By Kelli Bultena
During Monday night’s Regular Lennox City Council Meeting, the City Council renewed the restrictions on the number of patrons permitted within certain businesses at any given time. The new deadline for these restrictions is May 12, 2020. It was noted that the deadline can be extended again at any City Council Meeting, with the next scheduled meeting occurring on May 11, 2020.
The restrictions are part of Ordinance #608, developed in response to mitigate the spread of the Coronavirus.
Mayor Tracy West said, “I know we’re getting toward the up-swing, Sioux Falls is supposedly supposed to peak a few weeks before us, which is good; my hope is that this thing is one of the defensive weapons. We have wash our hands, sanitize, wipes, masks maybe, and social distancing, that’s what we have for defenses. We don’t have a lot of information, we can’t get the information about if there’s somebody here that is actively infected in Lennox, we can only get that it’s in Lincoln County.”
Council member Chad Wulf said of extending the restrictions, “As much as we don’t like it, we probably have to go with it here one more time. But I think we should be proactive in getting ready to move our lives forward here, sooner rather than later.”
On Tuesday, April 21, 2020 the South Dakota Department of Health released the latest numbers of COVID-19 cases in the state. South Dakota has a statewide total of 1,755 positive cases, with 99 of those in Lincoln County.
In other business during Monday night’s Council meeting, Mayor West read a proclamation for National Library Week, citing the good work of the local library.
Council also spoke on the phone with City Engineer Mitch Mergen with Stockwell Engineers about the Force Account agreement. It was stated they were working through the terms and conditions with the City Attorney.
Council approved the consent agenda, which included the minutes of April 6, the claims as presented and the department reports. See report details on page 10.
Council approved a livestock permit for a residence on 508 Sunset Circle for hens, contingent on inspection.
Council approved the updated COVID-19 plan for the City of Lennox, which is available online at www.cityoflennoxsd.com.
City Administrator Nathan Vander Plaats stated that the only change was to allow for some expanded services at the library, such as curb-side pick-up if they can get approval to do so from the school and develop a safe procedure.
Vander Plaats provided an update to the council on the manufactured home park license renewals, This annual procedure has typically been difficult due to several manufactured home parks in the community failing inspection. Last year, the Council and the park owners and residents met in an effort to make the process easier and allow more time for park owners and residents to get the properties to a satisfactory condition.
Monday night’s reports on the Sunnyside Mobile Home Park showed numerous deficiencies at the majority of lots. To view the report, see this story online at www.lennoxnews.com.
Hammerly Trailer court was also citied for deficiencies.
All deficiencies must be resolved by June 30, 2020 in order for the license to be renewed.
Lennox Building inspector Greg McMahan was scheduled to inspect the remaining mobile home parks later this week.
Council discussed frustration over having to deal with this issue year after year. Vander Plaats noted this process didn’t exist last year. Council also brought up the idea of civil penalties to be assessed to the park owner. Vander Plaats said he could look into that.
Under Parks and Recreation discussion. Vander Plaats said that Parks and Recreation Specialist Justin Meyers provided a plan for summer programming. The Park Board recommended canceling the spring soccer season, and delayed a decision on other programs until the May Park Board Meeting.
Meyers noted that a lot of other communities are postponing decisions until June 1st.
Brock Rops said, “I would say we start June 1st. [Pool and programming.] I know there are two camps on this deal — but data will tell you the young and the healthy, most of them a lot of them are gonna get it, but not anything is going to happen to them, you’re gonna get a swell at some point or another when you come out of this social distancing. The immune suppressed and elderly will have to stay put for awhile.”
Meyers said that he would need four to five weeks to order equipment and jerseys.
Mayor West added, “I don’t know what the data will show, but we can be proactive and get the equipment ordered.… If we’re in the middle of a highly active rise of infection we will have to reconsider.”
The consensus among council members was to prepare to open the park and rec programs, including the pool on June 1.
Vander Plaats said the City has additional seasonal positions to fill, and must select lead lifeguards from the list of lifeguards already hired. He explained that the City had planned to use inmate labor from the Department of Corrections this summer to fill in the groundskeeper positions. Under actions taken by DOC, that program will no longer be an option in 2020. As a result, Meyers reached out to the seasonal staff hired as lifeguards to gauge any interest in serving in multiple positions. Caleb Metcalf and Kaleb Johnson both expressed their interest.
Council approved a motion to hire Caleb Metcalf and Kaleb Johnson as groundskeepers.
Following executive session, Council approved a motion to promote Drew Kuyper and Riley Williams to lead lifeguards, pending pool opening.
Council approved the hire of Kyle Ramynke as Water/Wastewater Specialist at a beginning salary of $70,000. Other new hires include: Von Nielson, Water/Wastewater Specialist, $21/hour; Drew Kuyper, promoted to lead lifeguard at $13/hour; Riley Williams, promoted to lead lifeguard at $13/hour; Caleb Metcalf, hired as seasonal groundskeeper at $12/hour (in addition to lifeguard); Kaleb Johnson, hired as seasonal groundskeeper at $12/hour (in addition to lifeguard).
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