The Lennox City Council met Monday, May 22 in the Lennox Boardroom to hear concerns brought before them on the agenda.
Denise Hanson, City Finance Officer, presented highlights on comparison of Annual report from 2021 to 2022.
“I made a chart of the differences between 2021 and 2022. Our property tax increased by $11,500, sales tax by $215,000, building permits by $98,000, highway and bridge fund saw an $18,000 increase and special assessments increased by $100,000 due to Ash and Boynton improvements,” she said.
Hanson noted that interest income was down from 2021 to 2022.
“However, in 2023 we are seeing a large increase, mainly due to First Interstate Bank allowing a sweep account from checking to savings, giving the money market the increased amount and receiving a much higher interest rate than in 2021 or 2022,” she said.
The long term debt increased 22 percent due to street improvements on Ash, Main and Boynton as well as the purchase of land. Overall expenses increased 15 percent from 2021 to 2022.
“Expense in second penny fund saw the largest increase due to the sales tax bond that was issued for street improvements; land was also purchased in 2022. The water fund did see revenue increase and this was largely from grants received on the Boynton project. Water revenue is steady now, however, would like to see a reserve for future expansion,” she said.
City Administrator, Nate Vander Plaats addressed the council to discuss oversized vehicle parking.
“The City Council requested revisions to the existing oversized vehicle parking regulations to make exceptions for contractor trailers and equipment at the April 25 meeting,” he said.
Going forward, all building permits will be issued a corresponding Oversized Vehicle Permit that will expire at the same time as the building permit. This will be posted on the trailer parked on the street. Motion to table the ordinance was made to get correct language defining which vehicles fall under the ordinance.
Alan Perry with the Lennox Area Ambulance joined the meeting to discuss a Medical Director Services Agreement.
“This will increase costs about $1,600 a year, but it will give us access to a Medical Director who has time to answer our questions and help us out when needed, so from that aspect, it’s a really good thing,” Perry said.
Previously, the Lennox Area Ambulance did not have a Medical Director and used a doctor that was willing to do it and at their own cost.
“The state requires a Medical Director to operate as an ALS (advance life support) service, but its more important when you have an ALS members on your personal because we have to have a doctor that we work under,” Perry continued. With no discussion, motion approved.
Vander Plaats brought up a proposal to update the audio and visuals in the City Council Room.
“Constituents and Council Members alike have expressed dissatisfaction with the existing live stream capabilities of our system. The current camera and microphone setup was installed in 2019 as an upgrade to a sub-par system that consisted of a camcorder on a tripod. This provide to be a valuable investment considering the prevalence of virtual meetings early on in the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said.
Vander Plaats has contacted two companies to resolve issues, and fix the problem areas the council is facing.
“I received quotes from MidStates Audio & Video, as well as from Foss AVI. The system we are looking for will cost us anywhere from $35,000 - $70,000,” he said.
The council agreed improvements need to be made and will work to find a solution of if it’s best to make one improvement at a time or do it all at once.