Lamar City Council Sets Public Meeting Dates for ARPA Discussion

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Several public hearings were set by the Lamar City Council during their Monday evening meeting, two of which will focus on developments regarding ARPA, Arkansas River Power Authority.  Mayor Roger Stagner said he hoped citizens with concerns about ARPA and the Lamar Repowering Project will attend one of the two meetings set for the Lamar Community Building on June 25 and 30 at 7pm.  Stagner and the council agreed it was imperative that the public become informed about recent developments and the probable future of the coal fired plant.  “Enough people started talking about the project and asking for answers to the point that these meetings were finally held,” he said.  The council will host a meeting for the general public to put forward their questions and recommendations about what steps the council can take regarding ARPA.  The first meeting is set for 6pm, Wednesday, July 2 and will probably be held at the Cultural Events Center, pending its availability.  The next special council meeting after that will be held on Tuesday, July 8, also at 6pm.  It is very possible, according to Mayor Stagner and Councilman Ron Cook, that the council will go into executive session for legal discussions and may take action on any decisions derived during the private session.  Under state statutes, a governing body can not take any action in executive session.  Discussions may be held in private, but any action from those discussions must be made before the public.

The request for a beer garden, made by the Lamar Partnership Incorporated, was approved by the council.  LPI plans to hold what’s called the “Hotter than Hell” music festival on July 19th, from 11am to 10pm on East Beech Street.  LPI Executive Director said a host of merchandise and food vendors will set up their booths through the day.  The featured group is Soul Salvation out of Denver and the music featured will favor classic rock, Latin and blues.

Several other public hearings were scheduled by the council on similar requests, one for July 14 for a special request to hold a beer garden during the annual Lamar Chamber Oktoberfest on October 4 and three special events applications for the Lamar Eagles Lodge.  That public hearing is set for July 28 for a permit for a Rodeo Dance on August 9, a wedding on August 30 and the annual Hospice Benefit Event on September 20.

The annual contract from the State of Colorado for independent contractor services for the Lamar Welcome Center was approved for the year 2014-2015.  Leslie Stagner has replaced Judy Douglass as the manager.  Douglass is retiring after 14 years in that position and a come and go reception for both women is set for June 27 between 1pm and 4pm at the Center.

The annual concession agreement between the city and the Lamar Savage Booster Club was approved.  The City of Lamar will receive 8% of the net income for the 2014-2015 year.  Jill Bellomy, president of the Lamar Girls 18 & U softball team, was awarded the concession stand contract at the city ball field complex.  The profits will be used to defray expenses from the girls 18&U softball team through their season.   The city will receive 5% of the generated income for 2014.  Bellomy’s bid was the only one received by the city.  The Lamarlin Swim Team was granted their request for overnight camping in Willow Creek Park July 25-27 to accommodate visitors competing in the Regional Valley Swim Meet.

Kristin Rau, Lamar City Treasurer, is working on a procedural manual for her department.  She informed the council that apparently there is no guidebook, manual or handbook for a treasurer to follow.  She asked the council to adopt a resolution for the city’s financial management policies.  The council approved the request and the finalized work from Rau will be combined with the other financial policies already adopted for various departments.  Rau said the policy has been reviewed by the city attorney, mayor, city administrator and city clerk as well as Rubin Brown, the firm of auditors used by the city.

In other action, City Administrator, John Sutherland wanted to allay any rumors circulating around the city on street repairs.  He was emphatic that any of the streets currently undergoing upgrades will be completed and not left as-is.  Sutherland said city crews had been surprised when they discovered that some overlays were only an inch deep before crews hit dirt.  He admitted that put a crimp in the current annual budget for repairs set at $300,000 for this year, almost double of what was allocated in 2013.  Sutherland said the council will attempt to fund more money for needed repairs for next year.  He also reminded the council and audience of the annual bike to work day between 7am to 8am at the Lamar Community Building, Wednesday, June 25, the City Council monthly breakfast at McDonalds on Wednesday, July 2 and that city offices will be closed Friday, July 4, for the traditional holiday.

By Russ Baldwin

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