Goessel council sets fall dates, discusses nuisance properties

The Goessel City Council set dates during its Aug. 20 meeting for a fall garage sale, curbside cleanup and Harvest Festival.

The fall city-wide garage sale is scheduled for Sept. 22, the fourth Saturday, with a city-wide clean-up day scheduled Saturday, Oct. 13. City Clerk Anita Goertzen will contact Waste Connections to finalize plans.

The Harvest Festival is scheduled for Oct. 6, the first Saturday of October.

Asked by Mayor Peggy Jay for a recycling report, Councilor Larry Schmidt said recycling products are picked up from the Dumpsters Thursday mornings. However, by Thursday evening, one Dumpster is already half full of recyclables, and the second Dumpster is one-fourth full. Both are full and overflowing before the next pick-up day.

Council members said recycling is important and discussed options for handling the large amount of materials residents are bringing. The materials are coming from the city as well as the surrounding community.

Deputy City Clerk Paula Flaming reported she had talked to Westar earlier about installing a light by the recycling bins. It has not been installed yet, even though she contacted them a second time.

Schmidt said it will soon be dark at the recycling bins when he is available on Thursday evenings to help residents unload their materials.

Nuisance properties

The council spent considerable time discussing three properties with buildings that need to be demolished. The council asked city attorney Marilyn Wilder for advice.

One property is located at 207 W. Main St. The building in question had been inspected in October 2010. The council noted the owner has made no improvements in more than 20 months since that time. He had received a certified letter from the city and signed for it.

Councilor Dallas Boese acknowledged the dilemma of wanting to be caring and yet needing to uphold city ordinances. He asked, “Do we have to have a second inspection to note that nothing has been done?”

Wilder said it is now the owner’s responsibility, not the city’s. It also was noted that the owner had been invited to come to the meeting to discuss the matter but chose not to come.

After a lengthy discussion, the council decided the owner will have until Oct. 31 to get the building demolished and cleaned up. If there is a basement, it will need to be filled in for safety.

If the demolition has not taken place by that date, the city will demolish the building and send the owner the bill. A letter will be sent to the owner informing him of the decision.

A second property has a garage that should be demolished because it is falling down and is unsafe. The owner had said her sons would help demolish it, but that has not happened.

The house on the property had been condemned and has already been moved out of the city.

A third structure, a former boxcar, had been inspected and was deemed to be a health nuisance and unsafe. The council noted the boxcar has “critters.” Dalke said the structure had been a refrigeration train car and has asbestos.

The suggestion was made to ask the family to write a letter to the city expressing its intent for the boxcar. If the city does not hear from the family, the council will take action.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• approved the 2013 budget of $841,031, which requires a 55.754 mill levy compared to 54.890 mills in 2012. Goertzen said the 2013 mill levy is slightly higher than 2012 because the assessed valuation went down.

• heard that Public Works Director Karen Dalke plans to begin emergency medical technician classes, which are Tuesday and Thursday evenings from September to April. The first session will be Sept, 4.

Schmidt commended her: “It’s going to be helping out the city.”

He said Goessel has three EMTs now, but often only one is available while the others are out of town at their jobs. Schmidt said he has volunteered as an ambulance driver in the past and noted how hard it is to be the only volunteer in town.

• watched a nearly half-hour video of the well-casing testing that had been done recently. Dalke narrated the video.

• heard that a new well is recommended. As for how to pay for one, Goertzen suggested, “You could start a water reserve fund.”

Councilor Rollin Schmidt asked about grants. Jay said that if grants are available, the city would be expected to significantly raise the water rates.

The council will consider the matter further.

• discussed well pumps. Dalke said the pumps had run 14 hours each day over the weekend. Previously, they sometimes ran eight hours a day. She said 55 gallons are pumped in 10 minutes.

“We still have to have restrictions,” she said. Otherwise, the well would be pumped dry.

• discussed the need for a certified backup employee in case Dalke is not available. Dalke said she does come when she is called for emergencies during non-working hours.

• heard that Dalke had graded the streets after the rain and had painted the crosswalks.

• heard that the Sunflower Apartments board needs an additional member, because resignations of Joe Smucker and Dave Schrag. Suzanne Meyer and Dallas Boese are the current members. Mark Knowles is the manager.

• approved a contract with Mayer Specialty for the next three years, with a price increase of $41 per year, for a total of $4,321.

“That’s due to fuel prices,” Dalke said about the increase. The charge will be 60 cents per lineal foot, compared to 52 cents in the past.

Jay said this is the only business in the area that offers sewer services.

• approved a building permit for a carport on the back of a residential property. City inspector Loren Johnson said lot lines are not surveyed from the street because the streets are not straight. Therefore, the resident is asking for a variance in order to make the carport straight with the house instead of with the street.

However, lining it up with the house makes it too close to the neighbor’s property, according to city code. The neighbors have signed a notice of acceptance.

The council granted the variance.

• approved a request from resident Brian Stucky to close streets near his home from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. for his daughter’s wedding Sept. 8. The wedding will be at their home, and guests will park at West Branch Park. The reception will be in Hutchinson.

The council approved the request with the stipulation that emergency vehicles will have access if needed.

• heard that the intersection of State and Kansas streets needs a stop sign.

• met in executive session to discuss the possibility of hiring a second part-time police officer. In open session, the council decided to advertise the position.

• tabled a discussion of an agreement with the Goessel Recreation Commission about the new concession building at the baseball diamonds.

• adopted the Standard Traffic Ordinance and the Uniform Public Offense Code.

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