Goessel’s new sewer nearing completion

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
Public Works Director Joe Base told the Goessel City Council at its Nov. 21 meeting that the new sewer project is almost complete.

“We’re in the 30-day seepage testing period,” he said.

After all inspections have been passed, the project should be released for regular use.

City Clerk Anita Goertzen reported that Schwab Eaton’s pay estimate for the sewer project comes to $94,625, with a retainage fee of $10,000 for a final inspection to be sure everything has been done.

Councilor Jim Wiens asked about the fence work at the sewer project. Base said the fence is done.

Base said he plans to take the wastewater certification test in March, which will be well before the July 1, 2007, deadline.

New part-time public works employee Lyle Christ must also be certified. In a step toward certification, he has already attended a wastewater class.

Base told the council that a portion of the sewer line had been inspected with television equipment. The inspection showed the line was full of roots.

Wiens said the storm-drainage pipe by Bethesda Home had been opened.

“Probably a pickup load of dirt came out of that pipe, and some concrete,” he said. “Joe worked on that stretch of pipe from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. It should help considerably the next time we have a big rain.”

The council turned its attention to the matter of a “limited growth area” and how it would compare to an “area of influence.”

The council has received three different answers when questioning the county about the issue.

“They’re still trying to define this,” Goertzen said.

If the city designates a limited-growth area, the county could allow more houses in that section. If ground is annexed to the city, then it would not fall under county restrictions.

The council discussed designating a one-mile radius around town as a limited growth area. But no decisions were made, pending answers from the county.

Goertzen reported she had attended a Master Municipal Clerk Academy.

“It was very informative,” she said. She learned that:

  • the city should require pre-employment physicals so the city will not be responsible for a new employee’s pre-existing medical condition.
  • it is a violation for two city council members to discuss city matters outside of a city council meeting. A special meeting is acceptable, but a quorum must be present.
  • any letters presented to the council in open session become part of the open record.
  • the council should pass an ordinance allowing the mayor to authorize purchases up to a certain amount. Since the mayor is not allowed to poll council members outside of meetings, the ordinance would allow the mayor to approve purchases that might be needed immediately and cannot wait for a council meeting for approval.
  • the city needs to update its personnel policy.
  • the city is required to staff a designated records custodian during all office hours.

    Goertzen is the records custodian, but the city office is now staffed extra hours due to the hiring of an assistant city clerk. Therefore, since Paula Flaming is the new assistant city clerk, she was officially also named assistant records custodian.

In other business, the council:

  • heard that Connie Wiens wishes to resign from her city-building cleaning job. Councilor Larry Schmidt said, “I think she’s been doing a fine job.”
  • heard Base’s police chief report. He had worked burglaries, vandalism, and domestic problems during the past month.
  • learned that Base had put more rock on the city building’s south side parking lot, bringing the parking lot up to the sidewalk.
  • heard that Base has obtained sand for city streets. Sand has already been applied to some streets.
  • discussed city-wide clean-up days. The council decided to schedule a clean-up day at the end of April instead of in summer. Another clean-up day will be scheduled in mid-October.

    Goertzen informed the council that the county allows two clean-up days per year for no extra cost. The city schedules one curb-side clean-up day and one Dumpster day.

    A roll-off Dumpster would cost $400, plus a $200 transfer station dumping fee if a third clean-up day would be scheduled.

  • heard Councilor Larry Lindeman ask, “Did you ever hear anything from Alltel?” He was referring to cell-phone service.

    Goertzen said she has not received a reply. “It would help for people to call and tell them we need a tower,” she said.

  • listened to Nancy Plenert and Cindy Wiens, who represented the library board. They said the Moundridge Telephone Co. plans to begin charging the library $47 a month for Internet service, starting Jan. 1. They asked the city to pay the fee since it had not been included in the library budget. The council agreed to pay it.
  • Wiens expressed appreciation for the improvements at the city park. Councilor Larry Schmidt commented about the city park’s skate park: “It’s getting used quite a bit.”
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