Lamar City Council Discusses Bees, Fees and Asbestos

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City ordinances limit residents to only three dogs per residence, but the question arose about keeping bee hives within city limits.  Apparently some residents around 10th and Beech Streets have been bothered by bees, kept in several hives, to produce honey.  Their specific complaint, according to John Sutherland, Lamar City Administrator, was enough of the bees are found in neighboring yards, creating a nuisance for some property owners.  Some hives have been moved at neighbor’s requests, which has brought some relief and the council believed that no more than three hives per yard should be used to produce honey.  More than that, especially if the bees are searching for a water source, could become a problem.  It’s not a new situation as Sutherland said some letters on the matter had been sent to the city back in 2009.  Code Enforcement Officers have visited with the houses in question, but at this point, there are no official regulations pertaining to owning and operating bee hives as a business, but there are mentions for having a commercial operation create a nuisance for neighbors.  All parties will see if there is a mutually satisfying solution to the problem.

Lamar resident, Richard Maggart, brought the matter of derelict homes to the council’s attention, during the open discussion portion of the meeting.  “I’m wondering if the city has any recommendations on how best to eliminate some of these vacant houses in the community,” he asked.  Councilman Oscar Riley explained that it can cost as much as $15,000 for an asbestos abatement study and removal per house and the city doesn’t have the funding to more than a handful of houses per year.  Former city code inspector, Bobby Ward, before his retirement, would pursue grants from the state to help finance the demolition and shipping associated with an asbestos filled house or building.  Lamar Fire Chief, Marshall Cook, stated some time ago that because of insurance concerns, simply burning a house to the ground for a fire department exercise, was no longer an option due to the cost of premiums.  Roberto Becerril, who replaced Ward with the city, said he would look into potential grant sources to help fund any future projects.

The annual Chamber of Commerce and Parks & Rec. ice cream social and swim is set for this Thursday, July 31 at Willow Creek Park, starting at 6:30pm, a summer dance party will be held Friday, August 1 at the Cultural Events Center at 7pm, sponsored by the Lamar Public Library, the Sand and Sage Fair and Rodeo will be held this year, August 2 through the 10 and the parade is set for Saturday, August 9 at 10am.  The monthly informal council breakfast will be held Wednesday, August 6, from 7 to 8am at Subway.

A public hearing was held at the request of the Lamar Eagles for their Lodge’s application to secure a New Tavern Liquor License, replacing the current Club Liquor License.  The request was granted.  Lee Lirley, representing the lodge, explained that the switch was made to allow more social events to be hosted at the Eagles Lodge without the need of a special permit over the yearly limit of 15.

The council re-appointed Lauren Grasmick, PhD.  and Ms. Gerry Jenkins to the Victims & Witnesses Law Enforcement Board for three year terms expiring in 2017.

Fire Chief Marshall Cook requested a discount on the city’s ambulance standby fees for the 2014 Sand and Sage Fair Rodeo on behalf of the Fair Board.  Over a several year span, the council has approved a modified fee schedule, eliminating the ambulance only portion of $190 and paying for the hourly wages for part-time ambulance staff which monitor the rodeos.  The practice comes to $90 for ambulance services.

The Open Records Policy resolution for the City of Lamar was approved.  The resolution, based on a state bill passed on July 1, requires municipalities to have an Open Records Policy in place that has reasonable and standardized fees for all open records requests.

The council adopted a resolution regarding the city’s revised Safety Policy and Procedures to help reduce and eliminate accidents and work related injuries to all staff workers.  The council adjourned to executive session to discuss a personnel matter.

By Russ Baldwin

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