Lamar Council Okays Funding to Support Southwest Chief Route

Officer Thomas Dunagan

Officer Thomas Dunagan

Lamar Police Chief Kyle Miller gave the oath of office to the city’s newest officer, Thomas Dunagan, who recently graduated from the Otero Junior College Law Enforcement Agency.  He began his orientation training in Lamar on April 30 of this year.  “With Officer Dunagan’s hiring, we’re now at our budgeted strength of 20 officers for the department,” stated City Administrator, John Sutherland, who added, “The City has a good, professional police department.”  The council also approved the promotion of Interim Chief, Jeremy Burkhart to full time Chief status.  Burkhart has been acting as Interim Fire Chief since the departure of Marshall Cook earlier this year.

June 8, 2015 was selected for a public hearing for a special event permit for the Lamar Partnership Incorporated.  The organization has requested a permit to host a beer garden for the second annual Hotter than Hell Music Festival, scheduled for July 18th from 3pm to 10pm on East Beech Street in Lamar.  Other events for the music festival will begin at 11am.

The council approved a continuing master service agreement with SECOM for an E rate reimbursement for fees for the internet and telephone services for libraries and schools.  The new contract is now required as part of the application agreement between the service provider and the Lamar Public Library.  SECOM will provide services for the library through June 30, 2016 under the new agreement.

Amtrak Pulling in to Lamar Station

Amtrak Pulling in to Lamar Station

A letter in support of requesting $1,000,000 from CDOT as their participation in the TIGER VII grant was approved by the city council.  Various Colorado and Kansas communities created a coalition with several New Mexico towns to raise funds to help save the Southwest Chief railroad route through an earlier U.S. TIGER VI grant.  Member city, La Junta, has indicated proposed support from Raton and Las Vegas, New Mexico and suggested the coalition contact CDOT for mass transit funds to help save the rail line.  An additional sum is being requested from the Kansas Department of Transportation for the grant match.  The council also authorized $12,500 as its share of the grant match for 2016 as well as the letter of support.

Several events were noted by City Administrator, John Sutherland, including those connected to this weekend’s Lamar Days activities, including the Friday breakfast at the Lamar Eagles beginning at 6:45am, The Lion’s breakfast on Saturday from 6pm to 9am, the Lamar Days Parade at 10am along East Olive Street and the Annual Rod Run and Car Show Friday and Saturday, beginning with the No Booze Cruise on Friday evening from Sonic Drive In.  Sutherland reminded the council that city offices will be closed Monday, May 25 for Memorial Day and the council’s next regular meeting will be the following day on the 26th.

Two council members presented liaison reports:  Gerry Jenkins stated that PCDI, Prowers County Development Incorporated had received a letter of resignation from board member, Deb Choate of Granada.  Choate stated her main reasons for her resignation as entering into new responsibilities with her employment, although she appreciated the time spent on the board, working with the PCDI Directors.  Councilwoman Bev Haggard reminded the council that Ports to Plains will hold a summer conference in Lamar on July 15 with some 75 to 100 persons expected to attend.

Leonard Pruett was re-appointed to the Lamar Water Board for a five year term, expiring February, 2020.  The council went into executive session to discuss strategy for negotiations regarding ARPA, Arkansas River Power Authority and provide instructions to its designated negotiator.

By Russ Baldwin

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