Goessel reviews grant options for water projects

The Goessel City Council talked during its Jan. 9 meeting with Jesse Sullivan, project engineer for BG Consul­t­ants in Hutchinson, about water issues.

Sullivan had attended the December meeting to present his findings from his preliminary study. His information could be useful for a water system grant.

Sullivan suggested it would be good to upgrade all the waterlines to six inches. He also suggested replacing all valves and hydrants. But noting budget limitations, he asked the council which lines are in the most urgent need of repair.

Mayor Dave Schrag agreed that some valves and fire hydrants need to be replaced. He talked about the need to shut off water to part of the town if there is a leak. Public works director Karen Dalke said there is a two-inch cast iron pipe that has been in use for about 50 years.

Sullivan discussed various kinds of grants with the council, noting that the required paperwork would be different for different kinds of grants, particularly Community Development Block Grants and Rural Development grants.

Sullivan said he will need to know what kind of grant the city would plan to pursue in order to do the engineering work accordingly. He explained some grants would be for 20 years and some for 40 years. In order to make a decision about a grant, Sullivan suggested the city should talk to a finance expert who works with small towns.

Sullivan told the council that if it wishes to apply for a grant, the application needs to be done before water system work is begun. He cautioned the council that the city cannot start the water project first and then apply for a grant.

The council listened to Sullivan’s explanation of grants and the need to increase the water rates. Currently, the city is charging $33.32 for 5,000 gallons of water. That amount is too low and would need to be raised in order to apply for a grant.

The council will discuss the matter further before making a decision.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• met a week earlier than usual because of changes with the election process. City Clerk Jennifer White­head said city elections have been changed from April to November, and that new council members now take office the second Monday of January. Those leaving the council will end their commitment the second Monday of January. Therefore, the council was required to meet on that Monday.

• set the summer garage sale date for Saturday, June 24.

• made plans to schedule a city-wide clean-up day in early July. But the date needs to be confirmed with Waste Connections.

• heard of recent burglaries in the county. It was suggested that residents report suspicious vehicles or activities to the county sheriff’s department.

• heard of the county’s plans to change police radio systems.

• heard Dalke report that Christmas decorations had been taken down, and they have been repainted. She thanked Councilor Duane Adrian for his help refurbishing the decorations. New lights for the decorations will be ordered.

• heard that the routine water sample had been sent in.

• heard from Dalke that all power outage equipment is ready, and all snowstorm equipment is ready.

• discussed light fixtures for the city shop. Schrag said the lighting in the shop is inadequate. If work needs to be done in the shop after dark, the current lights do not provide enough light; a flashlight needs to be used, along with the shop’s lights.

• heard a clarification from Schrag about IdeaTek. He said that anyone who wants to be hooked up with IdeaTek’s service can do so. He apologized for misunderstanding the company’s intent.

• discussed and approved reserve-fund resolutions, including equipment reserve, capital improvement fund, capital improvement street projections, park fund projections, water reserve fund and sewer reserve fund.