Goessel City Council frustrated with county road situation

The Goessel City Council expressed substantial dissatisfaction at its Nov. 15 meeting with the county?s road work on 120th, otherwise known as Goessel Road.

Councilor Duane Duerksen asked, ?Is there any plan to resurface it??

Karen Dalke, public works director, responded, ?In a couple years?maybe.?

Councilor Larry Lindeman added, ?If they have the money.?

Mayor Peggy Jay told the council that three representatives of the Goessel school district went to the county commission to convey concern about the condition of 120th.

The school was represented by John Fast, superintendent, Marc Grout, junior/senior high school principal and school board member James Wiens.

They had documentation from the state that 565 vehicles drive on 120th one way daily. That number would be substantially higher if vehicles traveling both ways would be considered.

In contrast, the school representatives found that Menno Road, which is farther north and does not lead directly into Goessel, carries only 242 vehicles daily, and it was paved this past summer.

Meanwhile, 120th was torn up and is now rock and dust; it was not repaved.

Jay told the council that Fast had contacted Bradbury, Excel, Agco and Moridge in Moundridge and Hesston and found that at least 10 percent of their employees live in Marion County. Many of them would use 120th and might go through Goessel on their way to and from work.

Therefore, Jay said, ?Especially this one mile (of 120th) is very important to the city.?

In addition to 120th no longer being paved, Jay said she is concerned that the crown is still there.

?What?s going to happen when we get ice?? She expressed concern about the potential for serious accidents.

In addition to 120th east of Goessel, it had also been closed west of Goessel.

?They have shut off all avenues to Goessel,? Jay said.

During recent road work, the county left a ridge of rock so high in front of driveways that Dalke said she got stuck in it with a city vehicle.

It was noted that a county representative had told drivers to use 110th, which is one mile south of 120th. But that road is not surfaced at all in the first mile east of Kansas Highway 15; it has no rock, no sand and no pavement.

It was pointed out that 110th turns to mud when it rains, and drivers get stuck.

Other roads in the Goessel community were also mentioned because of safety issues. Two Goessel High School students had accidents recently, partly because of the poor condition of roads.

Jay reminded the council that the Moundridge Road (90th) was torn up about three years ago, and the county had said it would be repaved.

?I?m really concerned that it?s going to stay this way and not get paved,? she said.

The council noticed that the Marion County commissioners are from Marion, Peabody and Hillsboro and that the roads to those three cities are paved.

The council noticed the inconsistency.

Goessel is in West Branch township. Jay told the council that West Branch is the third-highest in population and tax base in the county, after Marion and Hillsboro.

?We may be a small town of only 500 and some people,? she said, ?but we’re a large community.?

City Clerk Anita Goertzen suggested inviting the three county commissioners and representatives of the school to a city council meeting to discuss road situations.

Water rates

Turning their attention to another matter, the council discussed water rates. The city is increasing the rates by 5 percent. But even with the increase, Goessel?s water rates will still be well below the state average.

Councilor Dallas Boese asked, ?Do you know how much below average we still would be??

Goertzen said probably 25 to 30 percent. She said Goessel?s minimum rate will be $8.93 for a three-fourths-inch water meter, while the state?s average minimum charge is $16.

Larger lines will have a higher cost.

Ordinance 233 also states that users who are not residents of the city of Goessel will be charged twice as much as city residents.

In addition to the monthly water fee, the ordinance also listed fees for operation and maintenance (including replacement) and a maintenance examination fee.

Other business

In other business, the council:

— met in executive session to discuss police staffing, then appointed Eric Reed as police chief upon returning to the regular session.

— also discussed in the executive session the possibility of adding a part-time police officer to the department. In open session, the council voted to hire Jeff Van Horn as a part-time officer. Van Horn was at the meeting and told the council he is a Harvey County Sheriff’s deputy and is on the Emergency Response Team.

— authorized Reed and Van Horn to develop a schedule between the two of them.

— heard Reed report that one ticket and two warnings had been issued. Two cases had been worked. He said he had talked to Harvey County communications personnel about alarms and cameras. He also talked about maintenance on police equipment.

— listened to Goertzen?s input about street signs. She said the city has to replace all its current stop signs with new reflective ones by 2018.

— heard that Dalke would be going to a water class at Kechi Wednesday and a sewer class Thursday.

— heard from Dalke that the water tower cleaning was completed. ?It looks good,? she said.

— authorized Dalke to purchase a leaf blower for $259.99. It blows at 200 mph and could be used to remove snow as well as leaves and works on grass and sidewalks. Dalke said she plans to purchase it at Durham.

— discussed houses that do not meet safety standards. The owner of one house plans to move it out of town. The owner of another house is moving to a mobile home. The owner of the third house has not responded to the city. The council discussed options for compliance.

— after a 40-minute executive session, the council voted to give the city?s two full-time employees, Anita Goertzen and Karen Dalke, a 3 percent salary raise, starting in January. In a separate action, the council voted to give all part-time staff a 3 percent raise as well.

— rescheduled the next council meeting for 8 p.m. Dec. 16.

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