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.