Goessel council hears of foundation meetings

Mayor Peggy Jay told the Goessel City Council at the Feb. 22 meeting that the newly formed Goessel Community Foundation has had two meetings.

Jay said Cindy Wiens is the chair of the group, Myron Schmidt is vice chair and Anita Goertzen is the secretary.

Other members are Linda Peters, John Fast, Patsy Dirksen, Karen Dalke and Jay. The members have committed to serving for three years. After that, the terms will be staggered, with representatives from the school, the city and Bethesda Home, plus others.

Upon Councilor Dallas Boese?s suggestion, the council voted to have the city match fundraising efforts up to $4,000.

Jay said the foundation will need $10,000 to get started.

Past due bills

The council discussed past-due water bills, some in amounts totaling $188, $194 and $202.

Councilor Duane Duerksen asked, ?How many people come to the council to ask for an extension?? The council noted that no one has come to the council to explain why they are not getting their water bills paid.

City Clerk Anita Goertzen said the due date for payment is the 10th of every month. She suggested, ?You can have some variable, but have a boundary.?

Councilor Jim Wiens agreed. ?We need to have a positive cut-off date,? he said.

Goertzen said the city has a cut-off date, but some residents take advantage of it and are habitually late in paying their bills.

Jay said, ?It?s the same in any other city.?

Public works employee Karen Dalke reminded the council that the city charges a $30 fee for turning water back on. Therefore, she said, it is more economical for residents to get their bills paid on time since it actually costs them more if the water is shut off and then turned back on after the bill is finally paid.

The council discussed instituting a ?no-tolerance? policy, noting that ?when you have a no-tolerance policy, and you shut it off, the money comes in.?

Goertzen reminded the council that residents can request help from various agencies to get their bills paid.

Plumbing issues

The council also discussed plumbing issues. Dalke had been called when someone flushed towels down a toilet and wanted the city to take care of the resulting clog. But since the blockage was on private property, it was the property owner?s responsibility to get the problem fixed.

The council then reviewed the city?s ?Sanitary Sewer Backup Policy? and emphasized that the ?city will not pay for private plumber bills or service calls.?

The public is reminded not to put grease down the garbage disposal or any household drain; grease can clog and damage a household plumbing system and could accumulate in city lines and cause major backups.

Dalke said, ?It?s highly recommended that (residents) put a one-way valve on their house so the sewer can?t back up into the house.?

In fact, building codes require a backwater valve on homes with below-grade drains. Residents are cautioned that a backwater valve can be damaged if a line has been cleaned by a plumber. In that case, the valve might need to be replaced.

Property owners are also encouraged to obtain a rider on their insurance policy to cover damages related to sewage backups or water damage.

Other business

In other business, the council:

? expressed appreciation to Scott Rosfeld for clearing driveways after the recent snow storms. Goertzen said Rosfeld had a day off from work and used it to help residents.

Goertzen also commended Dalke for her snow removal work. Councilor Larry Schmidt agreed.

? heard Police Chief Eric Reed report one warning and two parking tickets had been issued. The police dealt with one ?dog at large,? one open door, four cases and made 10 contacts.

? wishes to remind the public to turn off the lights at the city park prior to departure. Schmidt said he had been getting calls about the park lights. The lights are on timers and eventually will shut off.

? asked if the volleyball net at the park would be replaced. Dalke has a new net but does not plan to install it yet because of vandalism.

? heard that Dalke had been asked to speak at the Agape Center. She said 22 people attended the presentation.

? heard that a 1990 dump truck had been purchased for $11,000, as approved at last month?s meeting. The engine has been overhauled, the transmission is good and it has good tires.

The council had approved a purchase price up to $15,000 in 2009, but a truck had not been purchased until now.

? heard that the city?s old dump truck had been sold for $1,200.

? voted to approve participation in the Kansas Municipal Aid Program for Utilities.

?It doesn’t cost us anything,? Goertzen said, explaining that the state wold help find aid if there is a disaster, and Goessel would help other cities if they have a disaster.

Jay added, ?If we take equipment somewhere to help, we can be reimbursed by FEMA (Fed?eral Emergency Manage?ment Agency).?

? voted to reappoint Paula Flaming to the Goessel Housing Authority.

? heard that Goertzen plans to attend a two-day weekend conference in Salina in March. Her fee will be paid by the county.

? heard that court clerk Paula Flaming and Reed plan to attend a Facebook conference.

? heard that Flaming plans to attend a court conference April 1. The conference will address charging for court costs and booking costs.

? heard that city employees plan to attend a rural water conference in March.

? listened to Goertzen review 44 pages of information from the Kansas Department of Labor safety division. The city already has safety data sheets and inventory lists of chemicals, as specified.

Dalke was appointed safety officer and can receive further training.

? heard from resident Tony Epp regarding the Kansas Open Meetings Act for committees and organizations in the city.

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