested by the Sand and Sage Fair Board. Traditionally, the city waives the city portion of the fees ($90 for the first three hours and $10 per hour thereafter) and simply bills enough to compensate the ambulance attendants.

The GSAXcess program was developed to help municipalities obtain equipment at little cost to their budgets. The program lists equipment and other surplus items collected by the federal government. These items range from vehicles to police weapons, mobile homes and shop tools. The items may be requested free of charge from qualified entities when the item requested matches with the objective of the municipal agency. There is a small service fee attached to the transaction. Lamar Fire Chief Marshall Cook and Captain Jeremy Burkhart explained that items appearing on the program’s website could be bid on for 1 to 2% of the original purchase cost. Cook said the various city department heads would need to be mindful that although the price of an item may be low, the cost of shipping it from its point of origin, such as a tractor from Florida, may negate any potential savings. Mayor Stagner signed off on the documents needed to enroll the city in the GSAXcess Program.

The fourth phase of the city’s water project is concluding with the installation of a 2,200 foot water line to Prowers Medical Center, providing a more reliable water source for the hospital and area businesses. Avalanche Excavating of Canon City provided the lowest bid of four reviewed by the city for $230,984 which was 21% below the engineer’s estimate of $280,000. The city’s water engineering firm, Farnsworth Group, recommended the contract be awarded to Avalanche Excavating. The council also approved a $26,350 Task Order for engineering services through the completion of the project. Another Task Order for $62,250 was also approved relating to the rehabilitation of the city’s 6 million gallon water tank which was completed last month. City Water Director Doug Montgomery said part of the project will eliminate an old 14 inch water line serving the hospital and Willow Valley, and provide additional, new water connections. The cost of the project will be paid for from remaining ARRA funds and a State Revolving Fund. Mongomery estimated the project would take 90 days to complete and could be started in about six weeks.

Two other expenditures were approved by the council. $12,500 was authorized for purchase of a replacement K9 dog for Joey who will be taken out of service due to medical conditions. Although funds are not immediately available, Lamar Police Chief McCrea explained that the city should receive $8,000 in Seizure Funds from the DEA from a previous drug bust which Joey made several months ago. A separate $3,000 grant request has been approved, and the department expects to raise $1,500 in a community fund-raising event. Sgt. Filbeck will undergo training with Joey’s replacement and the city’s first K9 will live out her remaining years in his home. The city awarded a $19,098.49 bid to Colorado Equipment for a Utility Tractor. The funds were set aside in the city’s 2012 Fairmount Investment Fund.

Dragon Frak Tanks Stored on Adjacent Lot

Dragon LTD received permission from the city to use a city-owned parking area north of the manufacturing property, to temporarily park ‘frak’ tanks before they are sent to buyers. This is not a permanent arrangement and Dragon agrees to maintain the property free and clear of trash and debris.

The council approved a resolution regarding funds held by the city at a Water/Wastewater improvement fund at Colorado East Bank and Trust. The account, which contains $208,314, has been dormant since 2010. City Treasurer Linda Rohlman explained that the bank notified the city that without any future activity in a set time, the account will be transferred to the State Treasurer. The council approved transferring the funds to other active city water accounts, and directed Rohlman to invest them to insure the best interest rate.

The council approved the required steps outlined by interim city administrator Steven Rabe to move forward on the search for a permanent administrator. Specific job search goals must be detailed, including a job description, selection criteria for candidates and deadlines. Council members were given an application packet for the hiring process needed to adhere to State Statutes. Rabe pointed out that the timeline has set July 12 and 13 for a public meeting with the finalists and council interviews. Rabe said earlier that a permanent administrator should be hired by the end of August.

The State Economic Development Council of Colorado has selected Prowers County for an annual economic improvement award. The annual presentation from Economic Development Council of Colorado was given for professionlal and economic development efforts within the county by PCDI and various municipal agencies. Prowers County had been nominated for the Small Community of the Year award. Numerous communities qualified for a population of 50,000 or less which exhibit strong job growth, economic support through financilaa and board participation, effective economic development practices and lobbying efforts, locally and legislature. The award will be presented at the spring conference, April 27, in Estes Park. Lisa Nolder, PCDI Executive Director, will receive the award on behalf of the county.

The monthly informal city council breakfast will be held at Becky’s Restaurant, Village Shopping Center on Wednesday, May 2 between 7 and 8am. This year’s Cinco de Mayo event is set for the North Side Park on May 5. The annual Good Morning Lamar breakfast will be held again this year at the Lamar Elks Lodge at 6:30am on May 11.

Mayor Stagner closed the meeting with a reminder that Valco Properties has not yet been deeded to the city, and as such, is still private property. Anyone who goes on the land just north of the city is trespassing. Apparently some people decided to go fishing in one of the ponds recently and were informed that they were not allowed on the land. Although some of the ponds have been stocked with fish, they haven’t matured enough yet to be considered a game fish. The city will make an official announcement when it takes possession of the land, but until that time, no one should be on the land.

The City Council concluded its meeting with a motion to go into executive session to receive legal advice.

By Russ Baldwin


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