Month: July 2008

July 22, 2008

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.

 

July 8, 2008

PUBLIC HEARING
and
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING – DRAFT ONLY
July 8, 2008

CALL TO ORDER:  Mayor Michael Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:01 PM.

ROLL CALL:  Council members present were:  Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Andy O’Neill; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook; and Rick Wekenman.  Also present were: Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Officer Brian Dentler; and Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.  Public present were:  Nancy Wolf; Jana Mathia; Mike Wolf; Julia Killinger-Wolf; Lisa Fisher; Mary Estes; Fire Chief Mike Bagott; Emily Bagott; Cheryl Rajcich; Debra Alchbari; Shelly Slocum; Heather McGehee.

PUBLIC HEARING:   2009 Revenue Sources.  Mayor opened the public hearing for public comment at 7:02.  Hearing none the Mayor closed the public hearing at 7:03.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Snook MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of June 24, 2008.  Councilmember Bailey 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.
Nancy Wolf requested the city have a burn week in the fall and spring to accommodate those people with large amounts of yard waste that isn’t acceptable to compost.  She thinks if the city sets aside specific dates in advance, people who are bothered by the smoke could stay inside or leave town.  Mary Estes supports the idea.  With the cost of gas, it’s really frustrating to drive to Pullman.  Since weather can be an issue, we could have a secondary date.  Nancy suggested maybe May and October.  Mark Bailey said the city can still burn following state law because we’re not a Growth Management Act city.  He pointed out that Spokane County allows the burning week, but not cities within the county, only rural.  4x4x3 is still the maximum size of a burn.  Lisa Fisher asked if we could burn only until we get a chipper in town.  The chipper should be here in late September, they’re just waiting to hire someone.  Councilmember O’Neill asked about whether the city should require advance permits for the burn.  Mary Estes stated there could be an “inversion” clause, so if the weather was wrong for burning, the date could be changed.  Councilmember Bailey thinks the compost site may be able to accommodate pine needles in the future. Chief Bagott said burn complaints in 2008 have dropped dramatically since the burn ban:  Last year we had 9 or 10 calls at this time, this year we have had 2.  He also stated that a burn day is more practical than a burn week so people affected would not have to stay in or be gone for a whole week.  Active enforcement by either the PD or the FD would be needed.  There are many people in town with a long track record of burning illegally, so the ground rules will have to be spelled out very clearly.   Bagott stated that he expects we’ll get the complaints, and if we do, the firs, though permitted, would have to be put out.  We have to err on the side of caution.  He isn’t opposed to trying but the advertisement and the enforcement have to be strictly followed.  Mary Estes stated that she sees a community need.  Norm suggested that Mark Bailey set up the rules, regulations, permitting, etc.  Chief Bagott said late September to late October would be the best burn times.  By state law burns can’t even be smoldering at dusk.  In spring, the variability of the weather is the issue.  It was also pointed out that if we get a chipper in September, there perhaps, won’t be a need for the burn days.

Chief Neumann introduced our new officer, Brian Dentler.  He was then sworn in.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Superintendent Dwayne Griffin reported A & R should be close to finished by the end of the week.  Whitman Street is ahead of schedule; they’re doing a great job.  The site for the playground equipment has been dug out.  They have been hauling dirt to the RV Park.  Griffin reported breakdowns with equipment this week.  Road oiling should begin Sunday or Monday.  Will be cutting down on how much oiling is done.  Councilmember Bailey asked Dwayne if PW would be interested in Mark applying for a 25% match grant for a Bobcat.  Dwayne said they could use one.  Palouse Cove will be chip sealed on Friday; we get $25,000 from TIB for that.  The state is charging the city $500 for the work they did for patching Fairview.  Councilmember Wekenman said that when the RR construction crew took their machine off the track on Whitman Street, they left some major gouges abs asked if anything can be done to make it right with the city.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:  WE have had some issues with dog problems and dog bites.  ALL dogs must be on leashes when not in their yards.  A trailer damaged the road at Main & Bridge; we’re working with WSDOT on fixing the damaged asphalt.  WSDOT will charge the responsible party for the road repair.  No complaints over the 4th of July.

NEW BUSINESS:
Resolution 2008-08 :  Mayor Echanove read the resolution in full.  Accounts receivable to the City of Palouse for water and sewer service have been determined to be uncollectible.  The bad debt left was for $66.00.  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt Resolution 2008-08.  Councilmember Schorzman seconded the motion, and the motion carried unanimously.
Resolution 2008-09 :  Mayor Echanove read the resolution in full.  The resolution authorizes Mike Milano, the Palouse City Council Parks Committee Chairperson, to apply to the RCO for funding assistance.  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt Resolution 2008-09.  Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

OLD BUSINESS :  Mayor Echanove updated council on our Brownfields project.  Our brownfield site in Palouse is the old Conoco station next to Bagott Motors.  In 2006 the EPA investigated the site.  The results came back from EPA Region 10.  There are three phases:  1. Assessment; 2. Clean-up; 3. Re-use.  Unlike our MH Park, where DOE wants green areas, the EPA wants re-use, be it private or public structures.  The contact through EPA feels that our next best step would be to switch from the EPA to the DOE brownfields program.  John Means, DOE representative, proposes the city apply for a development grant which would outline a program of the steps to a complete project; a sort of planning project.  If we are successful, John has some funding to pay for this planning phase.  The Targeted Brownfields Assessment for the sity indicated the clean-up and monitoring of that site would cost approx. $285,000.  By the time you have property acquisition and removal of bldgs., etc. it would easily be over $350,000 project.  The city would have to own the property before moving forward with clean-up.  Cities get grants, private individuals needs loans.  The owner is willing to sell.    Joanne XXX with the EPA is willing to have a conference call with us to discuss clean-up and re-use.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

PARKS, CEMETERY & BUILDINGS:  Ray Hansen memorial dedication is planned for 7/13 from 11-12.  It’s being arranged by the UI College of Engineering along with the Hansen family.  The sculpture will be at Heritage Park and is being professionally installed by Garlinghouse and they have guaranteed there will be no damage to any city property.  Councilmember Milano MOVED to allow the Raymond Hansen memorial rock to be placed at Heritage Park.  Councilmember O’Neill seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Regarding our park project, Canfield and Associates has some funding available and it will be roughly $800-$1,500.  Councilmember Milano will pursue that.

Greg Harazin from Greg’s Electrical walked through the park with Steve Brink.  Councilmember Milano would like to move that project back to next year to accommodate our park changes.  He will get more electrical bids.

JFB :  Councilmember Wekenman said the Capital Improvement committee met.  Chairman Perkins will be talking with Representative Schoessler about our needs and possibly getting the ball moving on some funding.  We’re trying to get new turnouts (fireproof coveralls), a new truck, etc.  We’ve talked about speaking with banks, etc. about sponsoring an individual fireman to provide turnouts.  The WSFFA mobile burn trailer will be in town July 19 & 20 for training.  It’s designed to simulate structure fires.   Someone in the gallery asked if a v=tax levy has ever been considered for equipment needs for the fire department.  Mayor Echanove explained that the city transfers funds from the general fund every year, some years more that others.  A separate levy has not been recommended by council.

WATER & SEWER:   Councilmember O’Neill requested a committee meeting with PW and city staff to update everyone on issues concerning the Breeding’s Addition hook-ups.  Clerk Beeson reminded Andy we need to start moving now on 2009 rate increases for NSF fees, rate changes, and late charges.

MAYOR’S REPORT :  Mayor Echanove reported the most recent valuation for regular and special levies and also what was levied for collection in 2008.  Based on this valuation, an increase of 1%, the maximum amount allowed, would bring in an additional $1,026 to the general levy and $164 to the EMA levy.   Unless council approves an increase, the special Street levy of $40K and Swim Pool O & M levy of $26K would remain the same.   With this 1% increase, total taxes levied in 2009 would go from $184,995 to approximately $186,185.  This amount does not include new construction or changes in the state assessed property values.   By law we are allowed a 1% increase and the mayor asked for council consideration.  Councilmember Milano MOVED to authorize staff to include an increase levy by 1% in the paperwork setting the levy amounts for 2009.  Councilmember Bailey seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.   Members of the gallery asked if the city has considered charging out of town patrons of the pool.  Clerk Beeson explained that even when we used to collect for daily and seasonal passes, the amount collected was only an average of $5K a year, a fraction of costs.  Also, the amount of time and money to audit this revenue was great.  It would be very difficult to audit whether or not a pool patron is a tax payer and that all non-tax payers were being charged.  There are signs posted encouraging out of town patrons to make a donation at city hall.    

Mayor discussed Munir Daud’s proposed change order for two small retaining walls on Whitman Street, next to the PD.  The $10,000 price covers both walls, but the city will get reimbursed from TIB for one of the walls.  Mary Estes asked if it is possible to get water to the area.  Superintendent Griffin is very concerned with the potential damage to water, sewer, and gas lines because it has already been excavated so much and crews are dangerously close to their lines.   Councilmember O’Neill asked what was in the original engineering plans in this particular area.  It was just sidewalk.  Munir realized after the excavation, that there should have been a retaining wall.  Councilmember Wekenman wants more information and more definitive answers before moving forward.  Councilmember MOVED that we allow acceptance of this bid UPON REVIEW from TIB for funding and engineering approval by our PW department.  Mary Estes stated that perhaps the bid should include a bid breakdown.  Mark Bailey reminded people that this is a  prevailing wage project.  The retaining wall the city just installed on Steve Brink’s property on Whitman cost over $70,000.00 which puts the price in better perspective.    Councilmember Wekenman MOVED that we table this discussion until next council meeting.  Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried.  Councilmember Milano did not second the vote.

Due to the added amount of cubic yards of hard rock that A & R had to go through and the additional footage of sawing through existing pavement, and the addition of wyes, there were $48,600 added to the project.

Councilmember Bailey MOVED and Councilmember Bagott seconded to go into executive session to discuss the purchase of personal property at the MH park.  The motion carried unanimously.  Council convened back into regular session at 9:16 PM.  Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to authorize the Mayor to enter into a contract with an owner of a home at the MH park for $7000.  Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  Councilmember Milano MOVED to put the travel trailer from space #9 up for city surplus.  Councilmember Bagott seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  Councilmember Milano MOVED that the city also include the circular swing from the park for surplus, disassembled, as scrap.  Councilmember Snook seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

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

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Milano MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Bailey seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 9:27 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:
Claims Paid
Claims Paid
Payroll Paid

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________