Written by Cynthia Goerzen Tuesday, 24 April 2012 15:50
The Goessel City Council spent considerable time discussing storms and storm sirens during its April 16 meeting.
Karen Dalke, public works director, reported that 42 people had attended Councilor Jim Wiens’s recent storm information meeting.
“I know the community appreciated it,” she said.
Dalke said the warning sirens went off April 14. Wiens replaced two fuses on the siren. Dalke said she discussed the fuses with electrician Kyle Funk.
“It’s overheating,” Dalke said.
Council members said some residents were confused about the siren, thinking it would blow as long as the danger existed. However, the siren does not sound for an extended amount of time.
Dalke suggested the city should “blow it one time,” then blow it again if another storm comes through.
Councilor Larry Schmidt said, “I’ve had a lot of people ask me about ‘all clear.’”
Mayor Peggy Jay responded, “We don’t have it.”
The council discussed replacing the current warning siren. Dalke said the fire department is planning another pancake feed to raise money for a new one.
Goertzen said the city’s previous siren had been moved to the mobile home park in April 1999 in order to provide better warning protection for the east end of Goessel.
Wiens said the city purchased a new siren system at that time to cover the rest of the city.
Councilor Dallas Boese asked, “Is there a minimum” in terms of storm warnings that cities are required to provide?
Wiens responded, “We don’t have to have anything,” adding that some towns do not have a warning system.
Doug Geist of J-Net Warnings attended the meeting. The business is based in Wichita and St. Louis, Mo. Geist brought along a compressed air siren system and demonstrated it for the council.
Geist said parts are readily available and are familiar. The siren runs on a regular car battery. Geist said it is easy to reach all the parts of the unit because they are all low; no aerial equipment is needed for regular maintenance. No maintenance contracts and specialized maintenance technicians are required. Geist said the siren would operate even in extreme cold or heat.
Geist said the siren’s sound is generated by compressed air. The system is available as either a fixed unit or a mobile unit. The fixed unit would use a 110-volt, one-half horse-power compressor to charge a 12-volt battery. The mobile unit would use a gasoline-powered compressor to charge a 12-volt battery.
The council learned that the device can be operated remotely from a cell phone, but Wiens noted “the other night, cell phones weren’t working.” He said too many storm spotters and chasers were using computers and cell phones.
Jay said the line of storm chasers near Goessel was a mile and a half long.
When Dalke asked about bird nests in the siren, Geist said that would not be a problem; the siren would blow out a bird nest.
Geist said the cost of the system is $22,900, which includes installation. The unit is sold installed, he said, not piece by piece. But Geist said the price would be lower if the city provides its own tower and some of the labor.
Geist recommended a height of 40 feet for the siren. He said 50 feet would be too tall; some sound would be lost at that height. Geist said his demonstration model is 30 feet tall.
Arlen Goertzen, who was attending the meeting, asked about installing the siren on the water tower. Geist said it might be too high. Boese suggested the lift station as a location.
Geist sounded the alarm as a demonstration for the council.
“It’s not as loud” as the city’s current siren, Dalke said.
Councilor Larry Schmidt said, “A lot of people don’t even hear the one we have now.”
Wiens suggested, “I think we need to do some more research.”
Dan D’Albini, Marion County emergency management coordinator, also attended the meeting, as well as a representative from the city of Durham.
In other business, the council:
• voted to schedule a paper shredder from 9 a.m. to noon May 19 as a possible date. The cost would be $525. City Clerk Anita Goertzen said about 25 people came to use the shedder last time it was in town.
• heard police officer Gary Ottensmeier report the department had made six contacts and worked one case. Four abandoned puppies had been taken to the Caring Hands Humane Society. Police also followed up on a dog attack report. Ottensmeier said there had been one case at the sheriff’s office and five calls for service.
• heard that Goertzen planned to attend a block grant conference in Hutchinson.
• heard that Goertzen and Dalke had attended a water conference.
“I had a wonderful five-hour class,” Dalke said. “I learned a lot.” She thanked the council for the opportunity.
“It’s a good way to connect with other communities and vendors,” she said.
• heard that Dalke has been busy mowing; she had to replace a spring on the city’s big mower.
• noted that yards need to be mowed, and discussed mowing vacant residences and billing the owners or real estate agents.
• discussed the June 9 city-wide garage sale. Some councilors had wanted it moved to May, but since the council had previously voted for June 9, they decided to keep that date, even though it will be the same day as the Hesston city-wide garage sale.
The city-wide clean-up will be the following weekend.
• discussed having a city-wide garage sale and cleanup day in September.
• discussed junk vehicles in town. Grass is growing up around some of them.
• discussed other junk and noted that two houses have a piano on the porch.
• heard from Dalke that Marlin Janzen plans to replace the roof on the open shelter house at the city park when he is finished with the ball park building.
• discussed a faulty pump. The price of a new one would be $2,995 for a pump “just like the one they put in the other well,” according to Dalke. The price includes installation. The present pump has not been working adequately since last summer.
• briefly discussed the house that is scheduled to be moved out of town.
• heard that city judge Greg Nickel now has his certification.
• discussed the slope for the sewer line at the baseball diamond.
• reviewed the list of subjects that are eligible for council executive sessions. According to Goertzen, the list includes: “personnel matters of non-elected personnel, consultation with an attorney, employer-employee relations and negotiations, confidential data relating to financial affairs...of second parties, discussions prior to acquisition of real estate, and matters relating to the security of a public body or agency.”
• changed the date of the next meeting to 8 p.m. Thursday, May 17, because of a scheduling conflict. The meeting will be in the city building community room.