City of Goessel finishing sewer project details

The Goessel city council met on October 19 and discussed the sewer project. Rose Mary Saunders was at the meeting to discuss the remaining issues. Saunders is a municipal consultant with Ranson Citycode Financial. She has been helping Goessel with the sewer project. She said the entire project cost $2,231,659.99. The city has a USDA loan for $1,484,000, which is to be paid over the next 40 years. The remainder of the project is funded with grant money.

The council told Saunders about sewer project issues that need to be fixed. Mayor Dave Schrag told her about the new bigger pumps at the lift station that are high maintenance, compared to the old ones that were nearly maintenance-free and only required maintenance about once a year. “Now we have a high maintenance situation that we didn’t have before.” Public works director Karen Dalke said the new pumps were not installed flat; they are not level. “We have a back-up pump,” Schrag said, “because we don’t trust their pumps.” The pumps were installed by Haynes Equipment. Saunders said, “That would be a KC Construction issue.” She told Schrag and Dalke, “Document every time you have to go out there” and take pictures.

The city also purchased a new generator for the lift station because the old generator was not big enough. However, Schrag told Saunders that the new generator did not work, and sewage backed up in four basements.

Schrag told Saunders that the city’s backhoe had been used heavily during the sewer project. The city would like to use grant money to purchase a new one.

The construction company replaced grass, but not rock on the alleys and streets.

Schrag also told Saunders of another problem caused by the sewer project. An employee of the construction company backed some equipment onto a residential driveway and damaged it. Dalke had told Brian Foster of BG Consultants to write a check to the homeowner for the cost of the repair, but he did not.

Then Schrag contacted Foster and sent pictures to document the damage. But as of the council meeting, Foster has not responded. Schrag first contacted Foster about the issue on August 18, then again on September 11. Schrag said that a section of the driveway, 11 X 18 feet, needs to be replaced. The repair would cost $8 a square foot, for a total of $8,624. Saunders suggested that the city should give BG Consultants until October 31 to fix the driveway, then contact the attorney if the situation is not fixed. “It needs to be rectified,” she said. She also told the council, “There will be issues with any contractor.”

Councilmember Evan Esau commented, “I was very unhappy with the lack of communication” from the company.

Schrag thanked Saunders for her work on the project and also acknowledged city clerk Jennifer Bliss: “I really appreciate what you’ve done for us… Jennifer and Rose Mary have taken care of a lot of paperwork for us.”

Turning their attention to another matter, the council briefly discussed a street project with Saunders. She said that 54 to 55 percent of Goessel’s residents qualify as low to moderate-income (LMI) households. She said a grant for the project requires at least 51 percent LMI.

In other business, the council:

* heard about water line problems on Buller Street. Schrag commented, “As fracking continues in Oklahoma, we’re going to continue to have earthquakes here,” noting that water lines are breaking as a result.

* discussed a school zone request from the school. Bliss said the school would like school zones for school hours. Schrag said he will get more information and will talk to the superintendent. He also noted that the State controls the speed on the portion of Main Street that is owned by the State, Wheat Street to the east. The city cannot control the speed there.

* granted a variance for a mini pig, noting that the variance is only for this specific pig that is a therapy animal and lives in a house. The pig weighs seven pounds and is almost one year old.

* approved a permit for a 30 X 50-foot shop.

* considered a request from the 4-H club to use the community room in the city building for no cost. The council noted that non-profit groups rent the space for $15, which is half price. The full price for half a day is $30, $40 for a whole day. Esau noted that the city has expenses for cleaning, especially now with coronavirus concerns. The council decided the $15 amount is reasonable and decided not to drop the fee.

* discussed using Purple Wave to sell some portable generators and a mower that are no longer used by the city. The council also discussed the police vehicle that the county sheriff’s department would like to sell. The council talked about replacing Goessel’s police car.

* heard from Anthony Voth that the police had made an arrest.

* heard about work that Kaufman Trenching of Moundridge had done on a broken sewer line.

* heard from Bliss that revisions are available for their city codebooks.

* authorized payment of the month’s bills, for a total of $32,191.21.