Council met September 14 for their first regular meeting of the month. Council made minor adjustments to the agenda before approval.
With no visitors to be heard, the consent agenda was approved, which included the minutes of previous meetings, claims and reports from the City Administrator, City Engineer and Finance.
Within the City Administrator’s report, Nathan Vander Plaats stated, “Work on Central Basin 3 continues to make steady progress. All utilities have been installed on Cedar Street and 2nd Avenue west of Juniper Street. Current work by Slowey is focused on installing the last of the underground utilities on Juniper Street. Much of the concrete on the completed sections has been completed, with sidewalks and driveway approaches installed on 2nd Avenue and Cedar Street. Valley gutters were poured this week. I am hopeful that we will see asphalt on these streets soon.”
Under old business, Resolution 2020-8-10-01: Special Maintenance Fee was discussed again. City Administrator Vander Plaats spoke on the topic, stating that over the course of the past several weeks, he has discussed the proposed fee with several members of the City Council, the City Engineer, and several Lennox residents.
In his memo he said, “I want to be clear that even if the fee of $2.50/linear frontage foot is used only for maintenance, the fee is still set appropriately. In discussion with the City Engineer, it has been clear that$2.50/linear frontage foot will allow the City to provide an appropriate slurry seal and mill and overlay maintenance program.”
He provided comparisons of other communities that do not have special maintenance fees but showed larger 2019 sales tax revenues than Lennox. See chart below.
Vander Plaats said, “I have also heard concerns that this revenue may be used elsewhere and not be dedicated toward maintenance and repair of streets. To alleviate these concerns, I have amended the resolution to direct the Finance Officer to create a restricted use fund into which the revenues will be deposited. This restricted use fund will be named ‘Street Maintenance & Repair Fund.’”
Several council members shared that they have heard from community members that there is support for a fee but not at the rate proposed.
Council member Bill Daugherty suggested starting with a smaller amount and see how the fund was handled.
Council member Brock Rops agreed that there has to be some kind of fee. He also said there should be focus on increasing the community tax base by drawing more industry and businesses to the community.
Mayor Stacy DuChene said that although Harrisburg is increasing their maintenance fee, they have done so by increasing about a quarter per year.
Council member Rops made a motion to approve Resolution 2020-8-10-01: Special Maintenance Fee with the amended fee of $1.00/linear frontage foot and amended to create the Special Maintenance Fund. The Resolution was approved.
Council approved the second reading of Ordinance 612, this allows Park Board members to reside outside of city limits.
Under new business, Railroad Avenue Discussion was brought up.
Property owner Rob Huber was there to speak about his plan for Railroad Avenue between Main Street and Elm Street. He proposes vacating the gravel road (Railroad Avenue) and putting in a walkway, like the walking path on HWY. 17. The site plan is available online (https://go.boarddocs.com/sd/col/Board.nsf/Public).
Council member Chad Reilly brought up that if Huber was required to put in curb and gutter when he improved the property the city shouldn’t have any part of paying for concrete.
Council members said the adjoining property owners should be contacted about interest in vacating the street. Huber said he would try to reach out to them.
Council approved the Special Event Permit for the Lennox High School Homecoming Parade, the route can be found on page 10 of this week’s paper.
Council approved the Pre-Annexation Agreement pending the county’s input, for property near the golf course owned by Rosie Doorn. Doorn needed approval from the City of Lennox to sub-divide his property and sell a portion to an adjoining property owner, Michael Ford.
Vander Plaats said, “Over the course of the last several months, we have come to an agreement that is consistent with the City’s subdivision regulations. This agreement has been approved by the City Attorney and the City Engineer.”
Council approved the Central Basin 3 Pay Application #4.
Council approved the Central Basin 3 Change Order 1, reducing the project limits to keep within budget. The change order reduced cost by $222,225.00. Council approved Slurry Seal Project Change Order 1, this was to add other areas to the project, increasing costs by $2,936.64.Council also approved the Sewer Televising Pay Application #3 and the Slurry Seal Project Pay Application #1 and Final.
Jason Foss’s resignation from the Park and Rec was approved.
Mayor Duchene explained that due to recent resignations, the Park and Rec Board suggested the following individuals be appointed: Tyler Christenson, Steve Kruse, Whitney Seykora and Kelly Boomgarden.
Council approved Mayor DuChene’s appointments to the Lennox Park Board.
Council approved the first reading of the FY 2021 budget ordinance after discussion and proposed changes. The budget was amended as follows: Amend Fire Department expenditures to $93,075; Amend Economic Development expenditures to $30,000.
Vander Plaats also mentioned future planning for city buildings, looking at combining departments.
The budget presentation is available online at www.lennoxnews.com within this City Council article. Past year comparisons for legislative, government administration, public safety, public works, parks, recreation, library, economic development, miscellaneous funds, ambulance, pool, sewer and water funds are included in the presentation. The 2021 sewer fund shows a rate increase of 1.7%, the water fund shows a 2% rate increase.
Council approved the submission of the 2020 Xcel Energy Economic Development Grant. The application requests $5000 of funding for use in the projects. Listed as possibilities were the softball field rehabilitation project and Petal Pals park rehabilitation project.
Council discussed police coverage at school activities. Council member Rops wanted clarification as to how things were running now with the school. Lennox Police Chief Will Erikson said they typically have officers stop in at home events, and then go about on their patrols. He added that they absolutely want to be called if there is an incident at an event.
Vander Plaats suggested a meeting with school officials and officers to build relationships and improve communications.
Council then went into executive session for personnel.