The City of Lennox will see a change in the finance office as Jerry Jones officially retired as finance officer at Monday night’s Lennox City Council meeting. In anticipation of the transition, Donna Houck was hired as finance officer at the end of August.
Houck comes to the position well qualified, having served as a community finance officer previously in Sioux City and more recently in Centerville; before that she was a certified public accountant.
She said Centerville was too small of a community for her, so she had been looking for something a little bigger and closer to the Sioux Falls area.
She lives in Centerville right now, but she hopes to sell her house this summer and move closer to Lennox.
Houck is originally from Sioux City. She spent a lot of time moving around after completing her degree from Black Hills State and passing her CPA exam in 1994. Her previous experience in the industry provides a nice foundation for her position in Lennox. “I’ve been an accountant for a long time, and done a lot of different types of accounting” she said, “but city government is a strange beast.”She added, “Cities aren’t really meant to be a for profit entity, their goal isn’t to make money like a corporation, it’s to provide the necessary services to its constituents. Sometimes that might mean losing money, you just hope that your tax base, your revenue base, continues to grow enough that you can support yourself.”
Houck thinks that Lennox is in a position that allows for growth, citing the good location geographically, near the metropolitan area. She also said there are strong people here, “I’m excited to work with Amanda, who is a strong City Administrator, and there’s some new blood on council interested in doing some good works for the city.”
Houck talked about the importance of citizen involvement.“Before I got into city government I didn’t pay attention, I couldn’t tell you who was on city council… but the truth is it’s really important. They are the people affecting your day to day lives; as far as day to day where your tax dollars are going, that’s your local council. As much as you want to please everybody you can’t,” she said. Houck says the financial challenges facing the city include needing to look at slowing down on some of the major projects and thinking about paying down the city’s debt.