REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING – DRAFT ONLY
July 22, 2008
CALL TO ORDER : Mayor Michael Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:03 PM.
ROLL CALL : Council members present were: Andy O’Neill; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook; and Rick Wekenman. Absent were: Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano. Also present were: Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; and Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Public present were: Pete Hertz; Susan Williams; Pat O’Neill; John Means; Steve McGehee; Carol Towne; Heather McGehee; Dixie Reber.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES : Correct the last name to Joanne Labaw under Old Business. Councilmember Snook MOVED to adopt the corrected minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of July 8, 2008. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously
OPEN FORUM : The Mayor states that the council will not entertain any comments regarding personnel issues of city staff.
Pat O’Neill, candidate for County Commissioner, District 2 introduced himself. He’s from Colton. He explained his policies and beliefs.
Susan Williams, a resident of Palouse is neighbors with a woman recently stopped by one of our police officers. She stated that if her understanding of the situation is correct, she believes the woman was “assaulted” and is concerned that our small town might have officers who are unapproachable and out of control. The Mayor reiterated that personnel issues are not discussed at city council meetings; there are forms and procedures for formal complaints. Chief Neumann explained that all of our officers are very approachable. He can’t discuss this incident because it’s ongoing, however it began as a soft contact about the leash law. Regardless of gender, age, or size, if threatened, officers must take protective measures.
PUBLIC WORKS REPORT : Dwayne Griffin reported Cove Road was chip sealed. A & R Construction is finished on Breeding’s Addition. Both the Mayor and public works praised A & R and the quality of their work. We have asked for bids for the patchwork on Fairview. Whitman Street is going great and is about 3 weeks ahead of schedule. Road oiling is complete for the year. We got our first utility bill on the booster pump since installed; what was $1,000 in June last year was $600 this June so it is going to pay for itself. We’re still working at the mobile home park; two more trailers should be gone this Saturday. Regarding Whitman Street, next to be done is the curbs, then paving, then sidewalks, lighting, etc.
Councilmember Snook MOVED to bring from the table discussion on the retaining wall on Whitman Street. Councilmember Wekenman seconded and the motion carried unanimously. Munir has had a chance to review concerns and he doesn’t think there will be a problem. Avista won’t move their gas line until they have definite elevations. Munir is confident that it will be a TIB eligible cost. Basically we have three options: 1. Fill with dirt and plant grass; 2. Have Spokane Rock build the walls; or 3. have our own public works build the wall. Councilmember O’Neill reminded council that the price we got was a good-will gesture with no professional mark-up. Councilmember Wekenman MOVED that we approve the extra expenditure of $10,000 to accomplish the construction of the 2 tier retaining wall pending TIB and public works approval. Councilmember Snook seconded the motion carried unanimously.
Steve McGehee asked if A & R has submitted their final bill for Breeding’s Addition and how much extra has been spent. The contract has a “to be determined” clause for the quantity of solid rock, which doubled. So there was an added $46,800 which included the solid rock and 20 Wyes. The mayor explained that 29 hook-ups are required for the break-even point, currently we have had three. Mayor reminded everyone that this is a long-term strategic move.
Heather McGehee asked whether or not the city’s policy about not publicly discussing personnel issues is valid. The mayor explained that while personnel will not be discussed, policy and procedures can be.
POLICE REPORT : With the Potlatch Highway remaining closed, traffic enforcement has been slow. The park has been very busy but no problems have been reported. The lease for the police motorcycle has been bumped from $500 to $800. That price is locked in for life. The Durango is down with brake issues.
JFB REPORT : FD has 9 calls ytd, with two being in June. They’re attributing the decrease in fire calls to our no-burn policy. The DNR grant for equipment is all in and installed. We’re having pump issues on the 413 brush truck and we’re getting it fixed. We had 9 firefighters participate in the training last weekend. EMS had 9 calls in June and 39 ytd.
Pete Hertz said the county is still looking for someone to run the chipper at $13.50/hour. It’s a 3-month position.
NEW BUSINESS :
John Means, Ecology: Brownfields Program. John works with local governments and manages a small program to deal with contaminated sites that communities want to breathe new life into and make useful. He is a planner not a regulator. He explained a brand new grant program, called Integrated Planning Grant. It is for local governments considering acquiring contaminated property and taking it to the clean-up phase. There are costs and considerations such as, title searches, community outreach, planning, design, permitting that this grant would pay for. It is for up to $200,000 with no match requirements. This grant would also help us develop a more comprehensive application to various funding partners for the clean-up phase. The grant funding for clean-up is very competitive, but with the Integrated Planning program, we would be presenting a project that is ready to go and more likely to be funded. He thinks what we’ve got going here rivals any case study out there currently. All it takes from the city is a good solid commitment. He would help with developing the application. The law won’t allow them to pay for the acquisition of the property or attorney fees. Readiness to proceed is the key to getting this funding. It’s wiser to take a little more time and draft a proposal that really tells your story. Once awarded, the integrated planning could take up to two years, or as little as one.
John explained that this is a remedial action grant and is supported through a hazardous substance tax. He then described various clean-up grants which may be available if and when the city is ready. Steve McGehee asked what the liability issue is if the city were to acquire the property. The liability is basically, if you acquire the property, you take the liability on. Ecology isn’t going to be heavy handed about clean up. That’s not the spirit of what we do, they work to develop partnerships. What’s different today is they now have money to work with local governments. When council last addressed this 14 years ago the regulatory approach was much more command, control and regulation. That entire philosophy has changed into how they can help with contamination clean-up. The city is not required to follow through with the clean-up if the liability is too large. Curtain trenches were installed in the 80’s to protect the river. This is petroleum so it’s not as bad as pcb’s or dioxins. The state has jurisdiction on the cleanup even if you use EPA dollars. This site is not on anyone’s radar, there are literally 1000’s of these sites (gas stations, etc). Ecology doesn’t have the manpower to mandate these lower risk sites.
The Mayor stated that he has spoken with the property owner and he is comfortable with the city moving forward and see where it takes us. Councilmember O’Neill MOVED to authorize the Mayor to apply for an integrated planning grant from Ecology. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
OLD BUSINESS :
Resolution 2008-10: For the purpose of funding street oiling and street improvements, the City proposes to impose an excess property tax levy in the amount of $40,000, an estimated $1.025 per $1,000 of assessed value in the year 2008 for collection in 2009. Mayor read the Resolution in full. Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adopt Resolution 2008-10. Councilmember Snook seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Resolution 2008-11: For the purpose of funding and operation and maintenance of the swimming pool, the City proposes to impose an excess property tax levy upon all taxable property within the City in the amount of $26,000, an estimated $.67 per $1,000 of assessed value in the year 2008 for collection in 2009. Mayor read the resolution in full. Councilmember Snook MOVED to adopt Resolution 2008-11. Councilmember O’Neill seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Ordinance No. 842: Adopt the 1% property tax increase. Mayor read the Ordinance in full. Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt Ordinance 842. Councilmember O’Neill seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Ordinance No. 843: Adopt the 1% property tax increase for EMS. Mayor read the ordinance in full. Councilmember Snook MOVED to adopt Ordinance 843. Councilmember Wekenman seconded and the motion passed unanimously.
Ordinance No. 844: Set the regular and special levy amounts for the 2009 Budget. Mayor read the ordinance in full. Special Street Levy $40,000; Special Pool Levy $26,000; Voted Regular EMS Levy $16,602; and General Levy $103,584. Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt Ordinance 844 as written. Councilmember O’Neill seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Award sealed bids for surplus: The City received one sealed bid for the circular swing. Paula Bauer of Viola, Idaho bid $211 + 7.8% tax. Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to accept the bid from Paula Bauer. Councilmember O’Neill seconded and the motion carried unanimously. The City received one sealed bid for the RV trailer at space #9 of the mobile home park. Dwayne Griffin of Palouse bid $9.00 + 7.8% tax. Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to accept the bid. Councilmember Schorzman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
Mayor Echanove asked council to consider going into executive session for the purpose of contract negotiations. He asked that Carol Towne be included. Councilmember Schorzman MOVED and Councilmember Snook seconded to go into executive session at 8:44 p.m. inviting Carol Towne to join them. Motion carried unanimously. Council reconvened at 8:57. Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to accept the mayor’s proposal of $8,000 for relocation assistance to Carol Towne. Councilmember Snook seconded and the motion carried unanimously.
MAYOR’S REPORT : Superintendent Griffin will work with Jerry Moss on correcting his drainage issues on Saint Elmo St.
ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS: Councilmember Snook MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
ADJOURN: Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 9:05 PM.