Lamar City Council Approves 2013 Budget, Moves Forward on Energy Audit on City Buildings


A meeting of the Lamar Redevelopment Authority preceded the regular Lamar City Council meeting this past Monday evening, November 12.  Business before the Authority was brief, as it pertained to an earlier agreement for the annual rehabilitation reimbursement of American Transit Works Incorporated for $6,846.57.  The ten year agreement calls for $3,500 per year plus half of the interest paid annually.    The Authority Board, which has as members, the Lamar City Council, agreed to the 2012 payment. 

American Transit Works, a full-service, heavy duty bus repair facility in Lamar, acquired the operations of Colorado Bus Works in January 2009.  When Neoplan USA closed its operation in late 2005, Neoplan employees developed Colorado Bus Works which was subsequently purchased by American Transit Works.  The parent organization, Transit Resource Center (TRC), brought greater transit industry experience, financing, and a large bus engineering staff to the bus refurbishment team at the Lamar, Colorado facility.

 In regular action, the council reviewed the most recent Sales and Use Tax Report which showed a 4.13% year to date increase of $112,116.52 over 2011 figures. 

Mayor Roger Stagner signed the agreement between Lamar Community College and Prowers Medical Center and Lamar Ambulance Service.  As explained by Lamar Deputy Fire Chief, Pat Leonard, the agreement allows EMT students at the college to ride to calls with Lamar ambulances as part of their academic curriculum. 

An agreement between the city and Honeywell Energy Performance was signed which allows the energy efficiency group to develop a plan to save energy consumption in city owned properties and improve utilities such as water billing to eliminated unbilled water waste or use.  Some city funding will be used to lease the improvements from a company, but energy cost savings are expected to pay for most of the costs of the lease.  The first phase of the project will focus on heat, air and lighting at the Lamar Community Building.  Honeywell representatives told the council that projects will go out to bid with the expectation that as much as 75% of the work could be local.  Some projects would be of a specialized nature that Lamar and Prowers County is not equipped for. 

The council took action on a resolution waiving the title requirement for release of a deed of trust regarding an agreement to purchase 25.91 acres of land owned by Rex and Sharon Hiner for $13,000.  The land is located inside the Lamar Airport game fence.  This is a paperwork matter for the city as the earlier deed of trust has been lost and a release has not been recorded.  The resolution adopted by the council approves the waiver of a release of the deed of trust. 

The city’s Personnel Management Manual was adopted under a resolution approved by the council.  John Sutherland, City Administrator, and department directors have updated the manual which has been reviewed by the council and administrative staff. 

The City of Lamar’s 2013 budget was adopted by the Council and the ordinance was approved on first reading.  The ordinance to levy and collect tax for 2013 was also passed on first reading.  The city mill levy remains current at 13.239 mills, from which the city will collect $454,727 next year from all taxable property within the City of Lamar.  This represents an increase of approximately 0.08% from $455,096 in 2012.  The mill levy has remained the same for the past 25 years. 

In other action it was noted that the annual Farm/City Banquet will be held Friday, November 16 at the Lamar Community Building and the annual Fantasy Tree Event to benefit Domestic Safety Resource Center will be held at the Lamar Elks Lodge on Saturday, November 17.  City offices will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday, Thursday and Friday, November 22 & 23.  Local contact, Arnulfo Ortega, requested the city waive the $290 license fee for the Saturday Mixed Martial Arts fight at the Lamar Community Building.  Ortego said local response has been limited for the third such fight exhibition coming to Lamar and his expenses have risen.  The council discussed the limitations it faces on waiving these kinds of fees, especially for for-profit events.  A review of city policy on licensing fees and waivers will be discussed in future meetings.  Council members also discussed converting all city employee paychecks to a direct deposit format.  According to City Clerk, Linda Williams, less than one-third of the employees continue to receive paper checks which creates a bottleneck in the accounting department.  An official notice will go out in each employee’s payroll envelope noting the policy change.  Because of approaching holiday schedules, the second City Council meeting in December will be held on the 17th.

By Russ Baldwin


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