Fairground Rentals, Salary Proposals, Science Library Discussed by Commissioners


Court House Windmill-2

Arena availability is being booked in advance for 2014 activities for the Prowers County Fairgrounds.  The commissioners approved eight dates for next year for six gymkhanas for the Vaqueros Saddle Club between March and November and two for the return of the Colorado Mounted Thunder shooting competition in April, the third year this group will be back in Lamar.  Axel Thurner, who requested the arena during the county commissioner’s meeting on Thursday, November 14, said the horseback shooting competition is growing in popularity in the state.  “We had 115 entries in Pueblo over the Memorial Day weekend for four days,” he explained.  Thurner said that many entries enabled the prize money to grow to $16,000, but said that there would only be a limited amount of competitors returning to Lamar for the spring competition. 

Rider Takes a Shot While Rounding a Corner in His Event

Rider Takes a Shot While Rounding a Corner in His Event

The commissioners were visited by representatives from CCI, Colorado Counties Incorporated for an update on the county advocate group’s focus around the state.  Chip Taylor, CCI executive director and Brandy DeLange, policy and research associate, presented the organization’s budget and dues proposal for Prowers County review.  The annual budget for CCI is $1,221,609 of which Prowers County would be billed $12,701 in 2014 and $13,005 in 2015.  Fees range from $76,232 for Denver County to $5,665 for Kiowa County based in population, income, land assessment and other factors, according to Taylor.  CCI helps advocate issues of local concern in the legislature for member counties and in past years has represented Prowers over areas such as blowing dust and dirt from farmland, public lands, tax and finance and legislation regarding pest control reimbursement.  Two commissioners also serve on CCI committees with Henry Schnable on the Special Highway Committee and Wendy Buxton-Andrade on the Child Prevention Hotline Committee and Child Welfare Allocation Committee.   

CCI also lobbies on behalf of salary increases for county elected officials through its study committee and will lobby the state legislature for the first raise for elected officials since 2007.  If passed, the increase would not take effect until 2015 and would apply only to newly elected county officials.  Commissioner Joe Marble and the other commissioners said that they would be opposed to an increase for commissioners, especially in light of tight, local budget constraints which prevented regular county employees from getting pay raises.  There are six salary levels for county elected officials in Colorado with level one, the highest compensation and level six the lowest.  Prowers County is rated at level four.  At that level, county commissioners, treasurers, assessors and clerks are paid $49,700 per year, sheriffs are paid $66,600 and coroners are paid $22,100.  The proposed increase is calling for 20% for the first three levels and 15% for the lower three.  On another discussion of financing, county administrator, Jo Dorenkamp asked Taylor about the necessity of scheduling various seminars and meetings at such locations as Vail or Keystone resort areas while other locations could be less costly for those attending.  Taylor replied that the scheduling usually is off-season and at lower rates and although the cost of a banquet dinner may seem high, the user fees for facilities for various meetings and other accommodations is usually built into those costs, so it’s a trade off in the long run.  Taylor did recommend seeking out less high toned facilities for some regional rather than statewide meetings in the future. 

Howard Hobbs, Ph.D. and former professor of science at Lamar Community College, inquired about the feasibility of turning the former Senior Citizen’s Building on East Elm Street into a science oriented library for adults.  Hobbs said he had accumulated over 3,000 books devoted to the studies of various sciences, an assortment of related journals and periodicals as well as several dozen DVDs related to learning courses.  Administrator Dorenkamp said she’d set up a viewing time with Kirk Powers, county building operations manager to survey the facility and see if it would be appropriate for Professor Hobb’s idea.

By Russ Baldwin

Filed Under: AgricultureBusinessCommissionersCountyEconomyEventsFeaturedLamarPoliticsProwers County


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