Goessel water tower project approved by state

Goessel Public Works Director Arlen Goertzen reported to the city council Jan. 18 that he has been told the water tower project has been approved for a revolving fund loan from the Kansas Department of Health and Environment.

“We’re on the list of projects to get funded this year,” he said. He is waiting for written confirmation.

After discussing it at length, the council voted to approve a contract with Schwab-Eaton to prepare plans and specifications, solicit bids, and select a contractor for the water tower.

The price for these services is $25,500 plus $9,300 for supplemental services, such as inspection of the final project. Cox would like to have specifications ready to send to contractors for bidding this spring.

Goertzen explained the differences between a pedestal water tower and a leg-style water tank. Chris Cox of Schwab-Eaton had told him that a leg-style tank is cheaper initially but costs at least 20 percent more to maintain.

A leg-style tank would need to have a fence around it, and liability would be an issue. Goertzen said a leg-style tank would take more space, and space is limited. Consequently, a pedestal tank would fit the space better.

Council member Lyle Christ wondered if there are other options for putting the water tower.

Goertzen responded, “We don’t own any other ground.”

Council member Jim Wiens pointed out that the location of the current water tower already has electrical service and piping.

Wiens made a motion to proceed with plans for a pedestal water tower with a water level about 25 feet higher than the present tower. The motion passed unanimously. Wiens said the tower would increase water pressure.

The council approved a debt service fee ordinance, which adds a surcharge to the monthly water bill to help pay for the water tower.

The base rates will stay the same, with the following debt service fee added: $8 per month for three-fourths or one-inch lines, $12 a month for one and one-half or two-inch lines, and $16 a month for four-inch lines.

At the public hearing on Dec. 22, Mayor Peggy Jay said the debt service fee “would go strictly for the water tower project.”

When the loan is paid off, the debt service fee will cease. At the hearing Wiens informed the public about the need for more adequate fire protection. He said the current standpipe tower would not be sufficient in the event of a large fire.

According to Jay, only the top one-third of a standpipe provides usable water storage at a pressure range that will meet consumer’s needs. But an elevated tower could provide 100 percent of its volume as usable storage.

Council member Larry Lindeman reported he had driven every street in the city to check lighting. He listed the dark areas and suggested that the city request more street lights from KG&E for those specific areas.

One such area would be at the corner of Cedar and Meadow near the new duplex section, which is private property owned by Bethesda Home.

Goertzen said he would talk to Bethesda Home officials since the home would be responsible for the cost of street lights on their property.

The corner of Meadowlark and Sunflower was also discussed. Goertzen said that KG&E refuses to erect a street light at that corner because they do not want to run conduit that far from their electrical box; KG&E intends to erect the light in the middle of that block instead.

Lindeman identified five other sites as possibilities for street lights also. Goertzen said he will request the lights, but KG&E makes the decision on whether or not to erect them.

Council member Larry Schmidt informed the council that a water equipment company has been in town testing residential water with the intent of selling water purification equipment at inflated prices.

Evidently, names were obtained when people signed up for a drawing at the state fair.

Contrary to what the sales people are saying, Goertzen assured the council that the city’s water is safe. It is tested regularly and must meet state guidelines.

“I think the state of Kansas has some of the best rural water testing standards,” Goertzen said.

Goessel Police Chief Rollin Schmidt presented his plans for starting a good-driver reward program. Schmidt requested $10 a month for two certificates worth $5 each. The police officers would stop two drivers a month, commend them for their good driving, and reward them with a $5 certificate.

Schmidt said the good-driver stops would be based “totally on officer discretion.”

Jay said, “That’s a very good idea.”

In fact, the council liked the idea so much that they doubled the amount to $20 so the police officers can stop four good drivers a month to reward them. Schmidt said he would like to do something positive for the good drivers instead of only stopping drivers for infractions.

Schmidt also requested more 20-mph signs, particularly on Marion Street to remind drivers going east from the high school.

Even though all side streets are designated as 20 mph areas by city ordinance, which should be common knowledge, Schmidt felt signs could help. The council authorized Goertzen to erect more signs. Goertzen said three signs had recently been spray-painted by vandals.

Schmidt reported that the police department had driven 656 miles during the past month, mostly in town. They issued seven warnings, three parking tickets, five notices to appear, assisted with one fatality accident on K-15, and took one report of criminal threat.

In other business:

— After discussing police matters in executive session, the council voted to continue the services of Mike Fisher as a police officer. Fisher filled in for Schmidt, who was in training. Schmidt is now back and resumes his role as Police Chief.

— The council decided to sell the white police car after stripping the car of all police equipment. The council will accept sealed bids and retains the option to reject any or all bids.

— The council discussed snow removal by city personnel on residential property. Following the advice of the city’s attorney, the council decided that city personnel will not be allowed to open residential driveways, due to liability issues.

— While discussing capital improvement projections and equipment projections, Wiens informed the council that the Kansas Department of Transportation is getting ready to resurface K-15 and U.S. Highway 56.

He suggested checking to see if they might be willing to resurface Main Street when they are in the area.

The council authorized Goertzen to check into the cost.

— City Clerk Anita Goertzen announced that noon, Jan. 23, is the deadline for filing to run for election for council positions.

— The council voted to apply for a state fair booth again at a cost of $690. Jay said: “I think it’s good advertising for the community.”

The deadline for booth applications is Feb. 15. Volunteers will again be needed to staff the booth.

— Council member Duane Duerksen asked about the city park sign that had been knocked over. Goertzen said it has been replaced and is now anchored down differently.

— The council accepted a domestic violence policy as required by law. The policy covers the actions of dispatchers and law enforcement officers in domestic violence situations. The policy was written by the legal staff of the Kansas Law Enforcement Training Center.

— The council approved the financial statements of $11,414.63.

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