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City Council wraps up 2023 with decisions on comprehensive plan, project payments

The Lennox City Council met Wednesday, Dec. 27 in the Lennox City Boardroom. With all members present, council members heard agenda items including comprehensive plans, new resolutions, and pay applications.

The first item on the agenda was a public hearing on the Lennox Comprehensive Plan. 

“Mayor and Council, tonight is what I hope is the final step of the Comprehensive Plan re-write that we took this year, this was a process that started off in April with a committee that was appointed by the mayor. The final pieces we are waiting on are the mapping, which includes land use, major street plans and so on and so forth,” said City Administrator, Nate Vander Plaats. 

Vander Plaats shared with the Council that while a decision may not be made, there are looking for a community vision and mission. 

“It’s in here as a place holder and I think it deserves some discussion,” he said. 

The council agreed to approve the current Comprehensive Plan and would revisit the vision and missions of the City at a later date. The Council was asked for a motion to approve a change order and a motion to approve the Pay Application 2 for the 2023 Slurry Seal project. 

“Mayor and Council, we have a slew of change orders and pay applications here, the Change Order #2 is just final quantities, and you’ll note that we requested two streets come off of the slurry seal. The first one is First Avenue because that needed to be open for access during the project, and Independent Street, we had some challenges with the contractor and the construction folks,” Vander Plaats said. 

The total project came in under budget with the two street removals. Motion approved. The second payment was for the pool parking lot. 

“This will close out the pool parking lot project. You will notice some adjustments to quantities on the change order, as well as the additional project improvements, you recall that that was the new concrete pad at the swimming pool inside the pool fence, replacing a grass area. We did have some asphalt deductions for some failing asphalt density tests, and that was just over $3,600. Net increase of the change order is $28,390 and change,” he said.  Motion approved.

The third pay application was for the Boynton Avenue project. 

“Final inspection was completed and all items are wrapped up, everything looked good and I do want to point out that the final contract amount which is about $500,000 under the initial contract amount, some of that was due to cost savings from pulling out some landscaping and I think a decorative monuments landscaping, and we did even outside of that come in under the expected costs,” Vander Plaats said. Motion approved.

VanderPlaats brought forward Resolution 2023-12-27-01 on wages and salaries. 

The South Dakota Codified Laws require municipalities to publish salaries and wages in January of each year. 

“This resolution sets those salaries and wages for the fiscal year beginning on January 1, 2024. The increases for those wages and salaries are determined in two ways, the cost of living adjustment which we determined this year to be 2.9 percent, and merit increases that are based on performance evaluations and there is scoring criteria there,” Vander Plaats said. 

Motion approved.

Resolution 2023-12-27-02 was brought before the council. This resolution will establish fees and fines for the upcoming year. 

“The changes that have been proposed are that fees are updated for bulk water and that’s a significant increase, we’ve known for a while that that needs to change it’s been $1.85 for 1,000 gallons for a very long time, so this is meant to reflect the actual cost that a person would pay, but also includes the expense of setting up the meter, keeping it live, invoicing whoever is getting the bulk water, it’s a bit of a hassle of us to make that happen. The other major changes are we included a development plan review fee because I think that’s going to be something that we need to keep in mind in future years as this becomes more of a common occurrence. There are also major changes to for the parks and rec program. Those fees have not increased in many years, even though the expenses have. The increases proposed are about a 23 percent since the last increase,” he said. 

Motion approved.

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