Prior to its monthly meeting May 19, the Lodi Common Council held a public hearing regarding the special assessments to residents for construction being done on Pond Street.

Th assessment is for residents living on Pond Street from Fair Street easterly and northerly to its intersection with Elizabeth Street.

Residents were encouraged to attend the hearing and have their questions addressed by the council, as well as Andy Zimmer, the city’s engineer.

The assessment report that was prepared for residents is to recover 50 percent of the costs for curb and gutter and sidewalk only (for however much covers a specific property). According to Zimmer, the report that was given to residents was a worst-case scenario figure. It gives the city flexibility in case they have to replace other parts of the sidewalk for various reasons.

The total cost to the 16 affected property owners is about $28,700 and individual costs range from $735-$3,873. Residents are only paying for the curb and gutter placement, and sidewalk replacement on their properties. Overall cost of the project is about $350,000.

Zimmer said that the city can only assess as much as the approved report shows. Once construction is done, a final report then needs to be approved.

Mayor Ann Groves-Lloyd said that some bills may be less than what is on the report. She spoke from personal experience when the city did similar work near her home on Lodi Street. She added that while it may be a big bill for some, it has no impact on other taxes and can be paid over multiple years.

A resident asked why the work is being done now when the street has been in its current condition for awhile.

Groves-Lloyd said that the city has a long list of streets that need repairing and it’s just taken time to try and address them all in a timely manner and where the budget allows.

Alderman Peter Tonn said there are three types of streetscapes. The first are ones with curbs, gutters and sidewalks. They have walkability and proper water drainage. Then there are ones with curbs and gutters, but no sidewalks — losing the walkability aspect, but still having proper drainage. The third type has none of those — the landscape goes from the front yard, to a ditch, to the shoulder with no gutter for drainage.

Pond Street has a sidewalk on one side of the street only.

“The curb and gutter dress up the home,” Tonn said to reassure residents.

It was also asked if the street can go to single-side parking only, as parking on both sides makes the road very narrow for other drivers. The council will look into that aspect.

In other news, during the regular meeting, the council gave approval to Police Chief Wayne Smith to hire a new officer. The department recently added Lieutenant William Nichols to the force.

In addition, the council approved the resolution for Smith to sell a 2012 Ford SUV that the department is no longer using.

The other three resolutions passed by the council on May 19 were in regards to approving liquor licenses and renewing amusement device licenses.

Library wins grant, other awards

Alec LeClair submitted his Library Director Report to the council for its May 19 meeting.

The library was awarded a $1,000 grant from Alliant Energy Foundation toward its Vault Forward program. Vault Forward is a new program that rewards families for attending Story Times. There will be loyalty cards designed that will be kept at the library and each child will have one. After sitting in on a fifth story time, the child gets to pick a book from our “Book Vault” to keep for their personal collection. The next story time attended, they will start a new card. The $1,000 will go toward purchasing books for the vault. Due to COVID-19, the program has not started yet.

Also, the Friends of the Library won the Advocate of the Year Award from the Columbia County Library Systems Board.

LeClair mentioned in the report that the library is starting a podcast called “Duck Town.”

“We have student projects we’ll upload and we’ve begun an oral history project as well, interviewing people in town,” LeClair said. “We’ve spoken to nearly 10 people already.”

The podcast is available to download from Apple Podcasts and Google Podcasts, and can be streamed on Spotify and the library’s website.

LeClair also noted that the library is installing acrylic sneeze guards around the circulation desk as a safety precaution, which are hung from the ceiling and easy to take down. The library’s website is also being redesigned.

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