Search Narrowing for Lamar City Administrator

The City of Lamar received 19 applications for the position of city administrator by the June 1 deadline, according to interim administrator Steve Rabe.  He informed the council during their meeting, Monday, June 11, that the list has been narrowed to seven semi-finalists who participated in phone interviews.  Rabe said the council will receive a list of finalists for their review by June 25.  Those candidates who qualify will be invited to take part in a meet-n-greet and interviews on July 12 and 13.  The public will be able to meet with finalists the evening of July 12 and final interviews will be conducted the following day.  This past spring, Rabe provided the council with a timeline which would have a new administrator in place by August.  The new administrator will replace Bill Pfeilsticker who resigned from the position this past February.

The city continues to seek a low cost solution to raising the height of Lamar’s levee system from three to four feet from an area running the approximate length between the rear of Walmart on Parmenter Street and the Lamar Municipal Swimming Pool.  The levee upgrades and revised mapping systems are being mandated to provide FEMA with information and help control flooding in communities across the country.  Granada, Holly and Wiley are facing similar upgrades, although not as extensive as Lamar’s.  Wiley Work informed the council that 21.7% of the city’s population, approximately 1,692 persons are potentially impacted to secure flood insurance for their properties if the levees are not upgraded.  Work said he has not found any records of levee construction in Lamar, but simply adding three to four feet of dirt on top of them is not feasible.  Constructing a wall which would run parallel to the levee has been suggested, but no cost estimate is available on that project at this time.  Work said the city should act quickly to seek funding from the Colorado Water Conservancy Board before other cities start making their requests.  Last year, the council budgeted $100,000 for work on the project and has spent $36,431 to date.  Work said he’d brief the council on any new developments.

A joint interlocal agreement between Lamar and several cities located on the BNSF rail line was approved.  Lamar’s share is $10,000 which will be used to hire the lobbying firm, Alston & Bird LLP which will seek to see that necessary funding is provided for the continuing operation of the Southwest Chief rail line.   Unless rail line upgrades totaling approximately $93 million are conducted, the Southwest Chief route will by-pass Lamar, La Junta and other cities served by Amtrak.   Participating cities include Garden City, Dodge City, Newton and Hutchinson, Kansas as well as Trinidad, Lamar and La Junta, Colorado.  These cities have pledged $125,000 for the firm for their first year of operation.  The city is using money from a budgeted economic development fund.

The council approved the annual contract agreement between the City of Lamar and State of Colorado for the operation of the Lamar Welcome Center through June 30, 2013.  The state will pay the city $52,696 for operations at $47,196 and volunteer enhancement at $5,500.  Daniel Neuhold applied for, and received the bid for janitorial services at the Welcome Center for another year.  The bid was for $650 per month, the same as last year.  The council voted to ratify Chris Sandoval as the new Water/Wasterwater director for the city.  The ratification was needed so Sandoval has authorization for signature authority on funding contracts for water projects and loan reimbursement.

The annual Oktoberfest is still several months away, scheduled for October 6, but the Lamar Chamber of Commerce has requested a Special Events Permit to host a beer garden.  The council set June 25 as the date for the hearing.  The next Lamar City Council meeting will be held June 25.

By Russ Baldwin


Filed Under: communityEconomyGranadaHollyLamarPoliticsPublic SafetyWiley


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