Goessel plans Saturday lighting ceremony

Councilor Larry Schmidt told the Goessel City Council at the Nov. 18 meeting of plans for a ?lighting of the Christmas tree? celebration Saturday, Nov. 29. It will take place at about 9:30 p.m., following the alumni basketball game.

Councilor Jim Wiens donated a large tree that will be set up on city property at the corner of Main and Cedar streets. That location is the northeast corner of the city building lot.

Schmidt said seating will be available across the street on the Main Street Station slab, and Kela Schmidt is organizing refreshments. Schmidt said music will be played as the tree is lit.

The council discussed the city?s light pole Christmas decorations. It was noted that the decorations have cracked through the years. The council discussed various options and authorized Karen Dickerson, public works director, to purchase new lights.

On another matter, the council listened to concerns about the future of Threshing Days. Wiens said the Goessel museum had sent a letter to the Engine Club saying the museum does not want to be a part of Threshing Days next year because of hot weather in August.

Wiens said other dates had been considered, but the Engine Club felt it is best not to compete with other events, such as the Hillsboro Arts and Crafts Fair, the state fair and other area festivals. Therefore, the club plans to stay with the current date, the first weekend in August.

?The show will go on,? Wiens said, although the Engine Club will arrange events at different locations on the grounds.

When Councilor Duane Duerksen asked if the museum would be open for tours that day, Wiens said people would have to pay a separate admission fee for that.

In other business, the council:

n received notification that Dickerson would read water meters earlier than usual because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

n heard Police Chief Joe Base report that the department issued four equipment warnings, five warnings for speeding, and three warnings for failing to use turn signals. It also issued four notices to appear for speeding and one for no proof of insurance. The police investigated two burglaries and three theft reports, one suspicious-activity report, one child-custody dispute and one child-in-need-of-care case.

The department investigated multiple dog complaints and took a dog to Hillsboro. It assisted motorists by unlocking two car doors and assisted Emergency Medical Services on one call, plus the Marion County sheriff?s office with three deer-car accidents, one driving-under-the-influence investigation and one non-injury accident.

n heard from Dickerson that FFA members are working on building a bridge for the city park.

n authorized custodian Kelly Jost to paint the restrooms and kitchen in the city building.

n discussed the ramifications of city attorney Bob Brookens? election as state representative position Nov. 4. Court clerk Paula Flaming said Keith Collett will be the interim city attorney.

n heard Flaming report that Rose Funk from the city of Lehigh has asked to process ordinance violations through Goessel?s city court. Flaming said she is willing to handle those issues and has already contacted Brookens to set up an inter-local agreement.

n discussed households that have received special permission for three dogs instead of the maximum of two. The city will no longer grant exceptions for a third dog. Residents who have already been allowed three dogs may keep them, but they will not be allowed to replace a dog if one dies.

n acknowledged that the city has not increased water rates for a decade and that the current rates are not keeping up with increased expenses.

Mayor Peggy Jay said, ?We?re not here to make money from the people in town, but we have to cover our costs.?

The council expressed dislike for the current policy of different rates for different sizes of meters, especially since, in Wiens?s words, ?the bigger the meter, the cheaper the rate,? which seemed to encourage using more water.

After City Clerk Anita Goertzen presented several options, the council decided to raise the minimum residential rate from $5 to $7.05. It increased the rate for water use above the minimum from $1.75 to $2 per 1,000 gallons up to 10,000 gallons. The rate will be $2.25 for every 1,000 gallons above 10,000 gallons. Water rates are double for residents who are connected to city water but reside outside city limits.

n pointed out that trash rates increase by a quarter every year.

n heard from Jay that the Goessel Task Force received a grant for a sidewalk in front of the baseball diamonds.

n heard that Dickerson had passed her water certification test.

n heard that Base had attended training on the new accident forms that will be required in 2009. He had also attended training for DUI prosecution. Base, Goertzen and Dickerson attended training in Salina for dealing with difficult people.

n heard that Goertzen attended the Master Municipal Clerk Academy.

n learned from Goertzen that the Kansas Department of Transportation is projecting 45 percent less money from the federal government by the year 2010. Goertzen cautioned that will mean a reduction in rock for the city.

n passed a Red Flag Rule policy resolution, as required by the Federal Trade Commission. It stipulates requirements that help prevent fraud and identity theft. It also sets requirements for the use of consumer reports.

n heard that Goertzen would like to implement a ?Street Talk? column in the city newsletter. People would be interviewed for their opinions. Jay commended Goertzen about the newsletter: ?You?re doing a good job.?

n listened to Goertzen suggest that the council needs to consider questions such as: ?What is our town?s story? What is our future as a town? What are our values??

n read a letter from resident Tony Epp about recycling. He commended the city for considering it. He suggested that recyclables be collected every four weeks and trash every two weeks. Wiens said he talked to Stutzman Refuse about the request and was told that too many people need to have their trash picked up every week. Litter and rodent issues could become a problem if trash would only be picked up every two weeks.

n listened to a concern from mobile home court residents about a resident who drives a go-cart up and down the mobile home court street. However, the city does not own that street and said residents would need to contact the owner, Hope Smith of Halstead.

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