Proposed County Fire Ban Ordinance Fizzles


Prowers County Courthouse

The Prowers County Commissioners decided, after conferring with county attorney John Lefferdink, to let the current county fire ban remain in place.  Since the dry spell of this past summer, local and state fire departments have been mindful of potential fire disasters such as Waldo Canyon along the Front Range.  Governor Hickenlooper enacted a fire and a fireworks ban for the state during the July 4 holiday and that carried through to Lamar and Prowers County.  Sheriff Jim Faull had recommended a revised county ordinance, adding more teeth to the new ordinance that would allow him to curtail sales of fireworks in the county in times of excessive heat and dry spells, independent of state regulations.  Faull had stated that if you’re going to ban the use of fireworks in the state or county, you may as well take the next logical step and ban their sale. 

Some provisions in the proposed ordinance could bring up more issues than it resolved, and questions from Jennifer Swanson, the county District Attorney, regarding penalty provisions to the new ordinance added another viewpoint to the proposals.  Several motions to table the proposed ordinance prolonged the matter until the commissioner’s Thursday meeting, at which they decided the 2006 ordinance had done the job sufficiently well in the past and they would let it stand unaltered.   Commissioner Marble asked regarding the sale ban, “What happens if someone buys $20,000 worth of fireworks to sell during the 4th and we enact the ordinance prohibiting their sale?”  There was also some discussion on related state statutes regulating that the county ban would have to be renewed each year and could not remain in effect as needed.

PATS Operations Director, Darren Glover received permission from the commissioners to pursue what is known as a FASTER grant for either one or two new vehicles to be used by the county transit services organization.   Glover explained that CDOT funding is available and coupled with the state FASTER grant; the county’s share of matching funds would amount to only $2,000 per vehicle.  PATS has five vehicles of different sizes and seating capacity, and have been gearing the fleet toward smaller vans, accommodating from 10 to 12 persons, including wheelchair functions.   There is an either/or hitch to the grants, as the county will meet the match only when both state and CDOT funding is available.  Otherwise, if the county’s share increases to more than $2,000 for either or both vehicles, they will exercise the right not to opt in to the program.  If the grants are fully funded, Glover said that Alta Vista School and the Project HOPE Teen Center at Lincoln School in Lamar has expressed an interest in the two vehicles that would be replaced. 

The commissioners gave approval to advertise for two positions at the Welcome Home Childcare and Learning Center on Savage Avenue in Lamar.  Director Courtney Holt-Rogers said there is a need for a temporary kitchen manager and a part time general classification employee.  Commissioner Joe Marble asked if the four day school week for the RE-2 district had any impact on the center.   Rogers said there has been very little impact but two families have been added to the center for Friday’s she said.  She noted that in some cases, with the longer school day, a few families have not needed to use the center now that their children stay in school almost as long as the parents work.

By Russ Baldwin

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