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Council addresses public concerns

The Lennox City Council met Monday, June 12 in the Lennox Boardroom. The Council heard from the public on issues that matter to them as well as agenda items brought before them.

Resident, Dave Strasser, spoke during the public hearing portion of the meeting.

“I would like you guys to address the weed problem in Nielsen’s development. I’m right across the fence and the big mounds are thick with weeds, and I mean thick, it’s terrible, I don’t want millions of seeds coming over onto my property. Two years ago, Nate came out, we went out and looked, he sent an email and they came out and mowed the flat spots, but nothing was done with the mounds. Last year, I didn’t say anything, I figured you guys would take care of it, nothing, absolutely nothing,” Strasser said.

He then invited the council to come look at the property so they could see what he is dealing with.

“Come out and I’ll give you a ride to see what those mounds look like, they’re going to start seeding very shortly, and it torques me off, it really does, and I would assume, since you’re part of the city, that you would take care of that, but it’s not being done,” he said.

Alderman Chad Swier asked when the best time to spray the weeds would be.

“Right now, they are starting to seed, at least the thistles,” Strasser said.

City Administrator, Nate Vander Plaats stated that the City has started spraying other areas and they would talk to Nielsen to make arrangements. The Council thanked Strasser for bringing the matter to their attention.

Resident, Mitch Marquette joined the public hearing.

“I retired from teaching two years ago at Southeast Tech College, and right before I retired, we updated our systems for our online students, new mics, drop down screens, graphic devices, and it cost about ten grand for two rooms. My church just did an upgrade for screens, everything wireless, a solid oak counsel that’s longer than longer than a pickup bed, and that was about $75,000. The last time that I was here, they were complaining about the microphone, and I don’t know how a microphone problem led to a $75,000 thing where you have to have a server and that kind of stuff. I think if we want to make the meetings a little more usable, there are some other options,” he said.

Marquette feels the prices keep rising on costs, and there could be a cheaper solution. The Council thanked him for his input.

The City of Lennox selected HDR to serve as the firm to conduct the City’s utility rate study.

“Since the City Council’s selection of HDR, staff have met and discussed the full scope of the services to be provided, with HDR including that scope in their agreement along with the standard terms and conditions. The City Attorney has reviewed the agreement and, with some edits and has approved moving forward,” Vander Plaats said.

HDR will provide project management, data collection and review, kick-of meeting, development of financial rate setting policies, revenue requirement analysis, cost of service analysis, rate design analysis, written report, rate models, public presentations and public outreach.

“The study is expected to not exceed $53,020 in expenses, with billing occurring monthly on a time and materials basis. As a reminder, the City budgeted $36,000 for this study in FY 2023. I am convinced that, despite this exceeding that budget, this work is absolutely necessary,” he said.

Motion approved.

At the April 11 meeting, the City Council asked Vander Plaats to research information about the Park Boards.

“My best recommendation moving forward, would be to have a joint meeting between the City Council and the Park Board to discuss the board status and making recommendations to the City Council,” he said.

The Lennox Park Board was established by an ordinance passed by the City Council. According to Vander Plaats findings, the ordinance describes the appointment, composition, vacancies, meetings, records, and duties of the Park Board. It is important to note that the duties of the Park Board are advisory in nature, and the Board does not hold any legislative, budgetary, or operational authority over the City’s recreational programs. The Council agreed to hold a joint meeting at the end of June and discuss all options together.

Vander Plaats shared with the Council permit requests for the upcoming Independence Day events.

“There are no changes from last year’s street dance on July 3. Private security will be provided inside the street dance gates, with those security officers working with the local police department on issues that arise. In recent years, we have seen a number of underage consumption citations, and we need to keep an eye on that again this year. The Lion’s Club will once again sponsor the road race on the morning of July 4. The routes have been reviewed by Fire, EMS, and Police, with each agency playing a role in safely administering the event. This will be the second year for the sand volleyball tournament on July 1, held at the new sand volleyball courts at West Evergreen Park. No alcohol will be served, but patrons will be allowed to bring their own alcohol. A food truck will be onsite to provide refreshments,” he said.

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