Goessel City Council gets down and dirty with sewer, runoff issues

The Goessel City Council met on July 20 and discussed the need for a back-up motor for the lift station.

Public Works Director Karen Dalke said she was called in at 1:30 a.m. one night because of a malfunction. She cautioned that there would be flooding ?if a motor would go down during heavy rain.?

Mayor Dave Schrag agreed.

?If one of those motors goes out, we don’t have time to go get another one,? he said.

Basements would fill up with sewage, Schrag added.

Councilor Rollin Schmidt said that basements can fill with sewage very quickly.

Dalke said the two main pumps ran constantly after the last rain and became too hot to touch.

A new motor would cost $5,000 or $6,000, she said.

Schrag said there were also problems with the Harvest Meadows development lift station.

In relation to sewage issues, the council also discussed the sewage ponds.

?We have four ponds,? Dalke said, and they might need to be dredged.

She said the older ponds, which are 40 or 50 years old and have never been dredged, have 10 and 20 inches of sludge. The newest sewage pond was installed in 2004 and has six inches of sludge.

With the recent rains, she said, 50,000 gallons a day more than usual were pumped into the sewage ponds.

Dalke told the council that the sewage ponds are five and one-half feet deep, and the city has five acres of sewage ponds. It would cost $32,600 per acre to dredge the ponds, for a total of $163,000.

Speaking of sewer issues, the council discussed cleaning the sewer lines. Mayer Specialty submitted a detailed proposal for a three-year contract to clean a portion of the line each year. The proposal included fuel adjustment costs through the year 2018. Mayer Specialty can also televise the lines.

Dalke said the company does do a good job.

?They get the line cleaned,? she said.

In other business, the council:

? heard that the city needed to use rural water briefly at one time.

Schrag reminded the council that a concrete vault was installed as ?insurance? so that the city could use rural water, and therefore still have access to water even if the city’s water system failed. He expressed appreciation for that option when the city needed it.

? noted that the city does not do personal digging for residents because of liability issues.

? heard from Councilor Larry Schmidt about recent vandalism in the men’s restroom at the city park. The council expressed concern about the matter and will look into it.

? heard from Schmidt that recycling is going well.

? talked about mosquitoes and noted that it is a lot of work to change from the mowing apparatus to the mosquito sprayer. In the past, the council was informed of the need for a better sprayer.

? discussed the city’s lawn mower, which has had significant problems.

The council discussed purchasing a better mower that would include a blade and snow blower.

City Clerk Jennifer Whitehead said a mower was included in the budget the last three years.

The council authorized the purchase of a demonstration lawn mower for $10,500. The council talked about selling the old mower.

? heard that Schrag checked into a test well for the baseball diamonds. He said it was put off because of the recent rain. He said the well might cost $19 or $20 per foot.

The council discussed using an eight-inch casing. He said the city would need a permit from the state for a well. Dalke said the ball diamond area that needs water would be four acres.

? discussed a property on Main Street that needs to be cleaned up.

? talked about a hollow tree that needs to be taken care of.

? heard of some alley areas and yards that need to be mowed.

At some places, the growth is four feet high and includes poison ivy. Mowing is the responsibility of the home owners.

? heard of continuing cat issues. The city’s attorney has been contacted for advice on how to proceed with the matter.

? discussed the need for an animal control officer.

? talked about riding in the Threshing Days parade.

? appointed Tina Boese to the Goessel Housing Authority Board.

? spoke with auditor Stephen Connelly by speaker phone, who commended Whitehead for her work.

?Everything was very organized,? Connelley said. ?Overall, the city is doing well.?

He reviewed cash receipts and expenditures, cash balances, the general fund, water fund, sewer fund, and utility fund.

? heard that Whitehead has been working on a budget proposal for the next fiscal year. She said the city’s assessed valuation increased; therefore, the mill levy can remain the same as the current level.

? spent a considerable time in executive session discussing employee wages and the need to raise them to a level more comparable with others in similar occupations.

?Right now the city does not have a wage scale,? Schrag said, adding the council would develop such a scale.

It was noted that Dalke is in her ninth year as Goessel’s public works director. She is on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week, even when she is on vacation. She always responds when she is called, and she works well with people in the city. Besides her experience, it was noted that there are personal safety hazards on her job.