Goessel Council hears of mayor transition

The Goessel city council met on March 15, and Mayor Dave Schrag mentioned again that he does not plan to run for mayor in the next election. He had already announced his intentions to the council at the February meeting. His term will be up at the end of the year. By then, he will have served as mayor a total of 14 years, seven years previously and seven more years since 2014. Schrag expressed appreciation for the accomplishments in the city during his predecessor Peggy Jay’s time as mayor; he specifically mentioned the water tower and the city’s work on that project.

Schrag said he is very pleased that Ben Schmidt, currently a city council member, has decided to run for the Goessel mayor position in the November election. Schrag said that Schmidt works in Goessel for the school district. “Ben has been a great asset to our council,” Schrag said, “and I believe he would be a perfect fit as our mayor… I’m glad he’s running.”

Schrag said he tries to encourage young people to run for city government positions, “preferably those with children in our schools.” He said he tries to keep the city and schools “in tune with each other to make this a better community.”

Turning their attention to another matter, the council discussed houses that are in disrepair. According to the building inspector’s recent report, they are a “blighting influence due to dilapidation and disrepair.” The inspector’s report also described them as “dangerous” structures. The council spoke with the owner of a vacant house. She plans to paint the house in spring or summer. Schrag mentioned that the porch appears to be falling off the house. He also expressed concern about the garage. The owner, who lives in Topeka, asked for a 90-day continuance on the project. Schrag commended her for the work she has already done on the property: “You did a really good job on the trees.”

The council also discussed the trailer park. Council member Kevin Klassen talked about trash along the side of the street. A letter has already been sent to the trailer owner. The city plans to also contact the owner of the trailer park. Noting the trashy appearance of the trailer park, Schrag commented, “It’s not fair to the people who live in the trailer park who take care of their property.”

The council also discussed the recycling items behind the gas station, noting that cardboard is near the gas pumps. The council spoke with city attorney Susan Robson about the issue. The city will continue to work on the matter.

In other business, the council:

* heard the police report from Anthony Voth. An arrest had been made for alleged sex crimes.

* heard about vandalism at the baseball diamond. Schrag said someone broke into a restroom and set a fire in a toilet.

* approved two new houses in the Harvest Meadows addition, each with three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

* voted three to two to repeal the mask ordinance.

* decided to install “yield” signs at the intersection of Buller and Prospect Streets. Residents in that area felt that would improve safety at that corner.

* listened to Schrag and city employee Ron Plenert talk about problems with the telemetry system at the wells and water tower during the recent very cold weather.

* heard that a new stainless steel chain had been purchased for the lift station.

* heard from council member Dean Snelling about repairs to a pump at the lift station.

* briefly discussed updates to the city’s security system.

* talked about a pull-type camper that is parked on a street.

* heard that the city did not receive the backhoe grant, but the city can apply again.

* heard that the city sold two old generators.

* heard from city clerk Jennifer Bliss that the auditor would be coming at the end of the month.

* heard that the November election will include the council positions currently held by Evan Esau and Duane Adrian.

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