Month: October 2007

October 23, 2007

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING – DRAFT ONLY
October 23, 2007

CALL TO ORDER:  Mayor Michael Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:00PM.

ROLL CALL:  Council members present were:  Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Andy O’Neill; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook; Absent was:  Rick Wekenman.  Also present were: Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Deputy Clerk Bev Pearce; City Attorney Stephen Bishop.  Public present were:  Heather McGehee; Bridger Landle; Dale Tronsen.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Darcie Bagott MOVED to approve the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of October 9, 2007. Jeff Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

OPEN FORUM :  The Mayor stated that the council will not entertain any comments regarding personnel issues of city staff.  Bridger Landle presented to council his Eagle Scout project: installing a flag pole and sidewalk area at the Public Safety Building.  He is requesting from the city a small amount of gravel, enough to cover a 31” x 36” 6” deep area, a tamper, scrap lumber to use for concrete forms, rebar, backhoe use to move gravel and the boulders.  Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin volunteered his time for the project.  Council Member O’Neill asked who would oversee the concrete work.  Bridger said that Will Woltering has agreed to lend his assistance.  The Lions Club is funding the cost of the concrete.  Bridger plans to start Saturday, October 27.  The Building inspector approved the aid of Will Woltering on this project.  Council Member Schorzman MOVED to accept Bridger Landle’s Eagle Scout project of installing a flag pole and sidewalk at the Public Safety Building utilizing city assets along with Lions Club donations.  Council Member Snook seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.  Council Member Snook asked Bridger to present a complete finished report on the project.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Dwayne Griffin submitted a written report.  He added that Poe would start paving at the Public Safety Building (PSB), Alder Street and the compost facility.  The well telemetry system is still having minor problems, but is operational.  The crew moved sludge to our application site; this is the first batch from the new press.  This process has saved the crew a lot of time.  Dwayne told council that Marc Arrasmith has requested using 120 hours of his vacation from December 10-28.  The council gave its approval.  The Mayor reported that pre-engineering for the chip seal project on Palouse Cove Road is ready for city approval.  He passed this on to Dwayne to follow through.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:  Chief Neumann reported that the department has increased its patrol on Main Street, making contact with people who illegally make U-Turns in the middle of the street.  He estimates that about ¼ of the contacts are local citizens, with the remainder being out-of-town visitors.  The department impounded a dog that turned out to be involved in a stolen animal case which is being investigated by Whitman County Sheriff’s Department.  On Saturday night Reserve officer Eaton was involved in a routine traffic stop which turned into 2 arrests involving illegal possession of weapons, DUI, poaching and driving without a license.  This arrest involved other agencies as well.  There have been reports of deer-vehicle collisions.  Chief Neumann attended two trainings, one in Colfax for Excited Delirium arrests and in Moses Lake, a Law Enforcement Liability seminar.  Both events provided good information.  He said the city needs to update its Policy and Procedure handbook.  Haunted Palouse went well, there was one incident that occurred in the corn maze and that is continuing to be investigated.  Council Member Milano told the chief that a citizen would like to donate to the city’s drug education program.  The Chief said that this could be handled through the department with the proceeds going to either the Whitman County program or our own program through the school.

BUILDING INSPECTOR REPORT: Dan Gladwill reported that permitting has picked up, more than last year.  He reported that 1/3 of his work is answering questions from citizens prior to their projects.  This helps them do their projects correctly and in a timely manner.  The Mayor told council that he is considering a change to Dan’s contract.  .  Dan would like to attend council meetings quarterly, unless requested, as opposed to the original once a month.  His request is based on his frequent trips to Palouse throughout the month.  The council suggested a monthly handwritten report be submitted in lieu of attendance.  Dan agreed to that.  Council Member Snook MOVED to allow the Mayor to enter into the updated contract with Dan Gladwill as the Building Inspector.  Council Member Schorzman seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS:

A.   ADA Compliance Walk-Through
On October 18, Council Members Bagott and Milano, Chief Neumann and Joyce Beeson walked through the city downtown area, the Police Station and the city park with Mark Leeper and Steve Corr from the Disability Action Center (DAC) of Moscow.  The DAC provided to the city a report with the following suggestions:  signage changes for sight- impaired citizens; apply a protective barrier on the sink pipes at the City Park bathroom; and add signage at the police station noting that the station is not manned and providing phone numbers for contact.  Overall the city has proved due diligence and will make some necessary changes during the Whitman Street project.

OLD BUSINESS:
A.   Review Breeding’s Sewer Extension Bids
Five bids were delivered to the city on Tuesday, by 2PM.  Joyce Beeson and Munir Daud opened the bids.
A & R Construction  – $159,071.30; Crea Construction – $219,052.83; M L Albright & Sons, Inc – $256,329.54; Motley-Motley, Inc. – $300,368.53; Ace Elliott Landscaping – $301,748.37.
The city attorney, Stephen Bishop told council that they are obligated to choose the lowest responsible bidder.  Council Member Schorzman MOVED to accept A & R Construction’s as the lowest responsible bid.  Council Member O’Neill seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.  The project could start within the next 90 days.  Dale Tronsen commented that he was glad and proud that this project has moved forward, it is a win-win situation for the entire town.  The city will work with Stephen Bishop to develop the repayment program.

B.   Review SR27/Palouse River Mobile Home Acquisition agreement with Ecology
The Mayor reported that he has not received the agreement from the Department of Ecology but it is on the way.  Mayor Echanove reminded council that this project is in the budget and we are ready to spend our cash match along with Ecology’s share and our In-kind contributions.

C.   2008 Budget Discussion
The Mayor reminded council that the date is drawing near for adopting 2008 final Budget. Public hearings were set for November 13th and November 27th, and to be voted on December 11th.  The council reviewed the 2008 Budget as presented.

D.  3rd Quarter Treasurer’s Report- Joyce Beeson
Joyce presented her report.  She encouraged the council to come into city hall and review all financial reports. The Mayor explained the importance of this.  There is a log and after each review the council member must sign the log.

Discussion on the contract between the city and USGS to jointly maintain the river gauge took place.  Council Member Milano MOVED to authorize the Mayor to sign the contract with the USGS.  Council Member Bailey seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

STREETS & SIDEWALKS: Council Member Bagott has been talking to the WSDOT representative about proper signage for pedestrian traffic in Palouse.  The city would like to see better, not more, signage for the increase of foot traffic in town.  Darcie said if WSDOT received letters of concern from citizens, it would move the issue along.

PARKS, CEMETERY & BUILDINGS:  Mike Milano reported that he and Dwayne have met about drainage issues at the RV Park.  In November or December the purchasing of materials will begin and the bid for electrical work should go out next month.

PERSONNEL & POOL:   Jeff Snook reported on the Joint Fire Board (JFB).  Chief Bagott would like to pursue a $16,000 DNR grant for equipment for the department.  Council Member Milano MOVED to ratify the JFB decision to allow Fire Chief Bagott to apply for the $16,000  DNR grant for equipment with a 50% match, $4,000 from city, $4,000 from rural.  Council Member Schorzman seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.  Chief Bagott has determined it would not be productive at this time to pursue any grants for a replacement truck.

POLICY & ADMINISTRATION:  Mark Bailey reported that he has applied for a $10,000 grant through Whitman County to expand the compost facility.

MAYOR’S REPORT : The Mayor reported that in regards to the 2007 Audit the proceeds from Real Estate Excise Tax (REET) needs to be allocated to Capital Improvement fund.  Currently the funds are receipted into the Building Maintenance Reserve fund.  The auditors reported that the Planning Commission needs to determine where the funds should go through the Comprehensive Plan.  The commission discussed this and recommends that half should go to the Building Maintenance Reserve fund and half to Park Improvement fund. Council Member Bailey said that the commission would like to see the changes take place in 2009.  Clerk Beeson will work on a resolution for the change.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:  Jeff Snook MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed. Darcie Bagott seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURN:  Darcie Bagott MOVED to adjourn. Jeff Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:30 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:

Claims Paid                   Warrants: #12652          through #12665  Payments:  $15,240.00

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________

October 9, 2007

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING – DRAFT ONLY
October 9, 2007

CALL TO ORDER:  Mayor Michael Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:02 PM.

ROLL CALL:  Council members present were:  Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Andy O’Neill; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook.  Absent was:  Rick Wekenman.  Also present were: Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; and Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.  Public present were:  Mike Bagott; Heather McGehee.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Mayor Echanove made a correction to the minutes of September 25, 2007.  Under Old Business, 2008 Budget Discussion, change from “the plan is to be out to bid in January” to “December”.  Mark Bailey MOVED to approve the amended minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of September 25, 2007.  Mike Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

OPEN FORUM :  Mike Bagott was present to voice his concerns with numerous issues that he hears around town and reads about in the local paper.  Mike made it clear that the opinions are his alone, not the FD or anyone else’s.  His question and points were:

  • For the benefit of the people of Palouse, he easily found the phone number for the sheriff’s office in 5 different places and on the internet.  There is no reason someone would have to call 9-1-1 for a civil complaint when there is easy access to the sheriff’s phone number.  Reminding all of us that 9-1-1 is not an answering service, and not a joke; it’s for emergencies only.
  • He asked the council the number of citizens who have complained about access to the new PD.  Council responded that only one citizen has complained.  Mike then asked if ADA considerations were taken into account when looking into moving the PD to its current location.  Council responded, “Yes, very much so” and that the city is in compliance with ADA.
  • In regards to pay raises for city employees he asked how the process works.  The Mayor responded that he, by law, presents a budget to council for consideration.  This is done after preliminary figures are discussed with the staff.  The actual salary requests are referred to the personnel committee.  Mike then asked if any one council person has the ability to approve or prevent a city employee from getting a raise?  The answer was no; it takes four council members to pass.
  • As a citizen of Palouse, he appreciates Chief Neumann and Officer Ellsworth.  Any time needed, both personally and professionally, they’ve responded and been very professional. He believes it to be a very thankless job in a small town.  Mike then thanked Chief Neumann for all he and his department do.  Mike Bagott further stated that, as a citizen, he believes that council should not listen to complaints regarding Chief Neumann’s past employment.
  • As a citizen he commends council for moving forward with the Palouse River trailer court project.  As a fireman he is deeply troubled by the limited access and overgrown trees.  He stated compassion for the few families who do take care of their property but supports the city’s efforts in removing the trailer park.
  • As the fire chief, the burn ordinance is going well.  To date, we have not received any complaints in regards to burning.  Some people are still frustrated with it but people are complying.  They want the chipper program.

Mayor Echanove stated that as open forum, they must allow the public to be heard.  Mike Bagott stated that he is at council to rebut statements made by those people who continually mouth off.   His only regret is those people weren’t present to hear it.  Hopefully they’ll read about it in the paper.  Mike Bagott then excused himself from the meeting.

Chief Neumann expressed to council that the open forum should not regress into a time for people to be allowed to personally attack his character or make accusations.  It affects him personally and it affects his family.  Chief Neumann asked Councilman Schorzman if he at any time asked for a $10,000 raise.  Council member Schorzman said no, not directly.  Neumann stated that if a citizen thinks that he is doing something wrong, we can address that through the proper channels.  There are different steps to take rather than allowing anyone to make slanderous statements at a council meeting.  Council member Mark Bailey said he agrees but does not know how we keep that from happening.  Mayor responded that Mr. Mayhan got no response with the council and that we can’t regulate what he sends to the paper.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Dwayne Griffin submitted a written report. Dwayne reported they have worked on the well pump systems telemetry.  The wells are working enough to record the levels.  We are working with a company in Spokane.  In the meantime, the pumps are being monitored manually.  They are making progress on Alder Street.  The plan is to have gravel delivered Thursday and Poe will pave next week.  As an extension of the Alder St. project, Poe provided an estimate for asphalt at the compost site as part of the grant through Whitman County.  Dwayne asked council to consider purchasing a vehicle for public works since Marc uses his private vehicle creating liability issues.  He said he would research used and surplus vehicles in the area.   The zero turn mower Marc’s been trying is working really well, taking 40 minutes off a 90 minute mow.  They are trying to get three quotes from local distributors.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:  Chief Neumann reported a dog impound last week and investigating a weapons offense at the school.  A GPHS student from Garfield has been expelled for bringing knives to a football game. With morning and afternoon patrols, traffic around the school has improved.  Patrols have been stepped up on Main St.  Being a 2-man department, resources are limited.  Council member Bailey stated that if we wanted an officer on duty 24/7, we’d need 4.6 full-time officers. Chief Neumann reported that in reference to the complaint by Charles Sack and the use of 9-1-1, Officer Ellsworth gave Charlie the sheriff’s phone number the day before he called 9-1-1 about the parked car he wants removed.  He was told this was a civil matter, not an emergency. Chief Neumann reported that the department is ready for Haunted Palouse.  Officer Ellsworth reported that he had a report of a tree in the road.  In responding, the patrol car was nearly hit by tree limbs falling from an overloaded truck.  The driver complained that there’s no chipper in the city so he has to haul it elsewhere.  The mayor considered that an indirect compliment to the city as folks are wanting and expecting the chipper.

NEW BUSINESS:  No report

OLD BUSINESS: Mayor Echanove reminded council of discussion tabled at the last meeting in regards to the $10,200 grant from CTED for development of a uniform handbook to administering the Critical Areas ordinance.  The amount of the grant is correct because it is a consortium of Whitman County communities for which Palouse would be the lead agent.  The city is allowed to keep $400 for administrative fees.  The planning commission discussed this and deferred to the city’s decision.  Bishop recommends that we proceed.  He cited where this exact issue came up in a neighboring community.   If they would’ve had a uniform handbook, it would have prevented added burdens to a contractor and misunderstandings.  Our building inspector is in favor of this handbook.  Mayor Echanove read the motion from the council meeting of Sept. 25, 2007.  Norm Schorzman MOVED to authorize the Mayor to proceed with the Growth Management Services Grant to develop the critical areas handbook.  Rick Wekenman seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.

In regards to the Studio Cascade contract, the Mayor recommends we go ahead with them since they developed the Critical Areas ordinance.  Mike Milano MOVED to authorize the Mayor to sign the contract with Studio Cascade to develop a handbook.   Councilman Bailey seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.   The handbook will be available to the public.

2008 Budget Discussion :  Mayor Echanove reported that our insurance carrier is applying a 16% increase in insurance costs for 2008 to members.  We need to increase our budget 18-20% to cover the increase.  Council member Snook explained that the personnel committee has met twice and discussed proposed salary increases as presented by the Mayor.  Following are the recommended increases:  Clerk/Treasurer 5%; Deputy Clerk going to an 80% position at $2000/mo; Clerical Assistant position maintained as needed; Police Chief 7%; Officer Ellsworth 2% increase at start of year and an additional 1.2% as he completes the academy; PW Superintendent 5%;  WWTPO 3.2%; Public Works Assistant 3.2%; Mayor an increase of $50/mo to bring it to $250/mo.;  Fire chief and EMS coordinator will go from $100 to $125/mo.  This is split with the rural so it will have to go through the Joint Fire Board.  The salary increase percentages are not based on merit as much as fitting into a range.  Mark Bailey asked if the personnel committee has resources to compare salaries.  Yes, they refer to the AWC state-wide survey.  The City of Palouse falls in the middle-to-low end in most cases.  The Mayor reminded council that the City has a good retirement program to offset lower salaries.  The personnel committee agreed with these numbers and instructed Joyce to build them into the budget. Mike Milano requested $500 to go into Economic Development within Current Expense to allow for contributions into certain programs when called upon.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

PARKS, CEMETERY & BUILDINGS:  Mike Milano stated that Haunted Palouse is coming along fine.  No state street closures are needed to be filed with WSDOT.

POLICY & ADMINISTRATION:   Council member Bailey presented a $10,000 capital funding grant opportunity from the Whitman County Solid Waste Coordinated Prevention Grant of 2007-2008 for expansion of the compost site.  Jeff Snook MOVED to authorize Mark Bailey to submit the grant on behalf of the City of Palouse.  Norm Schorzman seconded and the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  Mark Bailey reported he has been installing the surveillance system at the compost site.  He has been asked if a large quantity of pine needles can be taken to the compost site.  He will research this.

STREETS & SIDEWALKS :  Council member Bagott reported on an email from Munir Daud regarding the progress of an agreement from Avista to move one light pole as part of the Whitman Street project.  With still no response from Avista, he will move ahead with the design.  Darcie reported she talked to a traffic signage specialist regarding better signage by the car wash warning of a congested area ahead.  We need suggestions for better signage rather than more.  There was a citizen’s report of missing signage on F St.  We have three 20 MPH signs heading north on F St. and none heading south on F St.  Perhaps the city can move one of the existing signs.

The Mayor reported that he spoke with Attorney Bishop about drawing up a legal description for the land exchange between the city and the Kite’s in regards to the Whitman Street project.  Bishop is also working on the new lease between the city and the Palouse Community Center (PCC).  He would like to do a boundary line adjustment to create one lot of the two partial lots that the PCC will be leasing.  The lease will be written for one 56’ lot instead of 40’ as in the current lease.  The balance of the lot not taken by a building may become a foyer/courtyard for public use.  If we didn’t do that, we’d end up with a 16’ lot.  It will give them freedom to do sidewalks, trees, etc.  Mark Bailey said it might give them maintenance issues they’re not prepared for.  Council member Bagott asked if the city is partnering with the PCC to develop a parking lot behind the proposed community center.  Mayor Echanove said the city has no money right now for that.  In 2008 the grade work needs to get done.  Perhaps something can be done together in the future. Mark Bailey asked Darcie if Munir has looked into putting the utilities underground.  Munir will if Avista will go along with that.

Dwayne Griffin inquired about the four spaces in front of the used car lot on Main St.  Do we want to leave it as parking spaces or blocked out for turning around?  Council agreed that the area should me maintained as a turn-around.

MAYOR’S REPORT : Breeding’s addition sewer project has gone out to bid.  It is advertised in the Spokesman Review and locally. The mayor received a letter of support regarding the RR crossings on Hwy 272 north of the city submitted by county commissioner Partch to WSDOT in support of upgrading the crossing. The Mayor and Joyce are going to the IACC conference later this month in Wenatchee. Mayor Echanove informed council that he will be on the list for the possible replacement for State Representative David Buri. The Brownfields report is due around Thanksgiving.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:  Councilman Snook MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed. Norm Schorzman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURN:  Norm Schorzman MOVED to adjourn.  Darcie Bagott seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:46 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:

Claims Paid                   Warrants: # 12623         through # 12651 Payment:  $13,876.41

APPROVED:________________________________   ATTEST:________________________________