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City talks budget, uniform assessment

By Garrett Ammesmaki,


City Commissioners kicked off their first meeting of September with almost an hour long conversation on an increase to the uniform assessment rate.

Ultimately, the increase of the uniform assessment rate to $71 per frontage foot was passed with a vote of four to two. Commissioners Sam Bowers and Chad Reilly opposed the resolution.

The first half of the two-hour meeting saw conversations that included Windsong Place infrastructure and approval of assessment rolls for both Boynton Avenue and Ash Street. The price for both was capped at $65 per linear foot on the project.

While Ash Street was approved without argument, Boynton Avenue was put under scrutiny by local citizens that were in attendance.

Bob Wilka represented Linda Baloun, saying that the special assessment goes against both the American Constitution and the State Constitution.

Wilka also said that the benefits of construction for residents must go “above and beyond” the benefits for the general public, and said that they believe the improvements to Boynton Avenue are in fact detrimental to the property owners.

After he spoke, commissioners approved the assessment roll for Boynton Avenue.

Commissioners then had a lengthy discussion about the approval of the infrastructure for Windsong Place which lead them into an executive session. When they returned from executive session, they tabled the conversation for next week and opened up the floor for community engagement, but no one they had invited from the community was present.

The rest of the extended meeting was spent approving pay applications for Boynton Avenue in the amount of $576,431.87 and street improvements in the amount of $23,170. Commissioners also approved the special event application for the Lennox Homecoming Parade, as well as the supplemental budget for 2022. They also looked at the fiscal year budget heading into 2023.

A notable increase in the budget is for the Police Department. It will jump up to $602,649 in 2023. The sharp increase is due to the purchase of police cruiser and significant market adjustments in the Police Department.

Both pool and Ambulance continue to show significant net losses that are covered by transfers from other funds.

Overall, the general fund showed a net gain of just over $14,000.

Commissioners also approved a grant application for the Deadwood Historic Preservation grant from the Lennox Historical Museum and finished off the meeting with a conversation on what role the city might play in possible future industrial expansion.

The City of Lennox has been in conversation with the LADC to pursue land for future commercial and industrial development, according to a memo from City Administrator Nathan Vander Plaats. As a result, LADC formed a committee to review options for expansions and Stockwell provided estimates as well.

“I believe the city should be responsible for bringing utilities to the boundaries of the land chosen for expansion,” Vander Plaats said in the memo. “The updated cost for the city’s infrastructure is estimated at $2.8 million.”


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