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Lennox’s water and sewer rate changes take affect this summer

Lennox Council held their final meeting of May on Tuesday, May 28 due to the Memorial Day holiday. Under visitors to be heard, Dave Strasser addressed the board regarding his concern that the “no dynamic air breaking” sign is not enforced. Strasser resides on the north side of Lennox.

Minutes were approved with the addition of the park and rec committee meeting. Claims were approved with the exception of the C Dillion Digging claim, which was addressed later in the meeting.

Under reports, City Administrator Nathan Vander Plaats presented a slide show that showcased a tax and utility rate comparative analysis. The entire Power Point is available online here. Vander Plaats said that the city rates were pretty average, higher than some and lower than some. Regarding taxes, he said that Lennox does not have a high retail base.

When looking at rates, he stated that the surcharges for the debt service is what drives the city’s up. Council approved the report.

Under old business the council approved Title II: Council Policies and Procedures. The Policies and Procedures are not a replacement for the approved ordinances of the City of Lennox; but they are a supplement to them, in that guidance and procedures are laid out for conducting the City’s business. One of the take-aways was that communication between City Council and City Employees must be directed through the City Administrator’s office in all cases.

Under new business, the City of Lennox recently received a Petition for Annexation from the owners of Tract 2 in the Countryside Addition (future housing development on the north side of Lennox). This Tract is the final piece of the new Countryside Residential Development. Tuesday, Council approved Resolution #2019-5-28-01, annexing the Countryside Addition Tract 2.

Next on the agenda, the Council took a look at the water and sewer rates. In a memo from City Administrator Vander Plaats, it was stated the City of Lennox must increase water and sewer rates, as approved in the Fiscal Year 2019 budget, and must apply current surcharges to all properties throughout the year.

Resolution 2019-5-28-02 – Water and Sewer Charges resolves those two issues: first, the FY 2019 budget included base rate increases of 2% for water and 10% for sewer. These increases were to take effect in June, per the notes from the previous Finance Officer. And two, the surcharges currently billed to residents each month are amounts that are required to be billed to each property throughout the year. The previous Finance Officer had discovered that some properties did not pay the surcharge during the winter months, as they winter in warmer climate during the winter and were not occupying the property at that time.

The City’s billing of surcharges to all properties is a requirement of the loan obligations, as the surcharge is the security against the debt of several water and sewer improvements over the years.

Vander Plaats stated, “We must apply the surcharges to all properties regardless of the use of water.”

Council approved the resolution, which lists:

As of July 1, 2019, the monthly surcharges for water and sewer are as follows: Water - $17.75, Sewer - $20.80.

As of June 1, 2019, the monthly base rates for water and sewer are as follows: Water – $1.53, Sewer - $33.66.

The minimum charge to be collected from said water and sewer customer during the months their water service has been turned off shall be $38.55 per month.

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