The Goessel City Council approved slightly higher water rates at its Nov. 19 meeting. Mayor Peggy Jay said an increase was necessary because receipts for water have not been covering expenses.
City Clerk Anita Goertzen had prepared a chart showing that 2012 water expenditures so far have totaled $98,898 while water receipts for the same period have totaled only $94,866, for a deficit of $4,032.
Councilor Dallas Boese noted that Goessel’s water rates are lower than the rates of other towns.
Goertzen had also explained at numerous previous meetings that water rates have to be raised in order to apply for grants for upgrades. A grant application will not be accepted with rates as low as Goessel’s rates.
Paula Flaming, deputy city clerk/court clerk, said Goessel’s rates have to be closer to the average state rate in order to qualify for grant money.
After much discussion of various options, the council voted to accept the new water rates, which will take effect in 2013. According to projections, the new rates should cover the expenses.
Current residential 3/4-inch meters cost $9.38 for the minimum up to 1,000 gallons, compared to $13.27 for the Kansas state average. Goessel currently charges $2.49 for each additional 1,000 gallons up to 5,000 gallons and $2.77 thereafter.
The new rates are 47 cents higher for the minimum rate up to 1,000 gallons, 13 cents higher for 1,000 to 5,000 gallons, and 14 cents higher for the over 5,000-gallon category. Those new rates are $9.85, $2.62 and $2.91, respectively.
The current 1-inch meter rates are $24.51 for the minimum up to 5,000 gallons, $2.49 for each 1,000 gallons up to 7,500 gallons, and $2.77 thereafter. The new rates are only slightly higher: $25.74 for minimum usage up to 5,000 gallons, $2.62 for each additional 1,000 gallons up to 7,500 gallons and $2.91 thereafter.
Meters of 11?2 inch and 2 inches are currently charged $38.59 for the minimum amount up to 7,500 gallons, $2.49 for each 1,000 gallons up to 15,000 gallons, and $2.77 thereafter. The new rates will be: $40.52, $2.62 and $2.91, respectively.
Currently, the rates for 4-inch meters are: $60.64 minimum up to 20,000 gallons, $2.49 for each 1,000 gallons up to 40,000 gallons, and $2.77 thereafter. The new rates will be: $63.68, $2.62 and $2.91, respectively.
Water users who live outside the city limits pay double.
Sewer and trash rates
The council also addressed the issue of sewer rates. Jay said Meyer Specialty will increase rates in 2013. Therefore, Goessel has to increase rates also. The council approved a 5 percent rate increase that will become effective in 2013.
The minimum sewer charge per month is currently $9.93, with an additional 20 cents per 100 gallons for each customer, based on their average water usage for January, February and March. The new minimum charge will be $10.43 per month, but the additional charge will remain at 20 cents.
Users who live outside city limits pay double for the basic charge, and the additional charge will be 30 cents per 100 gallons according to the average usage of all residential customers, which is a nickel higher than the current charge.
Sewer maintenance expenses so far have totaled $4,646 for 2012. However, the sewer maintenance receipts have only totaled $3,638 for the same period, creating a deficit of $1,008.
Jay said the city has not increased the sewer maintenance fee since 2001. However, Meyer Specialties has increased its rates for 2013. Therefore, the sewer maintenance fee will be increased by only 25 cents, to $1.75 per month.
Waste Connections will raise its fees in January. Therefore, the trash rate will increase by 25 cents. The current rate is $10.10 for a 60-gallon cart; it will increase to $10.35. The current rate for a 90-gallon cart is $10.80; it will increase to $11.05.
Turning its attention to another matter, the council reviewed a proposed agreement between the city and the Goessel Recreation Commission regarding the concession building at the baseball diamonds.
According to the agreement, prepared by Chad Lindeman of the GRC, the GRC will be responsible for the electric and water bills. The GRC will be responsible for cleaning the building during May, June and July.
The GRC will also take reservations for the building during those months and will supply people to run the concession building during ball games. The GRC will purchase cleaning supplies and paper products for the restrooms from May through July.
The city will handle concession building reservations and will be responsible for the cleaning supplies/paper products during January through April and again August through December.
The city will pay for the insurance for the building and will be responsible for maintaining the building and its sewer and water lines.
The council approved the agreement and expressed appreciation to the GRC for their work in making the concession facility possible.
Public Works Director Karen Dalke said she had planted grass seed at the ball diamonds and noted it is difficult to water there since no faucet has been installed yet.
In other business, the council:
• heard the police department issued 14 tickets during the past month and 10 verbal warnings. Officers issued one ticket for a dog with no license. They made two contacts, worked two cases and made one arrest. They also made a welfare check on a dog and investigated theft reports.
• heard from Councilor Larry Lindeman that someone has been dumping leaves in plastic bags at the burn site.
“It’s happening again,” he said, adding that bags are not acceptable.
• heard from Councilor Larry Schmidt that all the recycling receptacles have been full by Wednesday evening. The recyclables are picked up on Thursdays. Schmidt is available Thursday evenings to help residents unload their recycling items.
“That number is getting bigger,” he said, noting that more people are coming when he is there and appreciate his help in keeping the recycling bin lids open for them.
Schmidt said there have been no more problems with trash in the recycling Dumpster. He said the person who had dumped trash there had not known the Dumpster was only for recyclables.
• heard that Dalke had replaced 15 feet of tin over her office in the city shop building because the water was pouring into the shop during a recent rain.
• turned down a request from the library for a designated parking space. The council discussed the issue and decided not to designate a space since it is a public building and a public parking lot. It was noted that city employees do not have designated parking spaces.
• updated the city’s purchasing authority and procedures policy, which outlines what expenditures need prior approval from the council and under what circumstances the city is required to obtain bids.
• discussed property that does not meet city codes. Attorney Marilyn Wilder and the council met in executive session but had nothing to report to the public in open session.