By Garrett Ammesmaki
The City of Lennox City Council met for a brief meeting July 11 that ended with multiple discussions tabled and little action taken.
Commissioners approved the consent agenda, as well as the third payment for construction on Boynton Avenue. Most of the meeting was spent discussing items that would be tabled for a later date.
A tabled conversation involved a misunderstanding between the city and the South Dakota Department of Transportation on a $400,000 grant. The SDDOT TAP grant would go toward construction of the recreational trail portion of the Boynton Avenue project.
While the city had already designed and scheduled construction of the recreational trail, the grant agreement dictated that SDDOT would design, bid and construct the trail, according to a memo from City Administrator Nate Vander Plaats.
While the city had informed the DOT that construction for the trail was scheduled and design had already been completed “our DOT program representative understood that we were moving forward on all aspects of the project with the exception of the recreational trail,” Vander Plaats wrote in the memo. “In short, both parties were under different impressions as to the status of the project, and failed to recognize it.”
Vander Plaats suggested terminating the agreement, but the conversation was tabled to figure out if there were any other uses the TAP grant funds could be allocated for.
Conversation on renewing the special maintenance fee was tabled so City Commissioners could discuss whether or not they will keep schools and non-profit businesses exempt from the fee, or if they should increase the fee.
The special maintenance fee was started in 2020, and is collected yearly. The City of Lennox must approve the resolution each year. As of now, the resolution charges $1 per frontage foot for homes and businesses.
The first collection of the fee in 2021 amounted to roughly $70,000, according to a memo from Vander Plaats.
The third payment for the Boynton Avenue project was approved for the amount of $512,929.62 to Stockwell Engineers, Inc. The contractor is Holstein Excavating, Inc.
Utility work is completed between Poplar Street and Highway 17, according to the July 11 engineer’s report. Underground crews have moved between Juniper Street and Poplar Street, with utilities expected to be complete within the coming weeks.
Box culverts are scheduled to be delivered to the site east of Poplar Street in the coming weeks.
The only work remaining along Ash Street is seeding.
Concrete paving along Main Street is ahead of schedule. Work began July 12 and will continue over several weeks.
Survey work for the Central Basin Phase 4 is scheduled to begin in early August. Property owners effected by the work will be notified beforehand.
A report from Vander Plaats shows community support for the city council is on a downward trend.
“Last month, I reported that we were likely nearing a baseline, but that no longer appears to be the case,” Vander Plaats said in a memo to the city.
In response, he held a Facebook Live Q&A on July 13 to field questions from the community. Vander Plaats said, that while the city has held in-person events for some time, attendance has been “sparse or even non-existent.” He also created an Instagram page for The City of Lennox.