Goessel Task Force examining water park, walking path options

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN CYNTHIA GOERZEN
Donna Duerksen, representing the Goessel Task Force, discussed ideas for the city with the Goessel City Council at its Jan. 15 meeting

Duerksen said the task force is looking into the possibility of extending the walking trail that runs through Bethesda Home property.

Duerksen also said the task force is looking into the possibility of a water play park. She said the task force plans to meet with the Parent-Teacher Organization, recreation commission, fire department, 4-H club, and garden club Jan. 23 to discuss options.

Duerksen said the task force is also looking into replacing the Goessel sign along the highway.

“We recognize the existing sign was the benevolent giving of the Lions Club many years ago,” she said. “It has served well and has been a nice marker for the community.”

Duerksen added that the task force would like to “build on that same vision to make our community more visible.”

She said Jerry and Leann Toews had already given their permission to erect a new sign to replace the current one on their property.

Councilor Jim Wiens informed the council the original lights on the city sign were low-pressure sodium lights and cost the city $88 a month to operate.

The lights had been replaced some time ago, and now the city pays $14 or $15 per month to operate them. He used the information as an example to caution the council to choose lights carefully for the city building. The council discussed better lighting for the exterior of the building.

Police Chief Joe Base and City Clerk Anita Goertzen pointed out how dark it is on the south side of the building. Goertzen also mentioned the parking lot and the walk-way north of the building as needing better lighting as well.

The council discussed installing a light in the community room that would be on constantly.

In other business, the council:

approved a contract with Mayer Specialty for $3,044 for sewer cleaning. Since this is an increase over the previous contract, the council is looking into raising the city sewer maintenance fee in order to cover the cost.

The current monthly fee is $1.50 per household.

The city hires Mayer Specialty to clean one-third of the city’s sewer lines every year.

heard Base report the police department had worked one domestic case and had written four parking tickets and one citation for speed. He said he had investigated an open door after hours at the library.

heard public works employee Joel Ratzlaff say the generator at the lift station had been fixed. But Wiens cautioned, “We have no back-up if ours fails or if we have an ice storm.”

Base agreed the city needs a back-up. He said the city’s generator did not work the Thursday just before the recent ice storm.

The council authorized Base and Wiens to investigate the purchase of a used diesel generator.

accepted a capital improvement resolution and an equipment reserve resolution.

Goertzen said the equipment reserve fund had been cut from $13,000 to $10,000.

She said the lease-purchase on the city’s pick-up truck ends in 2007. Money is being set aside to purchase a dump truck since the city’s current dump truck does not work well.

discussed the drainage issue at the Ratzlaff/Kinderhaus building. Wiens presented a proposal from Preferred Builders for $650 to clean the ditch between the Ratzlaff building and the Credit Union. The city would provide a dump truck to move dirt. Work would also be done on the culvert.

heard developer Duane Unruh’s update on the Harvest Meadows housing addition. He said the preconstruction meeting would be held as planned at 2 p.m. Jan. 17, but there would be no groundbreaking ceremony since the ground is frozen.

discussed a tree that is split and needs to be removed.

emphasized it is the property owner’s responsibility to keep sidewalks on their property in good condition. Mayor Peggy Jay suggested that city employees check sidewalks when the weather improves and make recommendations.

heard Goertzen report that a new person will be needed to replace Wally Schultz, who died recently, on the Goessel Housing Authority board. Schultz’s term is up in 2008.

discussed grills for the city park.

talked about Christmas lights for next Christmas season. Suggestions included fixing or replacing the Christmas lights that the city currently uses, setting up a display at the park, or putting up lights at the city building.

By consensus, the council began the process by authorizing the purchase of some Christmas lights for $129. Wiens mentioned lights for the water tower.

authorized Goertzen to schedule professional cleaning of the community room carpet.

heard Assistant City Clerk Paula Flaming report that the new Governmental Suites computer software is going well so far. She added, “The state is not ready.”

heard Base report, “We’re in need of a dog cage.” Councilors Larry Schmidt, Larry Lindeman, and Duane Duerksen offered suggestions.

discussed health insurance for city employees since rates are going up. The council discussed the issue further in executive session and decided to schedule a special meeting at a later date to continue the discussion.

“We need to see what else is out there,” Jay said.

heard Jan. 25 will be City Hall Day at the Capitol in Topeka. City officials will gather to see the state government in action. Lindeman said he had gone one year and encouraged others on the council to do so.

listened to resident Tony Epp’s concerns about government and grants. He followed up on the concerns about godly leadership that he had presented at last month’s meeting.

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