Kim Verhoeff Appointed Lamar Municipal Court Judge


Kim Verhoeff During City Council Interview

Kim Verhoeff During City Council Interview

Attorney Kim Verhoeff was the lone applicant to show interest in replacing Larry Stutler as the Municipal Court Judge for the City of Lamar. Stutler has tendered his resignation from the office effective December 31, 2014.  He has been the Municipal Court Judge since 2008 and following the November General Election, was set for another two year term, but as the judge for Prowers County.    Verhoeff has been practicing law since 1988 and in 1999 became the municipal judge for the Town of Holly.  “I’ll be happy to receive some initial directives from the city regarding the handling of the court,” she explained to the council during her interview at the Monday evening work session.  She said she believed there could be some leeway for first-time offenders for violations such as motor vehicle infractions or speeding, but didn’t look favorably on second time offenders.  Verhoeff said she didn’t see much of a conflict of interest with city interests and her lawyer’s firm.  “Most of my work has been representing children as their advocate in court,” she explained.  The council confirmed her appointment on a unanimous vote.

The Lamar Redevelopment Authority Board met prior to the regular council meeting to hear information from Shawna Hodge, Main Street Director regarding a potential restaurant for downtown Lamar. Hodge said interest has been shown in the former Main Café at 114 South Main Street which is presently owned by KVAY Radio.  Hodge said HGF Architects from Pueblo are proposing two floor plan concepts for a restaurant and associated construction costs.   Hodge stated this scope of work is required to determine needed funding in order to invest in the property.  The initial study is $1,450 and should be available by the end of this week.  “We feel such a new development would be a great enhancement to the value of downtown Lamar,” she said.  Hodge didn’t name any specific individuals, but added their plans call for refurbishment of the first floor, the restaurant would include a bar as well as an events room at the rear of the restaurant.  The second floor may be converted to living quarters, which she said, would require a zoning change and would not be an immediate development.  “Even if this proposal does not come through, the city will still have ownership of the architect plans for the restaurant design,” she added.  The council approved the funding.

Hodge mentioned other potential business developments for Lamar including a lady’s boutique which will occupy the former Amaya’s Monogams Plus at 211 South Main Street; a local motel has plans to increase their business operation by another 20 rooms and one current local business owner has invested $88,000 in private funds to expand their operation.

The council approved a replat request from DC Development owned by Chris Currell, to replat land in the residential district in Country Village, #3 Subdivision. The replat will create Lot 6, about four-tenths of an acre.  The replat, as explained by Roberto Becerril, the Planning and Community Development Director, is needed as Currell will be dedicating a 10 foot utility easement to the city along the west property line of Lot 6.

The council took action on several CIRSA city employee medical plans including optional coverage for accidental death and dismemberment for non-statutory volunteers not covered by the CWCA who do not receive monetary remuneration. The council authorized the Mayor to approve a new Worker’s Compensation Quote from CIRSA, accepting a $5,000 deductible and premium.

With the approach of the annual Holiday Basketball Tournament held at the Lamar Community Building in December, the council approved the annual agreement for police security details at a rate of $30 per hour/per officer, not to exceed $720.

Lamar Fire Chief Marshall Cook and Deputy Fire Chief, Jeremy Burkhart, detailed the department’s 50% cash match of $83,500 for a grant required to purchase a new ambulance. The low bid was from Johnson Auto Plaza and the cost to the City of Lamar will be $77,827 with the remaining half to be paid by the EMS grant.  Deadline dates require the ambulance to be bought now, but payment is not needed until delivery next year.  The purchase cost was built into the 2015 city budget at $90,000.  Cook offered some deserved praise for Burkhart’s efforts in developing the grant.  “We received word that there were 159 grant applications submitted throughout the state, and for a first-time effort, Jeremy’s application was rated 4th in the state,” he told the council.

Josh Cichocki, Water and Waste/Water Director, explained the city will receive an adjustment of $175,856 on a water infrastructure loan from the Colorado Water Conservation Board of $792,850. The loan was needed for the Raw Water Transmission Line Replacement Project.  The contract amendment reduced the size of the loan to $616,993.

City Administrator, John Sutherland, explained a proposal from CGI Communications Inc., to update, at no cost to the city, promotional videos of the City of Lamar. Sutherland stated CGI has done work for the city in the past, but some of the videos have become dated.  CGI pays for the cost of filming through local business sponsorships.  Even if no outlets decide to advertise, the videos will still be produced and made available to the city for future use.

Chris Currell was appointed to the city’s Board of Appeals and Adjustments, filling a vacancy on the board. The unexpired term will run until July 1, 2019.  The board made their recommendation to the city council on November 3.

The Council closed the regular meeting with an executive session conference with the City Attorney to receive advice on specific legal questions regarding ARPA litigation.

By Russ Baldwin

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