Goessel hears wind farm concerns and opposition to firing

The Goessel city council met on May 20 and heard a request from resident Brian Stucky about setting a no-wind generator zone around the City of Goessel. He suggested a three-mile buffer zone. He mentioned the Sunflower wind project and the Diamond Vista wind farm company in the northern part of the county. The plan is to install 600-foot-tall wind turbines near Goessel. The townships of West Branch, East Branch, Menno and Liberty could be impacted. The project is proposed by Orsted, a foreign company from Denmark.

Stucky said there are “pros and cons” to wind turbines. He grew up near the equus beds and heard about the importance of the water supply. Goessel depends on that source of water. He is concerned about

the possibility of groundwater contamination by concrete base construction deep in the ground. He mentioned other health concerns and said that wind turbines do not belong near dense population.

Stucky emphasized that he is not opposed to some forms of alternative energy and has had passive solar hot air panels on his house since 1982.

On another matter, Ron Plenert talked to the council in support of former public works director, Karen Dalke, who had been fired the previous week. Plenert had been a part-time public works employee.

Former mayor Dave Schrag had also been a part-time public works employee. Plenert and Schrag both resigned in support of Dalke.

Plenert described Dalke as honest, hard-working, and kind. He said she worked for Goessel for 17 years and had been employed during the time of four different mayors.

Plenert also expressed concern about the city being out of compliance without a certified operator for the sewer and water systems. He said the council had criticized Dalke for mowing at the Goessel city sign near the highway. He commended Dalke for her effort to make the entrance to the city look nice.

Adhering to the advice of legal counsel, the city issued no statement about the firing or resignations. They did not reply to Plenert.

The public works job opening has been posted. In the meantime, Jack Nickel will mow and read water meters. Andy Bruce works for the City of Galva and will check Goessel’s water and wastewater.

Brian Bowles from Kansas Rural Water Association came to show the mayor what needs to be done on a daily basis.

In other business, the council:

* discussed road grader issues and decided not to fix it. Council members felt like the city needs a new grader. Plenert reminded the council that Dalke had repeatedly requested a road grader and her request had been ignored.

* made annual appointments as follows — city clerk and court clerk: Jennifer Bliss, municipal judge: Greg Nickel, attorney: Reece Hiebert, treasurer: Courtney Demaray, depository: Citizens State Bank, official newspaper: changed from Hillsboro Star Journal to the Newton Kansan.

* approved Taylor Wedel as back-up clerk.

* voted to use the city’s website to post official notices and discontinue newspaper ordinance publication.

* raised the number of chickens to 10 hens, no roosters. The previous limit had been six hens, and council member Ariel Kraus reminded the council that there had been much opposition to chickens when that ordinance was passed.

* heard about tractor issues from Mayor Evan Esau. It has transmission issues and other problems, even though it had been taken to Hutchinson Community College for repair.

* talked about the flood control project.

* talked about a parking lot paving bid but made no decision.

* approved the month’s bills of $66,907.55.

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