Month: January 2009

January 27, 2009

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING – DRAFT ONLY
January 27, 2009

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

ROLL CALL:   Council members present:  Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook; Rick Wekenman.  Absent:  Andy O’Neill.   Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; and Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.  Public present:  Pete Hertz; Dixie Reber; Steve McGehee; Dennis Griner (arrived at 8:12).

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Drop the words “in overtime” from the minutes under Public Works Report.  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt the minutes as amended of the Regular Council Meeting of January 13, 2009.  Councilmember Bagott seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:   Superintendent Griffin reported on normal winter operations.  With a break from plowing and sanding, they’ve had some time to perform much-needed work on equipment.  Don has worked on the trail at the Palouse River Walk.  We’re using chipper bark for the trail.  With all the storms and Christmas trees the chipper pile is almost full.  The sidewalk in front of the men’s bathroom at Heritage Park gets cold and swells up so the door won’t open.  We need to cut out that corner and re-pour it.  The fan is now working in the men’s bathroom so we may not need to replace the aerator.  Regarding the signs on Main Street, we found some in the shop and put them up instead of purchasing new ones which are very expensive.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:   Chief Neumann reported the patrol car is 95% completed.  Personnel issues were discussed at the last Police, Fire and Safety meeting.  Pedestrian safety at our intersections was discussed.  Councilmember Wekenman suggested the idea of movable flags at the intersection, particularly for use by children.  Darcie talked to the state about that; the state is not opposed but they won’t fund it.  Chief Neumann said he could spearhead it.

JFB & EMS REPORT :  Councilmember Wekenman reported there have been no fire calls lately.  7 EMS calls in December with a total of 8 patients.  Total calls in 2008 were nearly half as 2007; 20 compared to 38.  The FD has changed their minimum meeting requirements from once a month to two meetings a month.  The new pumper tender is in service.  The old Dodge is currently being stored at someone’s house.  It has been determined that it has more value as a parade truck/antique than what we could sell it for.  And it could still be a back-up if the others were out of service.  We’re looking for long-term, weather-proof storage for it.  EMS folks are taking tele-health classes.

Steve McGehee has noticed a great drop-off in chimney fires.  Are people heating less with wood?  Not sure of the statistics, however portable gas and electric heaters are more of a danger than chimneys.  Old wall heaters are a concern also.  The FD is still accepting applications which are available at City Hall.  For more information, contact Fire Chief Mike Bagott.

NEW BUSINESS:

Resolution 2009-02 – Extend payment terms on Breeding’s Addition Loan:  Mayor read the resolution in full.  It authorizes the Mayor to enter into an agreement with AWB to extend the maturity date of the AWB loan from 2/1/09 to 2/1/10.  The loan is down to approximately $35,000.00.  Hopefully we’ll get some more hook-ups in 2009.  Five hook-ups will pay it off.  Councilmember Snook MOVED to adopt Resolution 2009-02.  Councilmember Bailey seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Resolution 2009-03 – Adopt the Whitman County Roster for public works contracts and professional services: 
We need to advertise for professional services prior to starting the H Street Project.  Rather than running our own roster for professional services, the state law allows us to use the county’s roster.  Municipal Research said we need a resolution to do so.  Mayor read the resolution in full.  In summary, the city could use the county’s list to pull from.  There was some confusion among those present as to the difference between a professional services roster and a small works roster.  The city keeps and updates twice yearly a small works roster and vendor roster.  A professional services roster is for engineers/planners.  Councilmember Wekenman likes the idea of saving all the advertising dollars.  Councilmember Snook likes having the superset of a roster to draw from.  Councilmember Bailey stated the only possible negative might be if someone we thought would be on the list wasn’t on the list, however engineers would be more likely to get on the county list as opposed to getting on a small town’s list so we have a much bigger choice to draw from.  Councilmember Bailey MOVED to adopt Resolution 2009-03.  Councilmember Bagott seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

OLD BUSINESS:

Integrated Planning Grant – Brownfields
Mayor reported on the third meeting.  They continued to talk about reuse.  Dennis Griner has applied for a $10k technology grant to augment the Brownfields project with a similar project at the school.  To engage the entire HS into the project, from water and soil sampling, to media work, etc.  He has a comprehensive plan outlined.  He submitted his proposal.  Mayor would like to submit the IPG to Ecology.  We want to make it a comprehensive grant that looks at the site, at the river, at how we can integrate both.  We talk about community visioning, hiring a consultant to spearhead this, a clean-up strategy, re-use visioning.  All those items are grant-eligible.  John Means has suggested we apply for the maximum amount of $200,000 with $0 cost to the city.  Mayor thinks it’s a wonderful opportunity for the community to move forward.  Councilmember Bailey said the planning grant doesn’t apply just to that site, it can apply to the whole river corridor.  And even to that point, it still doesn’t commit the city to anything.  The IPG is relatively new to the Brownfields program.  Mayor doesn’t know the time-frame of grant award notification.  IPG can use funding for site evaluations, survey work, permitting, all the SEPA’s, fish and wildlife, etc.  It’s a feasibility study.  Councilmember Snook MOVED to authorize the Mayor to proceed with the IPG feasibility study.  Councilmember Milano seconded and the motion carried unanimously.  Dennis Griner explained how and why he became involved with the project.  A state technology grant came available at the school, totally separate from the city’s.  But his grant, if it’s funded, will provide equipment to do soil and water studies, species studies, natural vegetation stuff, etc., involving every student and every class.  Dennis Griner will know February 27th if he was awarded his grant.  There are only 10 to be awarded in the state.

Discussion on Planning Commission Zoning Change Proposal
Councilmember Bailey said the PC meets again next Tuesday, Feb. 6th.  He’s looking for any input before the documents come back for approval.  There will be at least one public hearing on this eventually.  It will be an ordinance when it gets to that stage.  Councilmember Milano suggested before and after shots for those meetings just so people can see the changes.  Mayor asked about the zoned Light Industrial area.  When the city sold those 120 or so acres, the mayor thinks he remembers that land being annexed as low density.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

PARKS, CEMETERY, & BUILDINGS:   Councilmember Milano reported from Palouse Conservation District we got a proposal for what to plant at the Palouse River Walk Park.  The plan is for April planting with volunteers.  Councilmember Wekenman inquired who will have the final say regarding what stays and what goes as far as vegetation at the Palouse River Walk.  Don Myott has a good handle on that.  It’s not planned for cleanout.  Weed-spraying is slated.  We got a letter from Whitman Co. ’09 grant applications.  The funding pool is $100,000.

POLICE, FIRE, & SAFETY :  Councilmember Wekenman reported Police, Fire, and Safety met to discuss some personnel issues and to discuss the new police car.  Officer Merry’s 1 year anniversary is coming up.  The next civil service meeting is next Monday, February 5th, 6 pm at the PD.

POLICY & ADMINISTRATION :  Councilmember Bailey reported he’s trying to get a status on the DOE grant for the loader.  There is a free Whitman County composting workshop on Wednesday, Feb. 25th from 9-3 at the Palouse Empire Fairgrounds.  Call 509-397-4622 for more info. or to register.

STREETS & SIDEWALKS :  Councilmember Bailey asked Councilmember Bagott if she could look at getting signage near the trail across the highway from Breeding’s Addition that kids use daily to and from school.  It has poor visibility and high-speed traffic.  Dennis Griner uses it too and he seconded that.  Councilmember Bagott will investigate options.

MAYOR’S REPORT :
The mayor received a call from Habitat for Humanity, Moscow chapter.  They’re ready to move forward here in Palouse.  They’re in the process of family selection for the project.  We need to get the word out and give them a pool of families to choose from.  If you know of a family you want them to consider, let City Hall know.  There are two lots up there; they want to build two homes.  There is currently an old farmhouse on the property.  That farmhouse is for sale for $1.00 if someone wants to move it.  Contact City Hall for more info.

First Step Internet has requested to build, at their own expense, a small shed to replace their equipment cabinet at the West well site.  Dwayne Griffin will investigate the legality with DOE.  MB added that we need to be cautious because if any other service provides want to relocate here, we may have to provide them with the same opportunities and access.  It may open us up for some anti-trust lawsuits.

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

ADJOURN:   Councilmember Bagott MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:41 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:
Claims Paid     1001-1030       $12,766.90

January 13, 2009

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING – DRAFT ONLY
January 13, 2009

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

ROLL CALL:   Council members present:  Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Andy O’Neill; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook; Rick Wekenman.  Also present: Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann.  Public present: Steve McGehee, Dixie Reber, Pete Hertz, David Milano, Jana Mathia, Gabe Cocking, Mitch Jamison, and Diane Mecham.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Milano MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of December 23, 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.
Mayor Echanove thanked the Boy Scouts attending the meeting as part of their award program.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:   Superintendent Griffin reported on snow removal and cleaning up after wind and high water damage throughout town.  On Christmas morning, the F Street sewer pump station was frozen and the crew was called out to clear and repair.  Griffin explained how the alarm system works.  Councilmember Snook thanked the crew for going out on Christmas morning to handle this emergency that could have gotten much worse.  The river peaked at about 15 feet and the water did not reach to back door of the shop.  Boy Scout Gabe Cocking asked how much it costs to join the Chamber of Commerce.  Councilmember Milano stated that individual memberships are $15.

Mayor Echanove stated that in 2008, snow plowing cost the city about $20,000 in overtime.  In case the winter weather trend continues as it is in 2009, perhaps council should consider developing a written policy for snow related overtime.   Councilmember Milano added that along with the overtime, an equipment upgrade plan should be considered.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:   Chief Neumann handed out the PD call log and reported that the holiday season was fairly uneventful.  There was a near emergency situation as an ice dam developed near the Bridge Street Bridge.  Whitman County emergency management was very helpful, as well as PW Griffin, and Councilmember Wekenman who kept an all night vigil even after the ice dam broke at about midnight.  The Mayor thanked all involved.

NEW BUSINESS:   Resolution 2009-01:  Cancel lost warrant
This resolution was withdrawn since the lost warrant had since been delivered to the vendor.

OLD BUSINESS:

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

PARKS, CEMETERY, & BUILDINGS:   Councilmember Milano handed out pictures and a description of a piece of art offered as a donation from Will Murray to the Palouse River park project.  He asked for council and public feedback on how to proceed with Mr. Murray’s offer.  After discussion, councilmember Milano suggested that a committee be put together for any public art installation.  The Little People’s park project is in the public comment phase and so far the feedback is positive.  The park improvement grant program will be awarding this spring so we are still hopeful.

The water reservoir and park trail project has been sent to Southeastern Washington Development where it will be sent on to other economic development lists to be ready for any stimulus programs that may move forward in the next few years.  Mayor Echanove stated that the footbridge is on a Whitman County economic development list.  There will be a great deal of engineering and permitting involved in this project.

POLICY & ADMINISTRATION :  Councilmember Bailey handed out the newest version of the proposed zoning from the Planning Commission (PC).  The only change noted was a Light Industrial section along Cove Road was changed to R-2.  PC is asking for council feedback.  Their next meeting is Tuesday, Feb 1st and would like any comments and concerns by then.  When the PC is ready, they will submit their proposal to council and council will vote to either set a public hearing or send back to the PC for further review.  Councilmember Wekenman suggested that we look at past notes of a public meeting the PC may have held before submitting proposal to council.

Mayor Echanove explained to council that PC members Sam Gregg, Maggie Brushears and Ann Warrington have resigned and three citizens have stepped forward to fill these positions; Dixie Reber, Robin Rillette and Mike Sanderson.  Councilmember O’Neill MOVED to install Dixie Reber, Robin Rillette, and Mike Sanderson to the Planning Commission.  Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

STREETS & SIDEWALKS :  Councilmember Bagott asked Dwayne if he looked into the placement of street signs on the city posts at the Main & Bridge intersection.  Dwayne said there is no room.  Councilmember Bagott will call the state to ask permission to put these city signs on their posts.

WATER & SEWER :   Councilmember O’Neill reported that his committee met to identify infrastructure needs for 2009.  Mayor Echanove stated that the city received a request from James Farr for infrastructure extensions on Breeding’s Addition.  The request is being reviewed by the Water & Sewer Committee.

MAYOR’S REPORT :  The Ecology planning grant for the Brownfield’s project is in draft form.  There is no word yet on the availability of a grant for the purchase of the property.  The next Brownfields meeting is scheduled for January 21st at 7:00 PM.

The city’s insurance provider settled the Omoto claim for $7,500.  That was a $1,000 deductible to the city.

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

ADJOURN:   Councilmember Bagott MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 7:43 PM.