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City Council grapples with funding challenges, infrastructure debates

“As we near the last quarter, we are noting that three departments are either already over budget or will be over budget, rather than do everything in December, we would like to address it as it occurs.”

Denise Hanson

Finance Officer

With all members present, the Lennox City Council met Monday, Sept. 25 to discuss agenda items including capital improvement plans, contingency transfer resolutions and Windsong Place infrastructure.

The first order of business, City Administrator, Nate Vander Plaats introduced the Lennox Capital Improvement Plan which includes a project to repair drainage issues at the corner of Poplar and Prairie.

The City Engineer also recommends repairing a minor street issue at the corner of East Poplar Drive and South Poplar Street that is causing water to pond.

“The engineering for this project was approved earlier this year, with a contract maximum of $37,300. The project has now been designed and is under review by staff. The project’s estimated construction cost is $287,043.24, for a total project cost of approximately $325,000. In 2021, the project was initially forecast to cost approximately $95,000. That cost has changed due to drastic inflation, and due to the addition of the intersection of S Poplar Street and E Poplar Drive,” Vander Plaats said.

Proposed financing for this project must conform with Resolution 2020-10-26-02 – Public Infrastructure Financing Framework.

“This project could fall under several categories, but most accurately falls under the categories of drainage/storm sewer installation and replacement, as well as major street maintenance and repairs,” Vander Plaats said.

VanderPlaats proposed that $100,000 be taken from the Drainage Fund and $225,000 be taken from the Additional Tax fund. The Board agreed to table the motion so more research could be done to determine funding.

Finance Officer, Denise Hanson, requested a Contingency Transfer Resolution.

“As you will recall that the City of Lennox can only expend funds that are authorized by the City Council. As we near the last quarter, we are noting that three departments are either already over budget or will be over budget, rather than do everything in December, we would like to address it as it occurs,” she said.

Three departments, General Government, Legal, and the Community Center are all departments that will be over this year, so far. Unexpected flooding and concrete work are reasons for the request. With no opposition, motion approved.

The City of Lennox did not formally accept the Windsong Place infrastructure during a previous City Council meeting on August 13. At that meeting, Bill Daugherty provided a copy of a petition with signatures to convey Windsong Place to the City of Lennox.

“We are kind of at a standstill on this project, the plat has been ready for a while, but not all are ready to sign said plat,” Vander Plaats said.

Unsure how to move forward, Vander Plaats is looking for direction from the Council

“On one hand, the resolution the City Council adopted last October dedicated the infrastructure to the City, with that being said, if we don’t sell the plat, we take the two parcels that are currently under private ownership and give those over to the City to create the right of way,” Vander Plaats added.

There are concerns about snow removal for the upcoming winter and Vander Plaats is worried about what would happen if there were a water main break or other infrastructure concerns at the location.

“Without an easement or ownership of that land, I don’t have the authority to go out there and fix anything,” he said.

Sidewalks are a main concern for the residents in the area as some feel they are being forced upon the homeowners.

The Board agreed to look further into the matter to make sure all resolutions on infrastructure are the same going forward.


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