Goessel council lowers 2007 mill levy by .587

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
The Goessel City Council met Aug. 21 for a budget hearing, along with the regularly scheduled monthly meeting.

City Clerk Anita Goertzen said the 2007 mill levy will be 55.310, which is .587 mill lower than the 2006 mill levy.

She said the city is able to lower the mill levy because the assessed valuation of the city is higher, which means that someone built a house or improved their property, and that increases the total valuation of the city.

Turning its attention to another matter, the council discussed golf carts and lawn mowers on city streets.

Mayor Peggy Jay said drivers have to follow the rules of the road and are required to have insurance. Councilor Jim Wiens stressed the need for liability insurance.

Goertzen said drivers are required to have a valid driver’s license in order to operate any kind of motor vehicle.

She also explained home rule: “We can have an ordinance to allow something that’s not allowed in the county. And we can have an ordinance to prohibit something that is allowed in the county.”

Police Chief Joe Base said some cities don’t allow such vehicles at all. He said a new state law might be put into place that would even ban four-wheelers.

Jay and Councilor Larry Lindeman advised the council to look into the matter and to check with the city attorney.

Councilor Duane Duerksen asked about child-sized motorcycles. Goertzen cautioned against child endangerment; vehicle drivers might not be able to see a small child on a small motorcycle.

Base reported that in the past month, the police department had issued one ticket for no insurance, one for a wrong tag, three for speeding, three warnings for speeding, one ticket for failure to stop, and one suspected driving under the influence.

The department had investigated one harassment incident, one child custody case, one drug case, and one minor in possession of tobacco.

Base reported there were no incidents or EMS calls at Threshing Days.

Base said the county is looking at grants for electronic locks for all the police departments in the county. The devices will keep track of anyone who enters and how long the door was open. The device can be programmed to lock and unlock doors at a certain time.

Base said the electronic devices could be expanded to included the whole city building at the city’s expense.

Duerksen asked about a taser for the police department. Base said it would cost about $1,000. Duerksen advised it could be used in threatening situations.

Councilor Larry Schmidt agreed: “It would be worth looking into.”

In other business, the council:

discussed the city’s Green River Ordinance that governs door-to-door soliciting. Goertzen said, “If a salesman comes to your door, ask to see their permit. They have to come to the office to get one.”

Resident Anton Epp attended the meeting and asked how long a permit is valid. Goertzen said a $5 permit is good for one day. But a $200 permit would be valid for a year. She said no permit is needed for farm produce or items that are part of a fair or celebration. A permit is not needed for a non-profit organization.

Schmidt asked, “Can we turn down a permit?” Goertzen said a license can be denied or revoked.

discussed fences for private property. Fences must be set back at least 10 feet from the edge of the street and 5 feet from an alley. Any fence that is on a city utility easement must be maintained at the owner’s expense; the city is not liable for damages. A permit is required before a fence can be erected.

listened to resident Michael Hamilton’s concern about State Street. “That street is unique,” he said. It serves all kinds of vehicles, including combines. It seems to be getting perpetually worse.”

Goertzen said one-half is city responsibility, and one-half is county responsibility.

Hamilton said it needs to be rebuilt: “Is there something the city and county can do together?” He said the street needs a better base so it will “wear” better.

Public works director Mike Wilson said, “I try to keep it smooth. I just can’t. I can grade it.” But it is rough again after farm equipment passes over it.

expressed gratitude to the Goessel Recreation Commission for “all their hard work in making the baseball diamonds a great asset to our community.”

In order to clarify duties at the baseball diamonds, the city council approved an agreement with the recreation commission.

The recreation commission will maintain the infield, the dug-outs and any other structures. It will provide a trash can and will empty it as needed. The city will maintain the grounds outside the ball diamonds.

heard Goertzen report that the state had raised court fees by $10. Therefore, the council raised city court fees from $45 to $55.

entered into executive session to discuss the public works position. In open session, the council voted to increase Wilson’s hours to 40 hours per week but to provide no health benefits at this time.

Wilson is now the public works director. In addition to Base’s police chief duties, he is the back-up public works employee.

discussed a street light for a new Sunflower Apartments parking lot. Plans are to construct a new parking lot between Marion and Centennial streets. Base has discussed the matter with Westar and found that normally there is no charge if a line is already in place, but there is a charge if trenching needs to be done.

Goertzen was instructed to find out what the cost would be.

made no decision about a request from residents who live near the post office and would like to have the street light in their block moved closer to the post office.

agreed to replace dead trees with fencing at the park.

discussed cleaning out the drainage ditch at the park.

heard Goertzen report that she plans to attend the Kansas Municipal Utilities conference in Abilene in September.

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