The Goessel City Council thanked Marion County commissioner Randy Dallke at its May 20 meeting for the work done on 120th that extends east out of the community.
“We really appreciate that east of town—it helps our businesses,” Mayor Dave Schrag said.
Schrag said drivers avoided Goessel when the road was dangerous because of the gravel surface. Now, more drivers are coming through town and stopping at the city’s businesses.
The council declined a proposal from the state that would give the city ownership of K-215, which is the short section of state highway that leads from Kansas Highway 15 into Goessel.
Dallke said the state does not want to maintain K-215 anymore, and therefore wants the city to annex it.
Schrag said the city already extended the city limits to K-15 on the north side of K-215. However, he said, “I really don’t see us annexing the south side of that road to K-15.”
Dalke said the county does not want it either.
Turning its attention to another matter, the council discussed the city’s water situation in the light of the recent rain.
Public works director Karen Dalke said, “The state of Kansas is still in a drought. It is serious. It will take five years to rebuild the water tables.”
She emphasized the water table would only be rebuilt in five years if there is normal rainfall during those years. Otherwise, it will take longer. She said the lakes are not full.
Councilor Dallas Boese said the city is asking people to cut back on water usage.
Dalke said the water restriction was instituted when the well was “sucking air.” Therefore, because of the water warning, the city is continuing the water emergency plan and asking everyone to conserve water and not be wasteful.
Court Clerk Paula Flaming reminded the council, “We have to follow state guidelines. I think residents have been very compliant with odd and even days.”
Councilor Larry Schmidt agreed the plan seems to be working.
Water concerns prompted a continuing discussion about a new city well. The city has sought advice from the city attorney, Marilyn Wilder.
City clerk Anita Goertzen plans to contact Bob Vincent of Groundwater Associates about a test well. Goertzen said Rose Mary Saunders, of Ranson Financial Consultants, could help the city obtain a revolving loan through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.
Saunders could provide counsel on a loan agreement. Her service would be provided at no charge to the city since she works with the state.
Councilor Jim Wiens explained submersible pumps and deep well turbines. He said deep well turbines are more expensive. The council decided to go ahead with a test well. If it produces water, the city will follow through with a well at that site.
The council also reviewed the city’s updated “Emergency Preparedness Plan.” The 16-page document is designed as an “all-hazards approach,” which provides general procedures for responding to any type of disaster. Natural/weather disasters are addressed in the document, as well as disasters resulting from human causes.
The document states the mayor will be responsible for coordinating disaster response, although the fire department assumes responsibility for storm watching.
The city has in place specific protocol for tornado warnings. The storm siren will sound for 45 seconds, followed by a pre-recorded message: “Tornado/ severe weather. Take cover.” The siren will sound again.
This sequence will be repeated five times for a tornado warning. A battery backup system for the siren is in place in case of a power failure. If the siren does not work, the city has two other sirens located in the city limits.
The emergency document states the “first priority after a disaster has struck is lifesaving and subsequent preservation of property.”
Initial requests for assistance will be handled by the Marion County Communications Center. Local responsibilities would be handled by police, fire, emergency medical services and public works personnel, with specific details outlined in the document.
An emergency operations center would be established. The first choice for such a center would be the city building. The fire station would be the second choice if the city building cannot be used. If necessary, schools and churches could also be used.
City council members have been issued identification tags for use in case of emergencies.
The emergency list has been updated to include specific names and contact information.
In other business, the council:
• reappointed the following people to city positions following executive session: city clerk, Anita Goertzen; police clerk, Paula Flaming; municipal judge, Greg Nickel; city attorney, Marilyn Wilder; city treasurer, Donna Cook.
• appointed Dani Martin to the Goessel Housing Authority.
• reviewed the police report, which consisted of three speeding tickets, all of them for speeds over 40 mph in a 30 mph zone.
The police also worked four cases, investigated two suspicious activity reports, one suspicious person and one criminal damage to property. Officers provided an “outside assist” and installed new police computer equipment.
• heard Schmidt report that recycling is going well, and money donations are coming in. Schmidt said it works well for the recyclables to be picked up on Wednesdays. Three tons of recyclables had been collected in the last month.
• heard about continuing vandalism at the city park restrooms. Vandals have been stuffing pea gravel and paper towels into the toilets.
• agreed to get quotes for concrete by the Ratzlaff building. A water leak prompted the removal of some concrete near that building.
• heard that crosswalks will be painted before Threshing Days and before school starts.
• heard that Meyer Specialty will come in June to clean sewer lines.
• heard that the city would mow three yards that have been neglected, and the owners will be billed for the mowing.
• heard that the gas company paid $400 for rock to fix alleys that were damaged by gas company equipment.
• heard from Goertzen that there is a chance the city might receive $1,300 in disaster help for salt and equipment due to the February snowstorms.