City Council Approves Amended Weed Ordinance

Front Yard of Abandoned House in Lamar

Front Yard of Abandoned House in Lamar

The City of Lamar’s agreement with Honeywell Building Solutions for energy and utility upgrades in municipal buildings is ending as work on the contract is being finalized. $288,973 in contingency funds was included in the contract and $67,015 was spent on some contingencies leaving a balance of $228,043. Other work termed ‘change orders’ was performed leaving a balance of $93,178. City staff has recommended two additional change orders be performed for HVA/C upgrades to the City’s Welcome Center and Water Department for a total cost of $42,564. That leaves a remaining balance for all the projects of $50,606 which, according to City Administrator, John Sutherland, will remain in the project’s contingency fund.

The city council approved a resolution amending the Honeywell Energy Performance Contract to continue to upgrade the city’s south well field’s main water transmission line, approximately 6.5 miles. A review of the line showed the 88 year old piping to be faulty with pin-hole leaks, a considerable build-up of scale inside the pipe and pressure drop problems. An amendment was approved through the resolution to have Honeywell hire a contractor for the additional repair work and manage the construction of a new primary water transmission line in the south well field.

Weeds and Rusty Car

Weeds and Rusty Car in Background

Weeds be gone! The council approved draft changes to the weed nuisance ordinance and approved it on first reading. City Attorney Garth Nieschburg altered the nuisance abatement ordinance to cut through the long notice period to a private property owner, eliminating as much as a month’s wait in some circumstances, before the city can take action on the weed and nuisance violations. The new provision allows for posting a notice at the property, informing the public that the property owner has 48 hours to clean up the mess before the city handles the job and charges a fee for their services. Attorney Nieschburg and Mayor Stagner said the city’s priority for weed cleanup using this ordinance change is for those property owners who have repeatedly ignored messages to maintain the code enforcement regulations. The city will continue to afford some leeway to those property owners who have shown they are willing to work with the city to improve their land.

Weeds Lamar 9-13 (4)

The City Council approved on first reading, an ordinance discussed earlier this month between Wells Fargo bond underwriters and the Lamar Utilities Board. The ordinance refinances and defeases the Lamar Light Plant’s 2004 Series A electric utility enterprise revenue bonds and issues 2013 Series A bonds for the city‘s wind turbines. The savings to the Utility Board is $256,267.48. The bonds have been issued long enough, according to the Wells Fargo representatives, to be refinanced. The contract end date remains 2023 for the Light Plant.

The Lamar City Council voted to fill a vacancy on the Lamar Utilities Board with their approval of Howard Hobbs for a five year term expiring in August, 2018. Hobbes is a former professor of science at Lamar Community College. He is filling the vacancy created when Don Steerman’s term on the board expired.

Kaye Hainer of the Lamar Library Board presented a proclamation to the council which celebrates the freedom to read and observes Banned Books Week at the library. The Proclamation signed by Mayor Roger Stagner reads in part, “Whereas intellectual freedom is essential to the preservation of a free society and a creative culture, and whereas Americans still favor free enterprise in ideas and expression and can be trusted to exercise critical judgment, to recognize propaganda and misinformation and to make their own decisions about what they read and believe, and to exercise the responsibilities that accompany this freedom, the Lamar Public Library celebrates the American Library Association’s Banned Books Week.”

The council approved the city employee’s group insurance contract with the County Health Pool with Denman Consulting as the agent of record. Bert Davis of the city’s insurance committee stated that there would be an overall savings to the City and employees of $387,196. Two health plans will be offered to city employees for the 2014 contract.

City Administrator, John Sutherland, introduced Lance Benninghoff to the Lamar Council. Benninghoff was hired last week as the executive director for Prowers County Development Incorporated. Since earlier this month, he has taken part in various municipal meetings, been introduced to officials in other towns in Prowers County, attended the Pedal the Plains event and will attend his first regular PCDI board meeting set for Tuesday morning, September 24.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: BusinessCitycommunityEconomyEnergyEnvironmentFeaturedHot TopicsLamarPublic SafetyUtilities


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