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Sidewalk concerns addressed at Council meeting

By Jennifer Harms

The Lennox City Council met Monday, Dec. 12 at Lennox City Hall. Despite the weather conditions, all members of the Council were present to address residents concerns.

Bonnie Wirkus joined the meeting via teleconference to discuss sidewalk concerns proposed in front of her home.

“I don’t feel there is enough frontage in front of our house to do a sidewalk there,” Wirkus said.

City Administrator Nate Vander Plaats stated he didn’t have the complete designs yet to determine how everything would lay out.

Josh Stenzel joined the meeting in person to inquire about the sidewalk issue as well. Stenzel moved in June of 2021 and is looking for information on why he will need to lose hedges and have to pay for such a large portion of the sidewalk project.

“I’m curious as to how much I am going to lose with 550 feet of sidewalk that I will be liable for seems like a lot to ask of one guy to shovel when no one walks around and there is already a sidewalk on the way to my driveway” he said.

Stenzel also wants to know how long the project will last and what everything will entail.

“This was approved on the Capital Improvement plan of 2020 and updated in 2021,” Vander Plaats said.

Vander Plaats stated there was a pretty good chance that Stenzel would lose a lot of the hedges, but a shed on the property would not be bothered.

“I’m okay with putting a curb on my side to open up space for storm sewers and parking, but the 550 feet to shovel is a lot,” Stenzel said.

Randy Fiebelkorn joined the meeting in person to echo many of the concerns of the previous speakers.

“I struggle with a few things, we all pretty much paid for the road to be paved, and had an agreement with the city that if we paid for it to be done then from that point on the city would maintain it,” he said.

Randy’s wife spoke from the crowd asking if there are bylaws regarding the distance of a front yard before sidewalk can be placed.

“Would you want a sidewalk a few feet from your front door,” she questioned.

“A new home does have a setback requirement but when your house is already there we can’t move it back, and we can’t move the road,” said Mayor Stacy DuChene.

The Council agreed that this area needs to be looked into going forward and why design standards for new housing is as important as it is. Motion 2022-1212-01 was approved.

Ten companies from around the area put bids in to redo the lot adjacent to the pool.

It was noted that the prices they saw come in were right in line with where they were estimating. Precision Dirtworks, LLC was the lowest bidder on the project. Motion passed.

A standard review of the personnel policies and procedures was held and a few updates to vacation and sick leave, part time employee benefits and language on health insurance were changed to reflect current standards. All changes have been made and are now in the handbook. Motion passed.

The council was given an application for a community health worker program that will help fill some of the gaps that rural health care is facing.

This grant would send three eligible candidates from the Lennox Ambulance to school to become community health workers. This would allow them to go into clients homes on the recommendation of their doctors and work with them on the long term problems they are facing.

The education portion will be 25 hours a week which includes classes and study time and will be held from January through July.

Classes are held online and the three in the program will be able to work on them between regular calls.

Motion passed.


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