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Lennox Council looks at 2018 budget

Monday night’s Lennox City Council meeting covered a myriad of topics. At the beginning of the meeting council heard from several visitors. Former councilman and long-time Lennox citizen Marlyn Jacobson raised concerns about the sale of the city wells.

The council has been considering the sale of the six city wells to South Lincoln Rural Water as the wells are no longer being used because the City purchases water from Lewis & Clark Regional Water System. The issue has been in discussion since about April of 2017. City Administrator Amanda Anglin said she has been speaking with the city attorney, bond council and is awaiting more information on the value of the wells.

Jacobson urged the council to consider the value of the water rights and not “give away” assets.

Another visitor addressed the council regarding a Conditional Use Permit from nearly ten years ago. The notice in question was unable to be located by the City or by the citizen. Al Osborn of Al’s Motorsickle Shop said at the time he started business he was told that he would be able to test drive the machines that he works on at his shop. He expressed frustration with local law enforcement.

The council moved on to other business, approving the consent agenda which included claims and payroll.

Under reports Anglin showed the council a Swimming Pool Survey that is published in this week’s Lennox Independent. She said this was just one way of distribution for the survey, citing there would also be other methods of distribution.

Anglin said the North Juniper Right of Way was given back to the citizen, and mentioned again she was working on getting more information regarding the sale of the city wells.

Anglin reminded the council that a gentleman from a company called Buxton will be in Lennox on September 12 at 6:00 p.m. to give a presentation. Buxton is a company that helps communities recruit new retail businesses and help retain current businesses. There was no cost to the city.

Anglin said the proposal from residents on Windsong Place was received and would be brought to council at a later date.

She also asked council if they were interested in attending a Municipal League conference in Sioux Falls.

Under the Engineer’s Report, Mitch Mergen of Stockwell Engineers said that as per the direction of the Council, they have stopped work on the pool project. He said they estimate they have completed 25% of the design services and have invoiced accordingly. In a letter to council he clarified that the most recent invoice included services for preparation and attendance of the public meeting on August 8, and that after review of their services and sub consultant services, the amount accrued is less than the amount invoiced.

Therefore, Stockwell has elected to reimburse the City the value equal to the difference of $2,886, which brings the total cost down to $34,614.

Also in Mergen’s report he addressed the Change Order #1 for the Main Street project which was in the amount of $12,446. This change order was tabled at the last meeting. After taking it off the table, Mergen explained that the change order created access to the Main Street businesses on the south end, the cost covered both the access to Dollar General and the businesses on the east side, The Dog House and Cowbells Cafe. Mergen said that neither of these accesses were included on the project bid because the properties denied temporary access, in which case they had to find access in the roadway. However, once the project started, this proved to be very inconvenient.

Council had given support to the change order as it was reported at the July 19 meeting, however the change order was estimated at a cost of $8,000 to $10,000. Mergen said he would go back to see if the cost could be adjusted. The council did not approve the Change Order #1.

The Payout #4 was approved as presented for the Main Street Project.

The project, which covers work on Main Street from Highway 44 to 4th Avenue is estimated to be two weeks behind schedule said Mergen. The underdrain and dirtwork are nearly complete. The contractor is expected to start placing gravel this week.

Mergen said the Chip Seal Project is also expected to begin Sept. 18th.

Reports were approved as presented.

Also under old business, the council received another application for a livestock permit from Alan Perry. At the last meeting his request to have six chickens was denied.

Councilman Brock Rops said he had visited with Perry and had looked at the coop and had no issue with the application.

Councilman John Kirchner added, “I appreciate that detail, that’s what I needed to see.”

The council approved the permit application

Jason Foss of the Lennox Park and Rec spoke to the council regarding the concession stand at the smaller ball fields. He shared plans and quotes for concrete. He wanted to get the support of the council for the project to move forward so that the LHS Building Class would be able to do the work this school year. The Park and Rec is paying $20,000 and the City of Lennox $20,000 for the project.

Kirchner said, “I make a motion to instruct the Park and Rec to move forward with the project and get us as much as we can for the $40,000 budget.”

Also in new business the council heard the first reading of Appropriation Ordinance #578 for 2018. Finance Officer Jerry Jones went through the 2018 appropriations and the 2018 budget spreadsheet. Jones expressed concern over the Sewer Fund, as it was lower than he wanted to see. The 2018 budget includes a $2.50 increase for sewer which is what Jones recommends. He would like to see the sewer rate at $50 within the next five years.

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