New Fee Schedule for 2014 Approved by Lamar City Council

City of Lamar Logo WideAfter several work sessions reviewing the changes, a Resolution by the council pertaining to the list of 2014 fees for use of public facilities and services provided by the City of Lamar was passed by the council with Mayor Roger Stagner voting no.  Some new fees were added to the schedule while some current fees were either increased or reduced.  Some of the areas for fee changes included Zoning and Planning including a Fence Permit, Concrete Work and Moving of Structures such as a single wide mobile home.  Some fees were increased for usage of picnic tables, bleachers or sound systems and stage.  Some new fees were added to Ambulance Transport, there will be some minor increases in water fees based on meter size, and new fees to cover costs of E-Waste Dumping. 

The Zonta Club of Prowers County is participating with 1,200 clubs in 65 countries in the 16 Days of Activism Against Gender Violence and the Zonta Says No campaign. A proclamation read by Debbie Reynolds to the council was passed to that effect, recognizing the official dates as November 25 for International Day to Eliminate Violence Against Women to International Human Rights Day on December 10, during which individuals can wear orange ribbons to show their support of the global movement. Downtown Main Street in Lamar and participating businesses will be decorated with orange ribbons and posters to bring awareness to the problem.  The 318 victims of violence in the 15th Judicial District will be remembered through hanging one silhouette for each victim in the lobby of the Lamar City Complex. 

The Lamar City Council approved a new stipend policy for volunteer firefighters. Lamar Fire Chief Marshall Cook explained this action follows new laws pertaining to collective bargaining by the State Legislature. The council directed staff to transition the city’s part-time fire department members back to volunteer status with the understanding that stipends would continue to be paid. The payments are for attending training sessions and structure fires without putting their volunteer status in jeopardy. This policy will not apply to EMS responders as they are still classified as part-time employees.  The breakdown calls for $16 to be paid to each volunteer who responds to an initial response on a structure fire.  Each firefighter will receive a flat rate of $10 when an initial response exceeds two hours.  Volunteers who attend fire training sessions will be paid a flat rate of $16. 

The council awarded a bid for reconstruction and a portion of the apron and taxiway at the Lamar Municipal Airport, as well as construction of a full spill prevention basin. Two bids were submitted and the low bidder was Concrete Works at $619,980. The low bid is $228,337 below the engineer’s estimate of $848,317.  The city’s in kind portion of the project, according to Pat Mason, Public Works Director, will be at least $19,458, but could be less based on the low bid.  The city will demolish the current spill containment area to make way for the replacement. 

With the change in line up of the city council from the last meeting, the council addressed which members would act as liaison to various boards and commissions. Ron Cook replaced Keith Nidey on the city council.  Members will review their current boards and determine if they wish to make any changes at the next council meeting.

The council approved a grant contract for $200,000 from the Colorado Water Conservation Board. This amount will go toward the cost of the city’s south well-field transmission line replacement project.  Once some minor contract language has been changed, the project is expected to begin in December. 

Administrator Sutherland had an optimistic report on a recent CDOT meeting he attended in La Junta.  The listening session, hosted by CDOT Executive Director Don Hunt and Commissioner for Southeast Colorado Bill Thibeaut, focused in part on the willingness of the City of Lamar to “get behind” a plan for improvements to Main Street over the next five years.  While the Reliever Route will not be financed by FASTER funding, Sutherland said CDOT was interested in improving Main Street for safety concerns in the downtown sector, as well as what type of in-kind services could be provided to rebuild the roadway over the next half decade.  Some ideas discussed was the elimination of the median along Main Street as well as overhead power lines.

Administrator Sutherland reminded the council that city offices would be closed this Thursday and Friday for the Thanksgiving holiday. The council will hold their monthly informal breakfast meeting Wednesday, December 4 from 7 to 8am at Brew Unto Others coffee shop, downtown Lamar. The annual Parade of Lights will begin at 6:30pm on Friday, December 6, with this year’s theme, “Through the Eyes of a Child”. Registration forms for float entries are available from the Lamar Chamber of Commerce. The annual Candy Cane Festival will be held in Lamar on Saturday, December 7 through the day with numerous retail outlets in Lamar participating. 

Gordon Guihen was appointed to the Lamar Housing Authority Board for a five year term expiring on June 2, 2018. This fills one of two vacancies on the board at this time.

By Russ Baldwin

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