ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
Goessel Mayor Peggy Jay presented certificates to the city’s newest policemen, Joe Base and Eric Reed at the June 13 city council meeting.
Base and Reed have completed their police training and are now certified by the state.
The council approved the resignation of police chief Rollin Schmidt and increased hours for Base and Reed. Base agreed to handle the mail and paper work, previously done by Schmidt.
Base submitted the police report for the month. The police took two reports of BB guns being shot in town and issued a warning for shooting the BB gun, which is an illegal activity in town.
Police also investigated kids lighting fires in the park, worked two accidents, issued two warnings for speed, issued one warning for failure to yield, issued one warning for a minor in possession of tobacco products, issued one warning for no break lights, issued one notice to appear in court for driving with no driver’s license and one notice to appear for driving on sidewalks, assisted the sheriff’s office with a domestic case, responded to four calls from dispatch, and drove 112 miles.
The council granted the police department’s request for a cell phone to facilitate dispatch requests and instructions. The city will provide a cell phone for both police officers.
The council discussed the city ordinance governing grass that is too tall. The ordinance states that grass cannot be more than 12 inches high. The ordinance was amended to state that property owners will have seven days to get their grass mowed after receipt of a certified letter from the city clerk.
If the grass is not mowed by that time, the public works director will mow the property, and the owner will be charged $100.
The owner may request a hearing within five days of receipt of the letter. A copy of the city’s grass ordinance is sent along with the certified letter.
Property owners will get only one notice. The next time their grass is too tall, the public works director will mow it without notice, and the owner will be billed.
City Clerk Anita Goertzen reported that the library board would like to raise the library’s mills. The current charter ordinance caps the mills at six. Goertzen said the city’s total mills for last year were 34.771, which included the library’s. It was suggested that the library board submit a written request for the increase.
Jay said the city still has questions for the city attorney about trash and is waiting for an answer from him. Currently, the city’s trash is hauled to Wichita. But that will change in January, when a trash fee will be assessed with property taxes.
Councilor Jim Wiens said county commission chairman Bob Hein would like to be included on the council’s July agenda to discuss the trash issue.
In other business:
Goertzen said she had sent a request to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment for $94,000 for the work that has been done so far on the new water tower.
Public works director Arlen Goertzen reported he has installed orange safety fence around the tower site. The pilings and foundation are done. The steel will be delivered in September.
Arlen Goertzen said the swimming pool has been removed from the property south of the city building. The house is still there since no one submitted a bid for it. He said the fire department might use it for practice. The city recently purchased the property with the intent of using it for parking space.
Councilor Larry Lindeman asked who was responsible to keep trees and bushes trimmed so they don’t hang over sidewalks. Goertzen said it is the property owner’s responsibility.
Councilor Racquel Thiesen said a Boy Scout group had asked to use the park and wondered if the city had a service project the city would like for them to do. Goertzen said they could paint the overhang on the shelter house.
Thiesen said a bathroom lock on the shelter house does not work. Goertzen said he will fix or replace it. He said someone has been sticking twigs and mud into the locks.
Anita Goertzen said because Goessel is a third-class city, the city’s books will have to be audited. She said cities with a revenue of only a few thousand dollars less do not have to be audited. Goertzen had obtained a bid from the city’s budget consultants, Swindol, Janzen, Hawk & and Loyd, to conduct the audit for $5,500 to $6,000.
Councilor Jim Wiens said, “We’re maybe only a couple thousand (dollars) over the borderline, and we’ll have to spend three times that amount for the audit.”
Thiesen wondered who requires the audit.
Anita Goertzen replied, “It’s the law.”
Added Arlen Goertzen, “We’re not the ones who make those laws; we’re the ones who have to abide by them.”
The city voted to institute a 3 percent franchise fee to be paid by the telephone company for phone lines. The franchise fee will become effective Jan. 1, 2003.
Councilor Larry Lindeman reported the stone signs for the baseball fields should be ready around the beginning of July.
Anita Goertzen reported that Joe Wuest, grant writer, sent a sample engineering bid request for control of Emma Creek. The notice is to appear in the Free Press.
Arlen Goertzen said a sewer main backed up in a resident’s basement on a Saturday evening when Goertzen was out of town. Star Drain was called out. The $106 bill from Star Drain will be submitted to Utility Maintenance.
Goertzen said this is the second problem on that line since it was cleaned. Utility Maintenance personnel will check that line when they clean the lines at the east end of town.