Goessel mayor speaks against hospital merger

Mayor Peggy Jay expressed her concern at the Oct. 15 meeting of the Goessel City Council about talk that the county may be considering establishing a county hospital and funding the project with a property-tax assessment.

?There is no good county road to get from Goessel to a county hospital,? Jay said.

She said the townships of the Goessel community?West Branch, Menno and East Branch ?already rank among the top tax-paying townships in the county.

?For the amount of tax dollars this area of the county generates, what do we get for it? Look at our roads,? she said.

Court Clerk Paula Flaming said the county may raise taxes by 10 mills to pay for the suggested county hospital. But she said, ?Why would we drive 40 minutes to Marion when it?s 20 minutes to Newton??

Jay also alerted the council to the need for volunteer firefighters and first responders in the city. She said day-time coverage is especially needed for both departments and that a number of the firefighters are getting old.

?We need to be helping these two departments come up with people,? she said.

In other business, the council:

  • heard City Clerk Anita Goertzen say the town?s first Harvest Festival was a success.

    She expressed appreciation to the local bank and credit union for helping to pay for the banner that hung across Main Street. The council agreed to pay the remaining amount on the banner.

  • heard Police Chief Joe Base report that his department had picked up three dogs running at large, dealt with one out-of-control child, investigated multiple theft cases, served three notices to appear in court, worked on cleaning inoperable vehicles, and dealt with dirt bikes on city streets.
  • heard Councilor Duane Duerksen ask about the location of an Alltel tower.

    Goertzen said it will be on Alamo, south of town, even though she had called Alltel a number of times and had requested that the tower be located in the city.

  • discussed the cemetery owned by the Mennonite Breth?ren across the street from the city building. Goertzen said she had been in contact with Loren Hofer, Hesston, about the the need for a new fence at the cemetery.
  • heard from Karen Dickinson, public works director, that the city had passed ?with flying colors? the Kansas Department of Health and Environment inspection completed the previous week.
  • heard Dickerson describe KDHE recommendations to clean the inside of water towers every three to five years. Jay echoed the need: ?It?s a big investment. We need to keep it up.?
  • heard that public works employees had participated in a disinfection class.
  • was alerted to the water-line problems in the new Harvest Meadows housing development stemming from dead-end lines.

    ?They should all be looped,? Dickerson said. As it is now, those lines have to be flushed every week. ?We?re concerned about waste of water,? she said. ?It has created a headache.?

    She explained how the dead ends do not meet the requirements regarding chlorine residuals because the water lines had not been designed correctly.

  • discussed a water leak at the baseball fields that amounted to $48.
  • noted that it is the homeowner?s expense to fix water leaks that occur on his own property.
  • heard that the city?s emergency plan needs to be revised.
  • heard Dickerson say that chlorine residual testing needs to be done seven days a week. She takes care of it on work days, and Goertzen has been doing it on weekends.

    Dickerson explained the procedure and suggested that council members could be trained to do it in case Goertzen is gone on a weekend. It was suggested that Dickerson train the council at a special meeting.

  • heard Dickerson report that the new building at Well No. 3 had been erected in one day by Sturdi-Bilt. City employees tore down the old building and will finish the inside of the new one, she said.
  • heard Dickerson report that the city?s mower is not safe on sloped ground, and the city?s ?bush hog? mower has problems. She had looked at mowers and showed pictures of ?grooming? mowers. The topic will be discussed in greater detail at a future meeting.
  • authorized city employees to look for a work-site vehicle after hearing about the need for one.
  • authorized the public works department to look for a used dump truck. Dickerson said the current truck is running, but not working well.
  • heard the city?s grader has been returned from the repair shop, but not all of the problems had been fixed.
  • heard Dickerson express appreciation to the council for the opportunity to work for the city. She added: ?You?re lucky to have good employees that will stay with you.?
  • talked about reimbursing city employees for use of personal vehicles for city work.
  • listened to Councilor Rick Freeman describe the need for resurfacing the area between Main Street and the gas station. The project would be at the expense of the gas station; it was pointed out that the school and the credit union had paid for similar projects.
  • heard Councilor Jim Wiens suggest the city needs a safe ladder for employees to use. He expressed concern with the one they are currently using.
  • agreed to meet the following day, Oct. 16, for a visioning work session.
  • accepted the winning bid from M&I Bank of Wichita for general obligation bonds at a Sept. 20 special meeting. The bonds are for the water/sewer project in the Harvest Meadows addition. The city?s obligation will be $12,800.
  • also passed an ordinance at that meeting authorizing the operation of work-site utility vehicles and all-terrain vehicles on the streets within the the city. Such vehicles are not allowed on any public street or alley between sunset and sunrise unless equipped with lights. Operators must have a valid driver?s license. Penalties will be assessed for violations.
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