Month: September 2010

September 28, 2010

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING – DRAFT ONLY
September 28, 2010

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

ROLL CALL:   Council members present:  Cecil Floyd; Mike Milano; Connie Newman; Jeff Snook; & Randy Zehm.  Absent:  Rick Wekenman and Norm Schorzman.  Also present:  Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Officer Joe Merry.  Public present:  Tracy Milano and Steve McGehee.  Councilmember Zehm stated that Norm told him he would be absent due to work.  Councilmember Snook MOVED to excuse the councilmembers’ absences.  Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Zehm requested that under Old Business-RV Park “compared to the rest of the state” be amended to “in researching some RV park websites”.  Councilmember Floyd requested that in the same section, “[Trees have been planted, fire pit is being constructed]” be stricken.  Mayor Echanove pointed out the correct spelling of Lynne Nelson.  Councilmember Newman requested, under Mayor’s report-Timeline of Wood/Farr requests for access, to include the date Nicole Wood declined the easement for private driveway.  Councilmember Milano MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of September 14, 2010 as amended.  Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:   Supt. Griffin reported the “Stop” and “Stop Ahead” signs were installed on South River Rd at Union St.
Union St. will be getting one more lift of asphalt.  The fill removed from Union St. has been put on Park St. as it enters the cemetery to make the approach smoother.
With the paint finally available, they will be painting crosswalks.
Mayor Echanove informed council due to a diesel spill from a farm truck driven through town, the public works, police department and fire department all responded.  Mayor thanked all involved.  While the diesel leak was not a negligible act, the owner could be held liable for the clean-up costs.  The Mayor asked for council direction.  Councilmember Snook MOVED to authorize Chief Neumann to submit costs to the vehicle owner’s insurance carrier.  Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

POLICE REPORT :  Chief Neumann reported that Palouse Day had a good crowd with no issues.  Officer Snead worked for a few paid hours.
The park rules are still being developed for both Palouse and Garfield.
The police contract is still moving forward.
Regarding the new stop sign on Union Street; the community seems to support it.
Officer Dentler is recovering well but not released by doctor yet.  He will go on ½ day in 3 or 4 weeks.

JFB REPORT :  Jeff Snook reported there have been 20 fire calls YTD.  The August wildfire was managed well due to good training and planning.  31 EMS calls YTD, 5 in August.  The ambulance contract is in works for next year and the FF turnout equipment specs are out to bid.

NEW BUSINESS :
Ordinance No. 874 – 2010 Budget Amendment :  Mayor Echanove read aloud Ordinance No. 874 in its entirety.  Councilmember Milano explained the ordinance, transferring $5,000 from Fund 322 Sewer Facility Reserve into Fund 321 Sewer Capital Improvement.  Expenditures did not exceed appropriations, however, revenues did not come in as estimated to meet budgeted expenditures.  Mayor read aloud the Ordinance by title only.  Councilmember Milano MOVED , seconded by Councilmember Newman to adopt Ordinance No. 874.  Motion carried unanimously.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings-Randy Zehm, chair :  Committee will meet to discuss cemetery rates.  They will come back with a recommendation.  The times of the closings at the cemetery are still an issue with public works when they are scheduled during off hours.

Streets & Sidewalks-Cecil Floyd, Chair :  Regarding the street opening requested by Mr. Farr:  After researching, platting a city street would be the responsibility of the owner.  As owner of the property, the city has no interest in opening a street there.  The easement is Farr’s/Wood’s to use and file.  Councilmember Floyd is researching various funding sources and priorities for street and sidewalk improvements.

Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair :  Mayor Echanove, Councilmember Newman and Doug Willcox attended a DOH meeting.  We are collaborating with them to develop a water system plan.  The estimated costs are at $50,000.  PWB would offer 20-year loan on the costs, but the city does not qualify for the CDBG Planning Grant because the median income in Palouse is above the threshold.  The water sewer committee will be working with info we have to put together a summary for the Water System Plan.  DOH indicated that our rates are too low and can assist us with educating the community.  City staff will be meeting 9/30/10 with Andy O’Neill of RCAC to discuss his water rate study findings.  Preliminary talk is of increasing water by no less than $4/month and no more than $7/month.  Sewer has also been spending into its reserve balance for 8 of past 11 years.  We are anticipating an increase in sewer as well.  Steve McGehee questioned sewer fund spending and receipting.

Police, Fire, & Safety-Rick Wekenman, Chair :  The PFS Committee met regarding Mr. Jim Farr’s official complaint against Chief Neumann.  They found no basis for his complaints.  Mayor Echanove concurred with the PFS committee’s opinion.  Councilmember Newman requested Mr. Farr’s letter be read aloud for the record.  Mayor Echanove read aloud the letter, the basis of which Mr. Farr claims his civil rights were violated when Chief Neumann ran a background check on him.  Councilmember Newman asked why Chief Neumann ran a background check.  Chief Neumann explained that Mr. Farr stated he would be coming to council meetings with a gun so Chief Neumann followed up with a background check and informed the sheriff’s office and Mr. Farr of his findings.  Mayor Echanove also read aloud the PFS Committee’s response letter.

Finance, Property, & Equipment-Mike Milano, Chair :  Councilmember Milano explained that he will be talking budget at each meeting through year’s end.  Closing 198 CDBG Fund – Keeping with past council discussion, an ordinance is currently being drafted to close Fund 198 CDBG, transferring residual equity into the general fund.  It is best for closing funds to be effective at year end.  Residual balance in CDBG is estimated to be $45,000 at year end.  Councilmember Zehm spoke in favor of moving ahead with this.  Council directed Clerk Beeson to proceed with an ordinance to close CDBG.  Interfund Loan s – Councilmember Milano reminded council of the three interfund loans for Breeding’s sewer extension that will come due in 2011.  The loans from both Current Expense and CDBG could be a permanent diversion if council chooses.  The loan from the Water System Reserve fund must be paid back, however the sewer connections have not come in as anticipated.  The interest rate set by the original resolution is 5%.  Currently interest earnings are at less that 1%.  The recommendation is to draft a resolution that would make the Current Expense and CDBG interfund loans a permanent diversion, extend the term of the Water System Reserve loan to 2014 and lower the interest rate to 1%.  RV Park –  The approximately $3,000 residual money left unspent in the RV Park fund should be spent on the RV park as previously designated rather than moving to general fund.  Perhaps picnic tables or privacy screening could be considered.

MAYOR’S REPORT :
EMS asked permission to use the city gator for emergency stand-by on Shady Lane during Haunted Palouse.  Griffin said he would work with them.
Mayor Echanove explained that he and Doug Willcox would both be going to the Brownsfield conference.  The travel costs are expected to be around $500.  The costs may be covered by the integrated planning grant but that is not confirmed.  Councilmember Milano MOVED to authorize up to $500 in travel cost reimbursements if these costs are not eligible through the Ecology planning grant.  Councilmember Floyd seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

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

ADJOURN:   Councilmember Milano MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Zehm seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:13 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      Ck. No. 2599 – 2613       $11,998.00

 

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________

 

September 14, 2010

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING – DRAFT ONLY
September 14, 2010

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

ROLL CALL:   Council members present:  Cecil Floyd; Mike Milano; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook; Rick Wekenman; & Randy Zehm.  Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson (7:18).  Public present:  Jon Fleischman; Erik Newman; Connie Newman; Daye Mayhan; Steve McGehee; Doug Willcox; Pete Hertz.

INTERVIEW COUNCIL CANDIDATES: 
Two candidates submitted letters of interest for vacated council position #7:  Connie Newman and Jon Fleischman.  Both candidates were interviewed separately and asked the same set of questions.  After the interviews Councilmember Schorzman MOVED , seconded by Councilmember Snook to adjourn to executive session.  Motion carried.  Meeting was adjourned to executive session at 7:27 PM.  .

CALL TO ORDER:   Mayor Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:39 PM.
Mayor expressed how pleased he was with both applicants.  Next year there are a number of open council positions if one so chooses to be on the ballot.  Councilmember Milano MOVED to appoint Connie Newman to Palouse council position #7; seconded by Councilmember Snook.  Motion carried unanimously. 

SWEAR IN NEW COUNCIL MEMBER:  Mayor swore in Connie Newman as Palouse Councilmember position #7.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Zehm MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of August 24, 2010.  Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:   Supt. Griffin reported they started the Union Avenue project last week.  PW should start putting gravel in this week and possibly pave around the 24th.   As reported last council, three weeks ago a squirrel shorted out the electricity on the booster pump and for some reason the surge protector didn’t work.  It’s at the factory still and we don’t yet know the damage.  It may still be under warranty.

Open sealed bids for surplus items :  Supt. Griffin opened at council the sealed surplus bids.  The city received two sealed bids for the 1987 Dodge pickup truck:  Steve McGehee bid $216.54; Dave Mayhan bid $150.00.  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to accept the bid from Steve McGehee.  Councilmember Newman seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.  There was one bid for each utility box.  Steve Holbrook bid $109.47 for one box and $116.24 for the second box.  Councilmember Schorzman MOVED , seconded by Councilmember Snook to accept the two bids for the utility boxes.  7.8% sales tax will be added to all bids.  Motion carried unanimously.

POLICE REPORT: 
Chief Neumann reported Officer Dentler suffered an off-duty accident which will keep him off work for 6-8 weeks.  He will work on scheduling and may need some extra help, particularly for Palouse Days and Haunted Palouse.

Regarding Union and Bluff Streets speeding, they did several patrols in the morning and evening and witnessed nothing excessive in speed.  They talked to a couple residences in the area with children stressing that the street is not an area for kids to be playing.  Chief spoke with Councilmember Floyd regarding the stop sign idea; he would not be opposed to one at Union and Wall because of the traffic coming off the South River Road.  With the visibility coming from that direction, a stop sign makes sense.  Councilmember Floyd asked what time his morning patrol was.  The police patrolled between 7:15 and 7:40 in the morning.

Chief Neumann met with Garfield Mayor Pfaff about the contract for policing services.  Chief supports the proposed 3-year contract.  The contract wordage remains the same except the monetary compensation.  This contract will have no increase in 2011, 1.5% increase in 2012 and 1.5% increase in 2013.  Councilmember Floyd asked the reason for the dollar increase.  Councilmember Wekenman explained for the obvious reasons such as COLA, insurance premiums and all expenses in general.  Councilmember Zehm said 1.5% may not be enough of an increase.  Councilmember Milano explained that 4% was being considered over the course of three years so given the trend of reduced spending by the PD, 3% looks like it would work.  Councilmember Milano MOVED , seconded by Councilmember Wekenman authorizing Chief Neumann to negotiate with Mayor Pfaff and bring back a contract for council approval.  Motion carried unanimously.

OLD BUSINESS
RV Park:   The Policy & Admin committee of Councilmembers Zehm, Schorzman, & Floyd met to discuss the RV Park rates.  Councilmember Zehm reported that compared to the rest of the state they found only one RV Park with lower rates, however our closest competition is Potlatch and we are higher than them.  With the Potlatch rate at $15, they suggest lowering our rate from $25 a night to $17.  Councilmember Milano explained the history of why we chose the rate of $25/night.  We also don’t want to compete with the Palouse Lion’s Club Park and what they offer.  Deputy Clerk Thompson questioned the need to consider lowering the rate since she has only received one complaint about the rate and it was from Norm Schorzman.  Councilmember Zehm said he asked some people and they said for the rate being charged, they expect amenities like picnic tables, fire pits, privacy screening and trees.  [Trees have been planted, fire pit is being constructed].  Councilmember Newman has spoken with Palouse RV Park users and they have been very pleased; their only complaint was they didn’t know we existed.  So perhaps the issue isn’t cost but just lack of awareness that we exist.  Councilmember Milano explained a little about why Potlatch’s RV Park has more users; according to Potlatch City Hall, their park has evolved into a long-term stay park.  For various reasons, including the 12+% leasehold excise tax we would have to pay, the city does not allow long-term campers.  Milano also explained that we have an obligation to the Main Street neighbors as well.  Clerk Beeson said this is our first full year so we don’t really know what our actual costs will be but as of current projections, 60% of the $25 rate goes to overhead like electric, water, sewer and garbage.  The reduced rate would leave very little for advertising and amenities.  Councilmember Floyd said after hearing these things, he is happy with the current rate and the proposed resolution.

Resolution No. 2010-16:   Adopting the RV Park Weekly Rate on the fee schedule for city services.
Councilmember Zehm MOVED , seconded by Councilmember Floyd to adopt Resolution 2010-16, setting the weekly RV rate to $150.00 (includes tax).  Motion carried unanimously.

Dave Mayhan wants to know why the RV Park can have a fire pit if he can’t.  It was explained to Dave that residential recreational burns are allowed as long as he complies with the rules.  The RV Park has to comply with the same burning laws as everyone else.

Brownfield’s Report :  Doug reported that the clean-up strategy and funding plan remain the main focus and things are moving along nicely.  The next focus will be economic and redevelopment planning.    

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings-Randy Zehm, chair: 
Town of Wilson Creek contacted Randy regarding the survey he conducted for our Chipper/Compost Site.  They liked the survey and want to use it for themselves.

Streets & Sidewalks-Cecil Floyd, Chair:   As recommended at last council, Councilmember Floyd spoke with Supt. Griffin and Chief Neumann regarding traffic/pedestrian safety on Union Street.  Consensus seems to be that a series of stop sighs are not needed and more patrolling may be the answer.  Councilmember Floyd stated that signage would be beneficial in his opinion.  He would support a stop sign coming off South River Road at Union and Wall.  Supt. Griffin and Chief Neumann agreed.  Councilmember Floyd believes speeders may not be the issue as much as kids playing in the street, which is hard to stop.  If we put in a stop sign, people would be forced to be aware and slow down.  The current speed limit is 25 or 20 if children present.  Councilmember Newman strongly recommends also installing a “stop ahead” warning sign so there are no collisions.  She also encouraged council to drive by and check it out.  For various safety reasons, she definitely discourages a stop sign at Wall and Bluff but agrees to one at Union and Wall.  Councilmember Floyd MOVED to put a stop sign at the intersection of Union and Wall, off of South River Road, heading from east to west.  Councilmember Newman seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.

Finance, Property, & Equipment-Mike Milano, Chair:   The finance committee met with Joyce last week to discuss the budget and fund housekeeping.  The RV Park Project budget has a little over $3,700 left unspent.  He would support rolling that back $3,500 to the general fund, and the remainder going toward the fire pit project.  The hope is with future revenue we purchase picnic tables, and other amenities.  Little Peoples Park Project has budgeted money to replace the pea gravel at the park with wood chips, and will be raising funds for added playground equipment.  The committee discussed closing out certain unnecessary funds within the city budget.  For example, the Cemetery Reserve fund only collects certain cemetery fees and transfers them to Cemetery operating as budgeted.  Cemetery operating could receipt these fees directly.  He listed a few other funds that will be looked at.

Councilmember Milano explained that the Sewer Capital Improvement (SCI) Fund 321 is in trouble and turned the floor over to Clerk Beeson.   She explained that the balance in SCI dropped into the negative at the end of August.  Expenditures did not go over budget however revenues did not come in as estimated.  Clerk Beeson suggested transferring $5,000 from the Sewer Facility Reserve Fund 322 to SCI Fund 321.  Councilmember Milano MOVED for Clerk Beeson to develop a budget amendment allowing a transfer of $5,000 from 322 to 321.  Councilmember Snook seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.

The Breeding’s AWB loan matures Feb. 1st, 2011.  While Tim at the bank said the loan date could be extended, we need to act in paying down principal.  Our funding option for this would be to use the funds held in 198 CDBG.  We would need to put together a procedure to close the CDBG fund and the use and transfer of residual equity, which is expected to be about $45,000.  This would go a long way toward paying the AWB $52,000 loan and greatly reduce the interest expense that SCI is paying.  Councilmember Zehm asked where the CDBG money came from and if it was there why we didn’t use it sooner.  Clerk Beeson handed out an explanation and history of the original CDBG program.  The grant closed in 1987, and the residual money that came in before the closure date was just under $47,000.  This amount was designated program income and councils between the years of 1988 and 1993 used this amount in various eligible projects that were approved by the Department of Community Development (DCD).  It was confirmed by DCD that the program income had been spent and reported that any income after 12/29/1987 may be used for any activity the city chooses.

OPEN FORUM :
Dave Mayhan requested a speed bump on Whitman Street near his house.  He claims that people speed by his house all the time, one driver in particular.  Councilmember Zehm told Dave that we can’t actually put a speed bump across Whitman Street.  Mayor said we can ask the Chief to do some emphasis patrol there.

Dave Mayhan then asked the council exactly what Chief Neumann told the city council to get the trespass on his son Dylan.  Chief explained that he didn’t address the council on a trespass because Dylan is a minor.  Chief explained that he would be glad to discuss the topic with Dave at the P.D. but he can’t address it in public.

MAYOR’S REPORT :  The Planning Commission is working very hard on our zoning and comprehensive plan.  Mayor asked council for a vote affirming the appointment of Lynn Nelson to the Planning Commission.  Councilmember Milano MOVED , second by Councilmember Schorzman confirming the mayor’s appointment of Lynn Nelson to the Planning Commission.  Motion carried unanimously.

Conferences coming up: IACC in October at Wenatchee.  Clerk Beeson will be going.  CDBG program has several million funds available through various grants.   They have a pre-application workshop in Moses Lake October 5th which Clerk Beeson will be attending.  There may be a grant available for putting together the water system plan.

City staff received more PRR’s from Nicole Wood and from Jim Farr the last few weeks.  Mayor read aloud portions of one of Jim’s letter.  Councilmember Zehm asked if the city had any liability with the rock pit; no not a city issue.  Nicole has been emailing with the Planning Commission regarding putting in a mobile home court on her property in Breeding’s Addition.  Mobile Home courts are not permitted in low-density.

On August 8, 2010, Jim Farr requested the city grant him easement for access and utilities off of Fairview Avenue to the rock pit block.  The city had our attorney put together the easement and it was presented at the August 24th council meeting.  Later, Nicole Wood and Jim Farr informed us that they no longer wanted a driveway but rather a city street.
Councilmember Zehm asked if a street opening was even a legal option for Farr/Wood.  Could we create a street and what is the process?  Doug Willcox said there has to be a process where anyone can set about getting a street platted.  The applicant would have to bear ALL the costs of the process and they would have to deed to the city all rights-of-ways.  In this case the property we’re talking about is already city-owned and there is no motivation from the city side to open a street to a dead end when it’s already city-owned.  Since the city owns the property it may be legally impossible for him to open a city street.  He will immediately come upon the issue of the ownership of the property in question.  Councilmember Newman said this isn’t an issue of access as much as who’s going to pay for the road to their driveway.  After discussion it was decided that Councilmember Floyd would look into the process and talk with the appropriate authorities.  The response to Farr-Wood would be handled through him.  Councilmember Newman requested the timeline of the request for access by private driveway and then the request for city street be listed in the minutes.  The timeline is as follows:
7/27/2010 – Jim Farr request approval of private driveway off Fairview.
8/10/2010 – Jim Farr clarified his request for access off Fairview.
8/10/2010 – Council agenda item.  Council voted to instruct the city attorney to put together easement.
8/17/2010 – City Hall updated Farr-Wood on the progress of the request for access.
8/23/2010 – Jim Farr requested a street opening instead
8/24/2010 – Attorney Bishop gave council the easement for access and utilities that could then be sent to Wood to file.
9/14/2010 – Street opening request on agenda for discussion.

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

ADJOURN:   Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Zehm seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 9:39 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:
Payroll Paid      Ck. No. 2532-2559 & EFT           $47,808.57
Claims Paid      Ck. No. 2560-2598                     $74,869.57

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________