Goessel council member reports input on state?s financial crisis

Councilor Dallas Boese warned the rest of the Goessel City Council at the March 15 meeting about the state?s serious financial situation.

Boese had gone to Topeka with school superintendent John Fast and representatives of Bethesda Home to talk with state legislators Jay Emler and Bob Brookens.

The Goessel group also briefly spoke with Duane Goossen, state budget director.

?It doesn?t look promising for our town,? Boese reported. ?If the state cuts any more, they will hit education. They will hit our two main employers,? including Bethesda Home.

?We need a bigger population…. We need a bigger tax base,? Boese said. ?It?s a circle. To bring in a business, you have to have population. To bring in population, you have to have business.?

He asked, ?What do we need to do to make our town more attractive??

Mayor Peggy Jay encouraged the council to be proactive. The council briefly discussed houses that are not up to code. The council acknowledged they need to be brought up to code in an effort to make the town more attractive.

Turning their attention to another matter, the council listened to Rita Clary, Kansas Rural Water Association technical assistant. Clary, from northwest Kansas, told the council about stimulus grant and loan money that is available from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

She also talked about funding opportunities through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment. She said Goessel?s water and sewer rates are too low, $10 under the state average for water.

She advised the council that the city has to raise rates, ?or they won?t even take a second look for a revolving loan or grant.?

Clary suggested: ?Do a rate increase now and another one in six months…. You can do 50 cents; you can do a dollar.?

She added, ?Raise those rates each year.?

Clary warned the council that the city?s water tower will need maintenance, and it will be costly. She told the council it needs a reserve to pay for that maintenance.

?You need to make that adjustment, no matter how hard it is,? she said. ?You need money in your reserves.?

Heeding Clary?s advice, the council scheduled a special meeting to discuss water rates at 8 p.m. March 23.

Other business

In other business, the council:

? discussed the use of alleys. It was brought to the attention of the council that some drivers have been using alleys instead of public streets.

Four-wheel-drive pickups had been used to ?go mudding? in alleys. Deep ruts were created, so deep that one resident could not access his own vehicle.

?It was a mess,? public works employee Karen Dalke reported, ?a very big mess.?

Residents are encouraged to ask their friends to use the streets for driving, and not the alleys. Homeowners are responsible for rocking their own alleys and maintaining them.

Deputy City Clerk Paula Flaming clarified that the city ?only has easements? in alleys.

? heard that damage done in alleys by service trucks had been repaired.

? discussed the matter of blocking alleys. Residents are reminded that alleys need to remain open so service and rescue vehicles have access to those areas.

? heard that police personnel had attended storm spotter training and a defensive driving course. Dalke had also attended the defensive driving class.

? learned that cities are urged not to retain volunteer labor as public servants because of liability issues. Therefore, the council entered into executive session to discuss the matter of the city?s reserve police officer.

In open session, the council voted to terminate the volunteer reserve officer position currently held by Junior Guerrero.

? granted Dalke?s request for tools. ?Joe and I have been using our own tools,? she said. ?We need a whole kit all in one case. We don?t have drills to bore through concrete.?

? heard that Dalke and Base had installed more water meters.

? heard from Dalke that the chlorinator booster pump had been replaced at the well house.

? heard that Dalke has ordered rock.

? heard Councilor Larry Lindeman?s concern about the need for asphalt patching on State Street. It was noted the county needs to be contacted about that issue.

? discussed installing a water meter at the property line of a lot that Terry and Louann Soukup purchased. Base suggested running a water line down A Road to B Road, therefore looping the line. That would solve a number of problems, he said.

The council voted to approve that suggestion, also heeding Councilor Jim Wiens?s concern that the meter be placed so public works employees will not have to cross someone else?s property to get to the meter.

As a result, the Soukups? meter will be along A Road. It was noted the owner pays for the meter if it is a new tap.

? heard about a water leak on the museum grounds during February due to a broken water line. The museum is not open for business during February.

? discussed the issue of dogs. A resident had requested more than two, with puppies due in May. The council agreed to allow the dogs until Aug. 1. After that date, only two dogs will be allowed at that residence.

? approved a resolution to follow state guidelines for the retention and destruction of records. Some documents must be kept for at least six months, others for as long as 10 years. The city will check into the cost of shredding old documents.

? discussed the possibility of changing the date of the May council meeting due to eighth-grade promotion on the regular council meeting date.

? noted that someone had left the city?s burn-site gate open; the gate is to remain closed.

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