Goessel City Council hears options for new proposed water tower project

Members of the Goessel City Council met with a representative from an engineering firm at their Nov. 15 meeting to talk about purchasing a new water tower for the city.

Chris Cox of the Schwab Eaton reviewed the water engineering report he had submitted for last month’s meeting. He recommended purchasing a single-pedestal elevated water tower, as opposed to a stand-pipe tower.

Although a stand-pipe tower is cheaper, he said, only the top one-third of the water is useable, compared to 100 percent of the volume in an elevated water tower.

Pointing to the city’s rate of growth over the past 30 years, Cox said, “I would expect to see your growth trend accelerate.”

He recommended a water tower with 100,000 gallons capacity, compared to the 47,500 gallons the present water tower can hold.

He said the local water quality is “very good” and he described ongoing leak protection.

Public Works Director Arlen Goertzen said he has already checked into obtaining more water appropriations.

Cox had prepared a list of funding options. He said the city would not qualify for a Kansas Department of Commerce and Housing Community Development Block Grant because Goessel does not have enough low-to-moderate income (LMI) households.

To qualify for a block grant, 51 percent of the city’s household incomes must be LMI. According to the 1990 census, 41.3 percent of the households were considered LMI. The 2000 census figures are not available yet.

City Clerk Anita Goertzen said a door-to-door survey a few years ago showed that 49 percent of the households were LMI.

Cox then said the best option would be to pursue a Kansas Department of Health and Environment revolving fund loan, which has a current interest rate of 4.44 percent for a 20-year term.

If the city pledges tax revenues to protect against defaulting, Cox said the monthly debt service would be about $7.68 per month per meter. In other words, the monthly water fee for each household and business meter would increase by that amount.

Because the city would not start paying on the loan until construction is completed, Cox recommended raising the water rates now to create a reserve fund. That would allow the city to pay a substantial portion of the water tower cost upon completion and would lower the amount of money the city needs to borrow and the amount of interest the city would be required to pay.

Arlen Goertzen said he had put Goessel’s name on the revolving fund waiting list some time ago. Cox said Goessel is already second on the list, but the city will not know until next summer whether the loan has been granted.

Considering how long it takes to get a loan and how busy water tank contractors are right now, Cox estimated “it could be two to three years until that tank is up and running.”

Cox also discussed the waste-water system with the council. He suggested having the lagoons dredged in the spring. He said the city’s waste-water system should be adequate since it was designed for 600 people. But if the Environmental Protection Agency tightens waste-water standards, the city would need bigger lagoons.

Currently, cities are required to treat waste water for 120 days, but the new standards would require treatment for 180 days. Cox recommended waiting for the outcome of the EPA discussions before enlarging the current lagoons.

On another matter, four residents attended the meeting to discuss ditch drainage problems in the area east of the museum grounds.

Council member Larry Lindeman agreed, “That’s one of the wettest areas of town.”

Residents said the ditches in that area are never dry. Clerk Goertzen suggested that property owners in that area could put in a culvert and fill dirt over it.

Arlen Goertzen cautioned that the property owners would need to have the area surveyed before a culvert could be installed. The council agreed to go look at the situation and make a recommendation to the residents.

Another resident attended the meeting in response to a letter he had received from the city office about his dog barking too much.

“How do you keep a dog from barking when there are 50 cats running around the neighborhood?” he asked.

It was suggested that a dog can be trained not to bark. Council member Larry Lindeman said, “He has a point. Other towns have laws for cats. Why don’t we?”

Mayor Peggy Jay responded, “It’s hard to enforce.”

Council member Jim Wiens said, “Every pet owner needs to have some responsibility.”

In other business:

— Part-time policeman Mike Fisher suggested all houses should have house numbers for emergency purposes.

— Jonathan Hall, president of Future Internet Services, Inc., discussed placing a radio antenna and a small radio relay station for the new equipment he plans to purchase. He plans to offer wireless Internet access to his customers. He would like to offer speeds up to 3,000 kilobite per second within a 10- to 20-mile radius of his base station.

— Goertzen said grass is growing at the baseball diamonds. It is now up to the recreation commission to take care of the weeds.

— Council members had received complaints about potholes on State Street and Church Street. Goertzen informed the council that the county maintains State Street, and the city shares the cost. He will look into getting the holes filled. The Church Street holes are on school property.

— Goertzen reported the new well house is in place, and one well is already hooked up. He said the city had been connected to the rural water district from Monday to Wednesday during the transition, so water was always available.

— The council authorized Clerk Goertzen to attend the regional meeting of municipal clerks in Abilene. She said, “I do enjoy my job, and I appreciate being able to go and learn.”

— The council approved a resolution to erect two more street lights, one in the residential area east of the museum, and the other on the south side of Sunflower Drive.

— The council approved the financial statements of $21,053.

— Due to the lengthy meeting, the council agreed to table discussion of a fireworks ordinance until the next meeting.

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