Goessel passes sewer increase ordinance

The Goessel city council met on August 20 and passed ordinance number 280, which sets new wastewater charges, raising them by $5.00. The increase will take effect on October 1. The council was reminded that the current raise in rates is still not enough for the grant that the city is receiving; rates will have to be raised again.

The ordinance describes how sewer rates are figured; the minimum charge is $21, but individual actual costs are based on the average of their monthly water use during January, February, and March. In addition, the ordinance states that “each contributor that is located in the city shall pay a user charge rate for operation and maintenance, including replacement,” of 25 cents per 100 gallons of water. Those not located in the city will pay a user charge of 35 cents per 100 gallons of water. Also, $2.00 will be assessed per month for all sewer users so the city can pay for sewer maintenance examination.

The ordinance also addresses toxic pollutants: “Any user which discharges any toxic pollutants which cause an increase in the cost of managing the effluent or the sludge from the city’s treatment works … shall pay for such increased costs.” The ordinance states that this includes “any substance which singly or by interaction with other substances causes identifiable increases in the cost of operation, maintenance, or replacement of the treatment works.”

The ordinance also mentions charges that are not paid on time. Patrons are reminded that the unpaid portion of the charges, including delinquent fees, will be certified, “and the county clerk shall extend the same on the tax rolls of the county against the lot or parcel of land.”

Turning their attention to another matter, the council listened to Matt Voth of the Goessel fire department, which is Marion County Fire District #2. Voth informed the council that the fire department has purchased the building west of the post office. Voth described changes the fire department is making to the building so it will work for the fire department.

Voth also mentioned changes the fire department would like to make outside the building. He said water runs over the sidewalk, and plans are to raise the sidewalk and also put in some drainage. Plans are to widen the sidewalk from the current four feet to five and a half feet. There will still be room for three parking spaces. Since equipment and contractors would already be on-site working on the fire department’s portion of the sidewalk, Voth wondered if the city would like to continue the improvements on the city’s portion of the sidewalk in that area. Councilor Dean Snelling said, “That would be a very good idea” and suggested that the city upgrade the sidewalk on the north side of the street too. The council decided to upgrade both sides for up to $750.

Voth commended public works director Karen Dalke for her knowledge of sewer lines; she knew that a sewer line runs on the fire district property and therefore spared them the cost of repairing the line if they had broken it.

The council learned that the fire district has a number of young ambitious people on the fire crew. Voth said they actually have a waiting list of people wanting to become fire fighters. Mayor Dave Schrag commended Voth: “We really appreciate the job you do and the way you work with people.”

Voth wished to thank the county commissioners for new fire department radios.

Voth also talked with the council about the possibility of moving the emergency medical service vehicle into the fire district building. That would free up space in the city shop, where the vehicle is currently kept. The space is needed for city work and vehicles and equipment.

In other business, the council:

◼ listened to county commissioner Randy Dallke, who attended the meeting. He commended the council for their work. He talked about emergency medical service and ambulance stations. “We’ve got some hard times ahead,” he said. Schrag mentioned that he knew of two instances recently when it took 45 minutes for a Marion County ambulance to arrive. Schrag expressed appreciation for Dallke’s work: “I really appreciate the fact that I can call you and talk to you any time.” Karen Dalke also commended him: “You work well with us. You’ve helped us with our streets a couple of times.” She also mentioned that she appreciated working with the road and bridge personnel.

◼ noted the danger of the city’s pump hole; Karen Dalke said it is a 22-foot confined space hole. No one is supposed to enter the hole alone because it is not safe. Dalke met with representatives of a company from Kansas City. They came to discuss a pump station, which would use a submersible pump and would be safer.

◼ heard that the city had put up No Parking signs on the south side of Main Street across from the junior high school because that area had become dangerous, and vehicles had been taking up so much space that two-way traffic was difficult. It was reported that a near-accident situation had occurred. The city wishes to keep pedestrians and vehicles safe. Councilor Duane Adrian commended Dalke for the signs.

◼ heard that court will be held on September 12. The city has had issues with a vicious dog and two dogs at-large, noting that a dog had killed some domestic rabbits. Citations have been written for dogs that will need to be removed from the city.

◼ heard that Dalke had burned the branches at the burn site, and she had done numerous locates for fiber optics.

◼ heard about repairs that Dalke had done on the grader.

◼ heard that the city had sent out some clean-up and tall grass letters to property owners. The council was encouraged to talk to the property owners.

◼ talked about over-due taxes. One property owner owes $3,300 in taxes that have not been paid.

◼ talked about replacing the city’s sign by the highway. The council discussed ideas but made no decision about a sign.

◼ talked with a mobile home owner who would like to move his mobile home to the trailer park in Goessel. The council agreed to let him move it in.