City Approves State Minimum Wage, New Water Manager Hired

PJ Wilson is Sworn in as Lamar’s Newest Police Officer

Former Lamar City Councilman, P.J. Wilson was sworn in as Lamar’s most recent police officer during Monday’s regular meeting, January 14.  Wilson, a local businessman, had been a councilman until he moved from the area and was replaced on the council by Oscar Riley last year.  Lamar Police Chief Gary McCrea stated that Wilson began his interest in the police force through his membership in the city’s Citizen’s Academy and went to the next level for his career change, graduating from a certified training program and joining the Lamar Police Department. 

Lamar’s New Water/Wastewater Manager, Joshua Cichocki

The City of Lamar filled a vacant position with the hiring of Joshua Cichocki as the city’s Water/Wastewater Manager.  Cichocki, who hails from the Chicago suburbs, has ties to the San Luis area of Colorado.  On the matter of employment, the city council adopted the resolution for paying employees the state minimum wage.  The city is not required to do so, but Mayor Roger Stagner pointed out that it is a matter of competitive wages that affects 39 employees in town.  Of those, 26 are fire and EMS volunteers who may only work for several hours a week.  The balance is made mostly from part time employees, working at the city library or the community building.  The hourly minimum wage is $7.78 for Colorado. 

In several annual housekeeping actions, the city council  announced locations throughout the city where postings will be made for official meetings including council chambers, the city hall bulletin board, both papers and radio stations and at the Lamar Recreation Department, plus numerous other notifications through email listings.  A bid for various types and amounts of aggregate and road base materials was awarded to five local businesses as has been the procedure for past years.  They are All Rite Paving and Ready Mix, Carder Inc, Robin’s Red0-Mix, Riverside Aggregates LLC and Rudy Torres Excavating. 

Rick Akers, Parks and Recreation Director explained the Memorandum of Understanding between the city and Prowers Medical Center for the hospital’s use of the community building in the event of a mass medical emergency.  The agreement will be reviewed for renewal after two years.  The council approved a Memorandum of Agreement with the Department of Local Affairs, Downtown Colorado Inc., and City of Lamar and the Lamar Partnership Inc. Board of Directors.  As outlined by Shawna Hodge, LPI executive director, the annual Downtown Colorado membership dues are $1,000 which allows Lamar to continue to participate as one of eight Colorado Main Street Communities in the state’s Main Street Program. 

John Sutherland, Lamar City Administrator, reminded the audience of the annual Lamar Chamber of Commerce banquet, set for Thursday evening, January 24 at the Cow Palace Inn courtyard.  New board members will be officially introduced and the Citizen of the Year and Honker of the Year awards will be presented.  Sutherland stated that the Honeywell project for the city, seeking ways to utilize energy saving devices in several municipal buildings, has begun with the installation of new lighting at the city airport.

 The council made appointments to two boards including John Sutherland to the Lamar Building Finance Corporation, replacing former administrator Bill Pfeilsticker  until the term’s end in 2019.  Sutherland will serve as board president.  Chris Wilkinson’s position on the Finance Corporation was maintained with his re-appointment to a ten year term expiring in 2022.  He replaces David Reyher who resigned last year. 

Councilman Skip Ruedeman recapped the highlights of a recent meeting he held en route to Topeka, KS while aboard a special Amtrak train.  Ruedeman has represented the city in meetings dealing with the need for rail upgrades in several states, including Colorado, to preserve the Los Angeles to Chicago route of the Southwest Chief which passes through Lamar.  As much as $110 million will be needed over the next two years to provide the needed upgrades, but Ruedeman said that amount could be reduced to $4 million per effected state per year without interrupting service.  The councilman said negotiations will be on-going for some time to come.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessChamber/Local BusinesscommunityEconomyEmploymentFeaturedLamarPolice ReportsProwers CountyPublic SafetyTransportationUtilities


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