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City Council addresses policy updates, secures grants for local initiatives

The Lennox City Council met Monday, Nov. 13 in the Lennox City Hall boardroom. Council members heard agenda items brought before them including updates to policies and procedures, grants for local businesses, dispatch service increases and more.

The City of Lennox has identified a need to update current policies and procedures. City Administrator, Nate Vander Plaats feels most of the updates are technical in nature and not substantive. Policies include changes in personnel including background checks on all full or part-time employees, revising mileage from the state to federal rate, cleaning up language in many departments, and many formatting changes.

“We’ve dealt with this every summer, lets formalize the process, let’s make this more defined and I’m not under any impression that means we’re not going to continue having issues every summer, but this is a policy that’s been cleaned up a couple of times now and you have something to point to, and this isn’t a everyone starts at zero right now,” Vander Plaats said.

Council members questioned Vander Plaats on specific penalties that are listed under the Parks and Rec portion of the updates, but there were none listed under the City Council.

“I just want to make sure that we are consistent, so do we want that spelled out where we leave it in,” Britney Mower said.

“When it comes to the code for ethical conduct for elected officials, I think important for the council to always understand that under SDCL 9-8, the Council judges it’s own members, if you want to determine that there be more or less severe penalties, that’s up to you to decide,” Vander Plaats remarked.

Motion approved.

The City of Lennox is seeking additional funding for preservation work at the Lennox Historical Museum.

“If you recall, we budgeted $150,000 for repairs next year at the museum, I’d like to offset that to the extent possible with some grants to reduce that cost for taxpayers. This foundation has an area focus on cultural preservation and Civic organizations that I think compliments the work that we’re seeking to do here. The grant request is for $20,000, most recently, one we received from BNSF swimming pool in 2019,” Vander Plaats said.

Motion approved.

The City of Lennox is seeking additional funding for the purchase of two Automatic External Defibrillators for the existing concession stands.

“This item was recommended by the Park Board at their October meeting. While we have AEDs located a many buildings, we do not have any in either of the concession stands in Westerman Park. This obviously poses an opportunity to improve safety for those attending games in our park. The purchase price is low enough we can fit it in our budget, but I would prefer to pursue some grants given that we have several months before we need the new AEDs,” Vander Plaats said.

Vander Plaats requested $1,300 per AED that will contain two LifePak AED, similar to the ones at the existing locations.

“If we don’t get this grant, there are others available, Avera and Sanford both have grant opportunities,” he said.

Motion approved.

The City’s contract with Lincoln County for dispatch services expires at the end of 2023. The City of Lennox and Lincoln County entered into an agreement in 2020 that secured dispatch services for Lennox.

“That agreement expires at the end of 2023, and Sheriff Swenson has provided a new agreement. This agreement doubles the cost per capita of dispatch services from $4/resident to $8/resident. Chief Ericksen requested Sheriff Swenson’s attendance at tonight’s meeting, and he declined. From my perspective, I would appreciate an explanation for the increase, particularly since the Lincoln County dispatch budget has increased only 19% since 2020,” said Vander Plaats.

“That being said, the amount is less than we would pay with other county dispatch systems, and far below the amount we would pay to employ our own dispatch system. Overall, we are more pleased with Lincoln County dispatch than we were three years ago, and the other communities have agreed to the new agreement,” Vander Plaats continued.

Motion approved.

Mongan Painting and Sandblasting have given a quote to the City of Lennox for repainting the swimming pool.

“We noticed this spring some areas in the pool that probably needed to have some attention. We did some touchups, and thought, let’s see how it goes through the summer and it weathered it fine, we don’t know how the winter’s going to do. Mangan, you might recall is the company that did the influence trough at the Wastewater Plant this summer, and they did a very good job. We naturally called them, and as it turns out, they are the ones that did the pool in the first place,” Vander Plaats said.

The lifetime of a paint job is between three to seven years for City pools.

“Next year will be out fifth year of doing so, so what you see in the proposal is what they would do for $43,750,” Vander Plaats said.

The Council agreed to look at other bid options and compare the pricing and needed repairs.


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