Lamar Fire Chief Jeremy Burkhart posed during the 12thth council meeting. Burkhart explained the new civil protection classification as of December 1stSt this year will be 02/2X based on an analysis of the structural fire suppression system for the city. An ISO rating is based on various factors related to firefighting capability in a community and impacts the rates paid by insurance customers.
The chief said part of the study found that the Lamar FS 3 fire station was not recognized and therefore did not meet the minimum requirements for recognition. However, the department was rated very highly overall: “We have been recognized by thousands of communities across the country as being in the top 4% for our overall firefighting efforts,” he told the council. Burkhart said the city improved from 5 to 3 in 2015 and is now rated at ISO level 2.
The council continues to discuss tiny home regulations several times in various past meetings. The council has now decided to wait until next year for the regulations to come into force, when the state has issued specific guidelines for construction. Based on Appendix Q, which is currently being developed by the state legislature, several recommendations have been made that apply to Lamar’s needs. These include a minimum building size of 400 square feet with a minimum room size of 120 square feet, water and sewer lines must be connected to the city and electrically connected to city lights and electricity, all utility lines must be connected before the houses are occupied only as RV zone, no wheels on the Tiny Home and it must be mounted on a permanent foundation. According to Mark Westoff, who has contacted the council on behalf of his small home builder, the issue is about the size restrictions on the homes. His company can’t build more than 400 square feet, while Lamar’s standards dictate up to 1,000 square feet for residential construction. The council will continue to study the parameters but will not act until state legislatures have completed their determinations.
The City of Lamar launched a discussion about developing the best marketing tools for itself and recommended Martha Alvarez, the city’s Marketing and Communications Director, to work toward the adoption of a branding policy. Lamar plans to take steps to identify a brand that best defines the city’s identity that can differentiate Lamar from other communities. However, after an earlier working session, the Council decided that additional discussions will focus more on how to determine this future mark. The council also proposed a development to revise and enact a new social media policy that uses a disclaimer page that sets standards for user behavior and allows the city to take action against disruptive users. Some concerns were raised regarding obscene comments, libelous or defamatory comments, specific or imminent threats, or those inciting illegal activities. City Attorney Lance Clark said he will review the social media guidelines for state compliance guidelines and will consult with the Colorado Municipal League for additional information.
The City of Pueblo Airport is donating a Crafco Crack Fill machine to Southeast Colorado Regional Airport for use in road maintenance. Lamar was notified of the donation by CDOT Aeronautics, which originally purchased the equipment. The council approved the donation through a release and debt waiver agreement.
The council upheld an earlier telephone poll to approve the Colorado Department of Health and Environment’s annual $10,000 funding request for the county’s emergency medical services, which will be used to supplement medical director pay and to recruit and retain volunteers will.
After a public hearing for a special events liquor permit for the Lamar Chamber of Commerce, the council unanimously approved the chamber’s request to host a beer garden on October 1 during its annual Oktoberfest on East Beech Street.
Judy Arnold and Dewey Norfleet were reelected to the Lamar Tree Board of Directors for three-year terms, Joyce Reedy for a three-year term, and Nancy Idler for a two-year term. Gene Cruikshank will replace Robert Nickelson on the Water Advisory Board for a five-year term. Earl Hawkins was reappointed to the Variance Board/Building Codes for a five-year term.
The council accepted the offer for the provisional contribution to workers’ compensation from the municipal risk insurance institution CIRSA. The 2023 listing is $173,996 compared to the 2022 listing of $183,952. Property and casualty coverage was also accepted at $581,998 in 2023 compared to $536,990 for 2022.
The Council approved a motion to ratify the adoption of Resolution 22-09-01 on participation in the 2022 general election on November 8 this year.
Former Councilman Oscar Riley served on his community council for ten years, from March 2012 until his recent death last week. Lamar Mayor Crespin presented his widow, LaRoyce Riley, and family members with his councilman’s name tag, his official photograph of the councilman, and a plaque in recognition of his service.
The environmental study for the proposed Arby’s restaurant in Lamar will continue for two months as RB Colorado LLC Corporation has applied for and received an extension through a second amendment to purchase the property at 1002 North Main Street. Lamar Mayor Kirk Crespin reiterated that the project is still on track and the 60-day extension will allow the environmental assessment to complete its study.
Crespin and City Manager Rob Evans noted the city has been in talks with the owner of the Lamar Inn, which was badly damaged by a storm last year and has since closed. “We are working on a phase one environmental impact study on concerns about the level of asbestos in the structure,” he noted, adding that since the inn is privately owned, the city is limited in any actions it can take on the matter.
The Council entered the Executive Session to discuss personnel matters per CRS 24-06-402(4)(f) City Council Vacancy.
By Russ Baldwin