Lennox City Council began and ended with changes at Lennox City Hall. The first order of business on Monday night was to approve the appointment of Alan Ratliff to the Ward 2 alderman position vacated recently by Les Noonan. The last action of the evening was to “regretfully” accept the resignation of Public Works Director Greg Stack, who has accepted a position in Dickinson, ND.
Two visitors spoke at the beginning of the council meeting. Chad Wulf, representing the Park and Rec advisory board, spoke to the council about the Park Master Plan.
“We spent a lot of time with focus groups, other people…we are looking to take that next step, what kind of serious commitment can we get so we can take the next steps of finalizing our plans,” asked Wulf.
Wulf talked about the importance of the project and told the council the board was willing to work with them in any way they could.
Councilman Tracy West and Mayor Orville Wiebers assured them that they were moving forward. Finance Officer Jerry Jones has been looking at funding sources and two more companies have been invited to come and talk about the pool and bath house. “To see if the numbers we have are good,” said Wiebers.
Brock Rops also spoke in favor of the park plan saying, “This isn’t just about the pool, we think this is something that would set Lennox for the next three decades.”
The Park and Rec board wanted firm numbers to work with.
Later in the meeting, Jones gave more details on possible funding for the pool. With the fire truck paid off and the addition of the “bed and booze” tax, he estimated that the City would be able to come up with a payment that would allow for $1.5 million for the pool, without increasing taxes. It would be possible to increase that amount to $3 million, but that would require a $1.5 million bond and an increase in property taxes.
Jones explained that state law will only allow a certain increase in property taxes, limiting the bond amount that could be requested. The council would like to bring any bond directly to the voters to approve or deny. The Park and Rec board also thought it should be brought before the voters.
The council’s plan was to come up with definite numbers to be able to have a bond election in the spring of 2016. Jones said he hoped construction could begin in 2017.
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