Council Interviews Candidates for Ron Cook’s Seat


Mayor Roger Stagner Presents Ron Cook with Plaque

Mayor Roger Stagner Presents Ron Cook with Plaque

The Lamar City Council interviewed two candidates, Felix Dias and Jim Faull as a replacement for Councilman Ron Cook for representation of District 3 in the city during the January 12 meeting.    The council had 30 days to advertise for the open seat since Cook tendered a resignation letter as he is moving from the City Complex to the County Courthouse where he will begin his first term as a County Commissioner.  Faull just recently retired from serving 16 years as the Prowers County Sheriff.  Dias, a longtime Lamar resident, is employed at Dragon Industries, and is involved as a sports coach for area youth and has volunteered in the Toys for Tots and Food for Families annual event.  Mayor Roger Stagner remarked that he was impressed with having two candidates for the position, “I wish we had 20 show up, but it’s nice to see our residents come forward to represent their town,” he added.  The council will make a determination by the January 26 meeting.

Judge Stutler Presented with Plaque for Service to the City

Judge Stutler Presented with Plaque for Service to the City

Another change was noted by the council as they presented Judge Larry Stutler with an appreciation award for his years of service to the city as the municipal court judge since 2008.  Attorney Kim Verhoeff was recently selected by the city to serve as the municipal court judge.  Stutler will continue his judgeship duties with the county’s legal offices.  It was noted that Kim Verhoeff, Stutler’s replacement, would like to hold Municipal Court on Fridays.

Officers Clevenger and Williamson

Officers Clevenger and Williamson

The city gained two new Lamar Police Officers.  Tanisha Clevenger and Don Williamson were sworn in to the department.  Both are undergoing additional training with fulltime officers until such time as they are certified to go solo.

Corner Wine and Liquor at 1201 South Main Street in Lamar has changed ownership to Rodney and Gail Schroeder who applied for a Transfer of Ownership/Retail Liquor Store License.  The council held a public hearing on the transfer application and following the hearing, recommended the change be approved.  There was some general concern expressed over the lack of a certified local instructor for TIP training for liquor establishments.  Trainers offer a course detailing how to determine underage clientele and how to set limits for patrons so they don’t over-indulge among other safeguards.  The cost of training, according to Lamar City Clerk, Linda Williams, can run as high as $1,000 to $1,500.  “These courses are provided in two, eight hour classes,” she explained.  A suggestion was made to contact PCDI which has held other business related certification seminars, to see if they could set up a similar classroom to provide instruction for liquor sales clerks or bartenders as a whole.

Emily Neischburg provided council members with an update on a $1M GoCO grant application for the proposed Lamar Loop, initiated by Healthy Places and LiveWell Prowers County.  Neischburg, the project director, outlined the scope of the seven mile walking trail and how its development will improve various aspects of the quality of life for Lamar residents, from economics to recent efforts to reduce obesity in the county’s youth.  A more comprehensive presentation was made to the area during a Healthy Places update and may be read on The Prowers Journal website.

All Rite Paving and Crossfire Aggregate Services were each awarded bids to supply the city with a variety of road construction materials.  This is an annual selective bid process in which the city will make awards through the coming year on separate items on an as-needed basis to each of the firms.

Interim Lamar Police Chief, Kyle Miller, described the need for new job descriptions for the rank of Sergeant within the police department.  City Administrator, John Sutherland, added that this will alter the command structure in the department, “The sergeants will have more command responsibilities now than they did in the past,” he explained.  The department has undergone reorganization of personnel and job duties and with regard to the Sergeant’s responsibilities; the job description needs to be amended to reflect the new job requirements as noted for the Police Administrative Sergeant and the Police Detective Sergeant and Patrol Sergeant.  The council approved the request.

Another change in a separate department was presented to the council for action.  In the two years since the city revised its compensation plan at the recommendation of a consulting firm following its study, several classifications in the fire and ambulance department have had a higher than usual turnover rate.  One problem has been the ability to recruit and retain good candidates for Emergency Services Communicator and Fire Engineer/EMT-Intermediate, attributed mostly to pay scales.  The consulting firm recommended changes for those departments which were evaluated and altered by the council.

On other matters, Sutherland remarked that CDOT has allowed full access for the street connection for East Highway 50 and Camino de Santa Fe.  “The access permit has been approved by the state and we’ll be ready to place the drainpipe at the site once the weather turns warmer for the rest of the project,” he stated.  Sutherland also noted he’s made several inquiries to Charter Communications, the local cable provider, as to when they intend to sign their new contract agreement with the City of Lamar.  To date, Sutherland said, his calls and emails to their representative have not been returned.  The contract was okayed by the council this past September, but the company has obviously been slow to respond.

Rust and Aging Protective Coating

Rust and Aging Protective Coating

One other matter was briefly mentioned.  Sutherland said he’s found a solution to improve the appearance of the steam engine at the Chamber of Commerce office.  A full cosmetic job on rusting spots, especially at the front of the engine is too costly.  Sutherland explained, “I’ve contacted the welding department at Lamar Community College and their instructor believes the students can take on the repairs as a class project.  They’ll scrape off that orange colored foam used to fill the rusting spots and replace it with sheet metal.”

The council went into executive session for a conference with the city attorney regarding negotiations with ARPA, Arkansas River Power Authority.  A mediation hearing involving the city and the regional power supply company is scheduled for later this week in Denver.

By Russ Baldwin



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