Month: October 2008

October 28, 2008

October 28, 2008

CALL TO ORDER:   Mayor Michael Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:03 PM.

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Bailey MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of October 14, 2008.  Councilmember Snook 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.
Steve McGehee asked if the Mayor’s policy about not entertaining comments regarding personnel has changed because at previous council meetings the Mayor would verbalize the policy in addition to it being stated in writing.  No, the policy has not changed.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:   Superintendent Dwayne Griffin reported that nine of the overgrown trees were trimmed at the park.

They’ve been working on the sprinklers at the RV Park; once the main trunk line is in they will start on the roads.  There is a small amount of excavating left to do at the RV Park which they will do this fall if the weather holds.

They’re finishing up on Whitman Street, replacing a manhole and clay pipe.

The chipper pile is full again.  The county will be here Nov. 7th to chip.  The city will try and get the word out to residents that they are welcome to take the chipped material; it makes great mulch.

Poe Asphalt allowed us only 18 tons of asphalt mix for patching on Fairview and C streets.  We need a few more loads just to finish off but with the shortage of asphalt we won’t be able to finish this year.  They will do some shoulder work on Fairview.  Poe charged us $65/ton which is the same price we paid last year.

In regards to trailer #3 at the mobile home park:  We’ve gone down all the appropriate paths to sell it as surplus.  The city received an offer from a man who would like the trailer.  He will do all the removal and clean-up.  Councilmember Snook MOVED to sell trailer #3 for $1.00.  Councilmember Wekenman seconded, provided the home is moved on or before November 8th.  Motion carried unanimously.  Otherwise, the city’s cost to remove and dispose of it would be $2,400.

Spokane Rock applied a test seal between the railroad track rubber interface and the rail to seal it up. Indications look to be that the process will work.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:   Chief Neumann reported no police issues during Haunted Palouse.
Chief Neumann gave an anti-drug presentation to the Palouse grade school for Red Ribbon Week.  He also gave a Halloween safety talk and handed out candy bags.
Chief Neumann spoke with some people who continue to illegally park on the north side of Church, Alder, and Mohr streets.
There have been no burn complaints.

JFB Update :  The meeting focused mainly on the new fire truck.  The truck is ours and will be delivered around mid-November.  It will undergo a few modifications and be in service after the first of the year.  There have been only a few fire calls; mostly mutual aid for grass fires.

3rd Quarter Treasurer’s Report: The arterial street fund is in the red because we’re awaiting TIB money.  The final numbers are being developed by Munir Daud so the project can be closed out.  Our expenditures are in line except for the budget amendment for parks.  Once we convert to our new software, hopefully we’ll be able to get rid of some of our old funds in a more streamlined process.  Councilmember Wekenman inquired about our CDBG fund.  It was a fund developed years ago for home improvement grants.  There are still a few homes out there that don’t pay off until ownership changes.  The program income is unencumbered.  There will be some finish-up work at the RV Park and the mobile home park where that money could be used.

Ordinance No. 848:  Budget Amendment .  Mayor read the ordinance.  The ordinance increases the Current Expense-General Parks fund by from $30,400 to $38,400.  The bulk of the $8,000 increase was tree-trimming (unforeseen safety issue) and high fuel costs.  Councilmember Bailey MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 848.  Councilmember Milano seconded.  Councilmember Wekenman asked if there is a little bit built in for contingency?  Yes.  Motion passed unanimously.


PARKS, CEMETERY & BUILDINGS:   Councilmember Milano met with USDA Rural Development grant managers.  They’re interested in ADA access projects, public works equipment, fire and police equipment.  Chief Neumann got an application for 35% for a new police vehicle.

Greg’s electric is still working to fix the light on Whitman Street.

Carrie Sundstrom from WSDOT sent a recommendation to the Palouse Scenic Byway committee on our behalf for trail improvements.

Mike met with Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO).  They talked about trail improvements and future projects.  RCO showed interest in our trail and bridge project.  The federal byway grant money would probably be 80% and the RCO money would be the 20%.

The RV Park driving areas will be gravel.  They would like a recycling area near the RV Park for city residents and park users.

POLICE, FIRE, & SAFETY:  Councilmember Wekenman reported they had a civil service board meeting.  They completed the policy and procedures manual and discussed their roles and obligations.  They passed a motion to not meet until January unless business comes before the commission.  Members were made aware of the police procedures and manual.  The state obligation to create this board has been fulfilled.

POLICY & ADMINISTRATION :  Councilmember Bailey and Supt. Griffin discussed ideas for the $13,000 grant money from DOE, possibly getting a bobcat tractor for the compost facility.  In a follow-up with Glen Curtis, Councilmember Bailey told Glen the city’s concerns and options, possibly selling him that stretch of road.  We first must confirm that the city owns it.  Attorney Bishop is investigating that and our options.  There is still no update on the car crushing.

PERSONNEL & POOL :  The personnel committee met again for further consideration of staff salary increases.  They took into consideration the Cost of Living Allocation (COLA), AWC salary survey, and additional workload.  The salary increases range from 4%-8%.  Police Chief and Police Officer – 4%, Clerk-Treasurer, WWTP operator, and Public Works Assistant – 5%; Deputy Clerk, Public Works Superintendent, and Police Officer in Charge – 8%.  They tried to at least cover the COLA for everyone.  There’s going to be added work for staff this coming year with the RV Park.  The city isn’t growing much population-wise but the workload is increasing as we improve our infrastructure and programs.  There’s a much bigger daily workload for the staff at City Hall and the city crew.

Councilmember Wekenman asked if the contract amount from Garfield covers the increases for the officer’s salary.  Increases were built into the existing contract so the contract amount is not going to be raised in 2009.  There are industry standards for the different categories of jobs and we want to get it on an even keel.  With the exception of the PW Supt, we’re getting close to meeting the industry standards for the staff positions.  We’re in the middle range on most of the positions.  COLA was used as a baseline with added percentages to the positions that come in low.

WATER & SEWER:   In regards to Ordinance No. 847, amending the Breeding’s Addition hook-up requirements, Councilmember O’Neill stated the state law is mandatory at 200’ and we’re at 210’.  The Whitman County Public Health Safety Office has the authority to ultimately make the decision should a system fail.  We’re following the same path as the county and the state.  They are pushing to get away from septic systems where ever possible.

MAYOR’S REPORT :  Mayor reported he traveled to Tacoma last week to attend the 2008 Brownfields and Land Revitalization Conference and is ready to explore with the citizens of Palouse the possibilities of developing a Brownfields project within Palouse at the old Palouse Producers site.

Community input is the first step in developing a successful project and the mayor would like to schedule a Town Hall meeting at 7:00 pm, November 10th at City Hall to begin.

Due to Veteran’s Day, the next council meeting will be on Wednesday, November 12th.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:   Councilmember O’Neill MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed.  Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURN:   Councilmember O’Neill MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:24 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:
Claims Paid     Warrant #13441 – #13464       $9,331.13

October 14, 2008

October 14, 2008

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

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Amend the minutes as follows:  Under PD Report, the Bridge Street had damage caused to the pavement not the actual bridge, and it was caused not by a wide truck but by a wheel and tire.  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt the minutes as amended of the Regular Council Meeting of September 23, 2008.  Councilmember Bailey seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Superintendent Dwayne Griffin reported they have been working steadily on the RV Park; Marc is working on getting costs for the sprinkler system because they’d like to get that done before putting in the roads (at the RV park).

The first experience with the chipper went really well.  The chipper operator is available to come any time.  The city asks that if someone has a large amount of chippable waste, to please call City Hall so we can be prepared.  The chippable waste needs to be clean, with the least amount of dirt and no rocks.

They will begin patching on North River Road; we won’t get the whole thing done this year.  They put in another sewer extension at Breeding’s and will be putting in another one this week.  There have been inquiries on water hook-ups also.

They’re trying to expand the holding area for sand because the county only wants us to buy sand from them once a year.  Last year we didn’t have enough sand and we had to beg for more.

They are concerned with some trees at the park, particularly near where the gazebo will go in.  Marc got a couple bids to trim the dead out.  R-C Tree Service bid $3,500 + tax; Wilson’s bid $165/hour based on 2-4 hours per tree (8 trees).  Joyce said she will have to do a budget amendment out of parks general maintenance.  It wouldn’t change our ending balance since Marc would hold off spending more this year on the sprinkler program.  Councilmember Snook MOVED to accept the bid from R-C Tree Service for $3,500 + tax.  Councilmember Milano seconded.  Councilmember Wekenman wondered if we should remove a tree or two, instead of just trimming, if they’re going to have to be removed within 4 or 5 years anyway.  It was decided to leave the dollar amount and if public works work can come up with a better maintenance plan, go for it.  Motion carried unanimously.

Councilmember Milano reported that the Lions club is helping with the kiosk roof at the RV Park.  With $3,500 budgeted for sprinklers, materials and installation, we’re currently at $3,000 so we have a little wiggle room.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:  Chief Neumann reported the training they signed up for is $15.00 per video course, which is an excellent price.

He reminds people that from Division Street all the way to H Street, there is NO Parking on the north sides of Church, Alder, and Mohr Streets.  He’d like to look at possible solutions to make those streets flow better and safer.

There have been a number of dog issues for which citations were issued.

PPD made two arrests of juveniles in Garfield for defacing political signs.

The Civil Service Board met for the first time.  They were able to go through the entire policy manual.  They’ll have a special meeting on Monday Oct. 20, with regular meetings beginning the first Monday in November.  Meetings are public and held upstairs of the PD at 6:00 pm.  Minutes will be available to the public.  We will try and get them posted online.

JFB :  Chief Bagott and fireman Bruce Beeson went to NY to inspect the potential new fire truck.  All reports so far are the truck exceeded expectations and it will be purchased.

Ordinance No. 847:  Amendment to Ordinance No. 839, Breeding’s Addition:  Mayor read the ordinance.  There are certain homes within the 210’ requirement that are not even feasible to hook-up to sewer.  In particular, Kirk Burnham would have to add a culvert and cut through private property.  Councilmember O’Neill MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 847, seconded by Councilmember Milano.  Discussion: Supt. Griffin asked if there will be interest accruing.  At the time we can extend that sewer pipe, he’ll pay his $7,000 plus his share of the extension cost, plus the hook-up charge, which is currently $250.  He will not be paying interest on the $7,000 initial cost.  What if his system fails tomorrow?  It’s still within the ordinance that if it fails he’ll have to do whatever needs to be done to connect to the city sewer.  His property will no longer be exempt and he understands that.  Motion carried unanimously.

River Gauge Monitoring Contract:  authorize Mayor to sign:  This is our annual maintenance that we share with the USGS for our rivergauge monitoring system at Kennedy Ford.  It has gone up its usual amount, 6%.  Our share for 2009 will be $1,420 if we sign this contract.  This provides an excellent service for our community.  Councilmember Snook MOVED , and Councilmember O’Neill seconded to allow the mayor to sign the agreement for continued usage of the monitoring gauge at Kennedy Ford.  Motion carried unanimously.

2009 Budget Discussion:  See committee reports below.


PARKS, CEMETERY & BUILDINGS:  Councilmember Milano reported that we had $900 for some updated wiring at the park, which may increase to $1,800 to also feed power to the gazebo and update the existing wiring at the shelters.  He would like to try soliciting some outside donations from event organizers.  Supt. Griffin thinks it will be money well spent.  It’s also a real safety issue.  It was agreed to include $2,000 in park improvements for ‘09 budget for electrical work at the park.  Clerk Beeson reported that we have set aside $50,000 for a public works building.  That is not enough, but with the higher costs and effects to the general fund, the transfer out to Building Reserve fund could go down from $12K to $2K.

POLICE, FIRE, & SAFETY :   Councilmember Snook had a personnel committee meeting to discuss salary changes for next year.  Chief Neumann brought up the purchase of the third police vehicle.  No extra money will be required for the third officer equipment because they were able to use their surplus.  The PD would like to include Garfield on the dog contract with Whitman County.  We probably need to amend our contract with them but hopefully, not the dollar amount.

POLICY & ADMINISTRATION Councilmember Bailey reported that we were awarded a grant from DOE for $13,000 total, with the city share of 25% or $3,250 for construction and improvements to the compost facility.  The problem is we’ve already completed those in-house so we’re looking at where we could best use the grant.  They are considering a capital purchase for equipment.

FINANCE, PROPERTY & EQUIPMENT :  Clerk Beeson brought up the need for new software for the city.  We’ve been operating with an old DOS system.  Councilmember Bailey concurred that what the city is using is almost obsolete and needs to be updated to keep up with the new state requirements.  We’ve received two proposals for new software.  Basically, it would cost about $5,000/year for 5 years, and an additional $3,000/year for support.     

PERSONNEL & POOL:  Councilmember Snook reported the personnel committee met to discuss salaries for the 2009 budget.  They used the AWC’s (Association of Washington Cities) annual Salary & Benefit guide, using cities with populations of 500-1500.  Regarding salaries we propose the following:  City Clerk- 5% increase to $3,587; Deputy Clerk- 5% increase to $2,100; Police Chief- 3% increase to $4,017; Police Officer in Charge- 5% increase to $3,360; Police Officer- 2% increase to $3,264 upon completion of his probation; PW Supt- 5% increase to $3,638; WWTP Operator- 3% increase to $3,640; Public Works Assistant- 3% increase to $3,189.  Lifeguards minimum wage goes to $8.55/hour.  These figures will increase our budget by $11,807.  In general, all these salaries fall just below or right at the average.  One considerable exception was the PW Supt. which is much lower than the average.  That range was $59,000 – $75,000.  Councilmember’s Bailey and O’Neill are concerned with our PW Supt. making significantly less than the state average.  Clerk Beeson also explained that the Deputy Clerk is at the same time frame as Dwayne and is working into her position also.  Mayor stated that when we’re talking about a 5% increase for the Deputy Clerk, we’re talking only $100/month.  Councilmember Wekenman expressed concern about the amount of money spent over the last few years.  Councilmember Bailey realizes it’s going to be a tight budget next year, but he doesn’t think salaries are where we should skimp.  Mayor said our personnel are our biggest single asset to the city.  We’re trying to keep up with cost-of-living.  The increases for insurance are:  8.2% for medical, 0 for dental.  Mayor requested the personnel committee put these numbers into the budget and the committee can fine-tune it and instruct the mayor how to proceed.

STREETS & SIDEWALKS :  Clerk Beeson submitted her third billing to TIB for Whitman Street.  After this third reimbursement, all that will be left is the retainage plus about $4,000 for Spokane Rock.  The only request for the 2009 budget is the H Street sidewalk project.  The city’s share is $10,000 so we need to make sure we have that money in our arterial street fund.

WATER & SEWER:   Councilmember O’Neill reported that the Finance Committee made a recommendation to increase the water/sewer rates by $1.00 each, increase the NSF check fee (bounced check) from $10 to $25 and increase the late fee from $5 to $10.  Councilmember O’Neill presented a report from AWC comparing water/sewer rates.  We’re well under the average for other cities.  Councilmember O’Neill MOVED , and Councilmember Milano seconded instructing Clerk Beeson to draft an ordinance raising the water and sewer $1 each, increasing NSF fee to $25 and the late fee to $10.  Councilmember Snook talked with cities our size at the AWC conference and their rates were out of sight compared to Palouse’s.  Clerk Beeson pointed out that of the $26 for sewer, only $20 goes into operating.  The balance is going to loan payments for the new sewer plant and belt press system.  When you consider we’re actually operating at $20, it’s on the really low end.  Motion carried unanimously.

MAYOR’S REPORT:   Our insurance carriers indicated a 6-8% increase.  Our employee health care coverage will be an 8% increase; we’ll make it 10% in our budget to cover our bases.  Councilmember’s Snook and Milano attended an AWC conference last week; apparently we’re really fortunate we got our big projects done when we did because the money from the state isn’t going to be trickling down to the cities.

The mayor received a scholarship to attend a Brownfields conference in Tacoma next week.

Regarding trailer #3 at the MH Park, the surplus to the person in Garfield fell through.  However City Hall was contacted last week by a man in Genesee who wants to purchase it for $300 plus he’ll pay for all the moving expenses.  As soon as everything is all clear, we’ll move forward on that.

In regards to the car-crushing extravaganza, the county contractor will no longer tow the cars from personal property, only from one central location.  We’ve had an offer from Bud Bagott to tow vehicles to the central location.  At this time, we still don’t have a concrete date.  Once we know more, we will be notifying those people signed up.  People can still call City Hall to sign up.

We’ve had a request from Glenn Curtis who wants to use the old city dump road as a driveway.  He’s asking the city for permission to use it, make improvements to it.  According to Don, the city actually owns the road.  It’s currently a fair-weather road only.  Councilmember Bailey would rather sell it to him than give him the right of way.  Attorney Bishop’s concern was if we allow him to improve it, that the city isn’t liable for any accidents, plowing, up keep.  There are a few different options:  sell the road and retain the easement, sell it as a cooperative.  We will investigate further.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:  Councilmember Snook MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed.  Councilmember O’Neill seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Snook MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:47 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:
Claims VOID:  #13392
Claims Paid     #13393 – #13440         $193,821.63

Payroll Paid     #6968 – #6990             $  35,794.98