Goessel considers sewer upgrades

The Goessel City Council spent an hour and a half discussing sewer upgrades with Brian Foster of Manhattan during its May 15 meeting.

Foster, an engineer with BG Consultants and a principal owner of the business, talked about various types of grants and loans that are available for sewer projects and the various requirements, such as raising water and sewer rates.

Foster said the city’s water and sewer rate would have to be “reasonable” in order to receive a grant; currently, it is too low. He talked about the costs involved with grants and loans.

Foster talked about either simply fixing the problems or totally replacing the lines. They discussed “infiltration and inflow,” which is the water that gets into the sewer line through cracks and holes in the pipe. It is water that should not be coming into the sewer system.

City Clerk Jennifer Whitehead said she had watched the videos of the sewer lines.

“It’s amazing to watch the water coming in,” she said. Public Works Director Karen Dalke said roots are hanging down from every tap.

Mayor Dave Schrag said, “We have to do something.”

Foster brought along samples of a sewer pipe and also sewer pipe lining to show the council. Installing a lining would be one option for addressing the problem.

Asked about completely replacing the current sewer line, Foster said it would double the cost and is very time-consuming. He also mentioned easement issues.

Foster suggested that the city send representatives to a Kansas Interagency Advi­sory Committee meeting. Schrag and Whitehead will plan to go, and council members are welcome to attend also. The meeting will help the city determine how to proceed with the project.

Burn site violation

Turning its attention to another matter, the council noted that someone had dumped trash and lumber at the burn site. The public is reminded that such items are prohibited and illegal. The state conducts unannounced inspections of burn sites, and such violations could cause the burn site to be shut down.

The public is advised to cooperate with the requirements. The burn site gate is locked. Residents may check out a key at the city office or from a council member. Or they can pay a deposit.

Other business

In other business, the council:

• heard that Van Schmidt will auction the Harvest Meadows properties May 30. Schrag noted the buyer(s) will pay “specials” and taxes.

Since some members are new to the council, he reminded the council that the city had spent $400,000 to help the developer with infrastructure, but the developer had not paid any taxes or specials in the 10 years since it was developed.

The county had planned to sell the property at a sheriff’s auction, not realizing that the city was still making payments on it. Instead, the property was deeded to the city. Now, the city wishes to sell it.

• reappointed the following: Jennifer Whitehead as city clerk and court clerk; Greg Nickel as municipal judge; and Josh Boehm as city attorney.

The city treasurer position is open; Donna Cook has resigned. The council thanked Cook for her years of service to the city. A job description and list of qualifications can be obtained at the city office.

• noted that the city has 272 water and sewer users.

• approved a contract with Central Tank Coatings Inc. of Elgin, Iowa, to clean and paint the water tower, for $26,000.

• heard that Dalke has been putting rock on streets. Councilor Duane Adrian said, “I’ve had a lot of good comments on the rock.”

• turned down a request for annexation. The mayor reminded the council that the city never turns down annexing ground into the city as long as the property is attached to the existing city limits. He said it is important to bring more houses and people into Goessel to build a better tax base. This time, the request was voted down due to the cost of running utilities to the property.

• noted that three council positions will be up for re-election. The seats are currently held by Dave Schrag, Larry Lindeman and Duane Adrian.