Goessel City Council discusses refiguring city-related staff positions

Goessel City Council spent a considerable amount of time at its Feb. 20 meeting discussing the positions of public works director and police chief currently held by Joe Base.

In the past, the public works director position had been full-time and the police position part-time. But Base was hired full-time for both positions combined.

Lyle Christ recently was hired to help with public works part-time, but he resigned to take a job with more hours. His last day with the city will be March 25.

Considering the increase in police work, the council discussed if it was time to revisit the alignment of duties.

Councilor Duane Duerksen said, “We can’t patrol a small town 24/7,” but Mayor Peggy Jay said that police work has been requiring more of Base’s time than the council had thought it would.

A comment was made that there is more going on in town than simply traffic violations.

For example, in the past month Base issued one warning for speed, one citation for speed and one for failure to stop at a stop sign. He investigated one theft and one burglary/criminal damage to property, responded to two domestic calls, assisted the sheriff with an accident, provided traffic control with a fire, served one warrant, and worked on several ongoing criminal investigations.

Also, changes in the sheriff’s office have meant that Base spends more time on matters that had been covered by a sheriff’s employee in the past.

Councilor Jim Wiens said, “A lot of people don’t realize we don’t have police and public works staffed 24/7.” Jay added, “We’d have to have three full-time people.”

The council voted to change the nature of Base’s job so that by 2007 he would work three-fourths time as police chief and one-fourth time in public works.

As a result, the council voted to hire an additional public works employee. Because of budget constraints for this year, the new public works job would be limited to 30 hours a week for the remainder of 2006. But it would become full-time at 40 hours a week beginning in 2007. Applications must be in the city clerk’s office by March 20.

The city appointed Tim Boese as a volunteer reserve officer. The city will supply his uniform and supplies. The reserve officer can write tickets, among other duties. Boese also works as a Marion County dispatcher.

On another matter, councilor Larry Lindeman introduced the idea of asphalting the sand streets. “We have approximately six miles of sand streets in Goessel,” he said.

Lindeman said the average asphalt overlay would last five years.

The council discussed costs and means of funding. Councilor Larry Schmidt said ditches and culverts would be a concern since the suggestion had been to overlay the asphalt on the sand.

“We have streets that aren’t flowing water already.” Councilor Rick Freeman said. “I’d be real curious to see how that holds up.”

The suggestion was made that the council research maintenance costs. Jay suggested hiring an engineer.

“If we’re going to do it, let’s do it right,” she said.

City Clerk Anita Goertzen suggested checking into the Kansas Department of Transportation revolving fund.

Several council members suggested holding meetings for the public to voice their opinions on the matter.

For now, the council decided to use rock as filler on both sides of Main Street where the pavement is breaking up. It was noted the center of Main Street becomes higher with subsequent overlays.

In other business, the council: discussed passing a “dry city” ordinance in relation to selling alcoholic beverages.

Goertzen said the state will grant a license unless the city passes an ordinance to the contrary.

Discussion on the matter was tabled until a later time.

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