The Goessel City Council heard a positive report during its Jan. 16 meeting from Councilor Larry Schmidt about the town’s recycling effort.
Schmidt supervises the recycling program, which is available Thursday evenings. He said some people bring their items for recycling every week, some come every two weeks, and some come once a month.
That explanation answered Councilor Rollin Schmidt’s observation that the recycling bins were not full when he had checked recently.
But Court Clerk Paula Flaming said, “Last Wednesday they were full. Karen (Dalke, public works director,) came and smashed them down.”
Larry Schmidt said “60 to 70 percent of my people” come from out of town to recycle.
Mayor Peggy Jay asked how Goessel is doing compared to other communities. Rollin Schmidt, who works as the director of recycling for Marion County, said Goessel has the most, although others are “going strong,” too.
He said the county “does not want to slow the program down.”
The council decided to keep the present arrangement of two recycling bins, although Waste Connections had offered a roll-off container.
Larry Schmidt addressed matter of lighting at the recycling bins. He wants to leave the bins where they are; the set-up works great, he said. But the lighting is insufficient.
Schmidt said he has been trying to obtain lighting for the bins. City Clerk Anita Goertzen said she would check into more adequate lighting.
Room rental fee
The council voted to raise the rates for renting the city’s community room. Goertzen said the rental rate had remained the same since the building was built in 1999: $20 for one-half day, $30 for all day.
When Rollin Schmidt asked how the rate compares to other cities, Goertzen responded, “We’re really cheap.”
But she said that it had been a goal of the council to make it accessible to the community.
Councilor Dallas Boese asked how much the community room is used.
“It’s used a lot,” Goertzen said, including once a month for an all-day scrapbooking event. She said there were some double bookings at Christmastime.
Asked by Councilor Jim Wiens how much money the community room generated in December and January, Goertzen said the city had received $280 during that period.
Wiens noted the city had paid $356 in cleaning fees for the same time. Jay said the cleaning fee included the entire building.
The council said the community room rental fee should more adequately cover expenses.
“Could we use that increase for maintenance?” Boese asked, referring to future improvements in the building.
Goertzen said the city received $840 for use of the community room in 2011.
The new rental rate will be $30 for one-half day, $40 for all day for all new bookings. Events that have already been booked will remain at the old rate.
Senior center closing
The council spent considerable time discussing the AGAPE Senior Center. Rollin Schmidt said county commissioners would discuss the center’s decision to close at its Jan. 17 meeting.
He said he had heard from the county that it was hard to find board members for the center as well as volunteers to work there.
Jay said she had heard that the state will shut down the senior center because it cannot come up with 40-some meals a day.
“The state is setting the standard,” she said. “The standard is too high.”
The council agreed it is too much to expect 44 people a day to eat meals at the center.
Jay said the senior center has served the community for 35 years, but now the board saw no alternatives to shutting it down.
The council discussed the home delivery of meals from the AGAPE Center for those who need that service.
Jay had heard that 10 people need meals delivered to their homes. Boese had heard that someone drives to the Hillsboro center to pick up the meals and brings them back to Goessel; volunteers there deliver the meals to homes at Goessel.
Jay had heard that the meals will still be given out from the center for 60 days. She had heard of alternatives for those meals after the 60 days are over.
Goertzen asked if Goessel Community Foundation representatives could attend the Jan. 17 county commission meeting to hear the commissioners discuss the senior center.
“If this (issue) would have happened five years from now, there’s a chance the community foundation could have found some funds” to help the center, Jay said.
When Councilor Larry Lindeman asked who owns the senior center, Jay said the AGAPE corporation owns the building and the land. Wiens said the state owns the furnishings.
Flaming said the county has the authority to officially close the senior center. The council expressed gratitude to Gayla Ratzlaff, coordinator for the Marion County Department on Aging, for the work she has done with the senior center and for her efforts to keep it open.
In other business, the council:
• heard that the city received $140 for use of the park shelter house during 2011.
• discussed hours for the police department. Police chief Gary Littlejohn said current officers work 24-hour shifts for Harvey County and asked for one additional part-time police officer for Goessel.
The council approved the request for an additional part-time police officer who would have his/her own equipment.
• heard that the police department had worked 28 cases in 2011.
• changed the February meeting to Tuesday, Feb. 21, since the regular meeting date falls on a legal holiday, President’s Day.