Month: January 2011

January 25, 2011

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING – DRAFT ONLY
January 25, 2011

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; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook; Rick Wekenman; & Randy Zehm. Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Officer Brian Dentler (partial); Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Public present: Pete Hertz; Don Snekvik; Charlotte Snekvik; Kay Youngblood; Lynn Youngblood; Calvin George.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Under mayor’s report, remove the sentence “These three people refuse to attend council meetings to discuss their requests”. Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of January 11, 2010 as amended. Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:
Supt. Griffin reported the only damage from the high river water was all the displaced bark at the park. Public Works want to organize a work party of volunteers to help move the bark back into place. There was discussion about possible solutions: chicken wire, ecology blocks. Not sure what will work.

There was more improper dumping at the chipper pile. They located him via the on-site video cameras and the police are in the process of making contact.

POLICE REPORT:

The river gauge was a great help with the floodwaters. It was very accurate. No surprises.
Ongoing dog issues: this January we’ve issued 3 infractions for dogs at large and a handful of warnings.
Durango just got out of shop with 105,000 miles. It’s in good shape. The Intrepid is in the shop and has some sensor issues and is idling funny. Still like to move forward with a more traditional patrol vehicle for small town community policing while there is still some value left in Intrepid.
Chief asked council to peruse his handout for the parks rules signs and offer him suggestions.

JFB REPORT:

Jeff Snook reported they continued discussions on the ambulance contract with the City of Pullman. Because of levy amounts in the rural districts, the City of Pullman would like to charge an additional $100 fee each time they come to Palouse.
EMS had 10 calls in December and 72 total in 2010. Fire had 1 call in December and 27 total in 2010.
The bids for the turnouts were as follows: SeaWestern (bid 1) $34,199.76 (bid does not meet spec.); L.N. Curtis $36,401.91; General Fire $38,988.69; SeaWestern (bid 2) $39,135.44. The Palouse JFB voted to accept the bid from L.N. Curtis as the bid that meets specifications. Councilmember Snook MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Floyd to ratify the JFB’s acceptance of L.N. Curtis bid of $36,401.91 for turnouts. Motion carried unanimously. Clerk Beeson pointed out there will now be a budget amendment at next council meeting so JFB can spend their grant money.

Mayor appointed councilmember Milano as our third representative on the JFB. Councilmember Schorzman MOVED, second by Councilmember Snook, affirming the mayor’s appointment of Mike Milano to the JFB. Councilmember Milano abstained and motion carried.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS:

Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair: Re the Service Extension Policy (SEP), it is expected back from Atty. Bishop in early February for council review. The SEP will serve as a working policy and procedure document for anyone who wants to extend water to a new development. We meet those requests now but there is no official policy and procedure on that. With this policy, it will be very black and white. Discussion ensued whether the SEP will be part of our city code or a policy and what the difference is. Policy allows the greatest amount of flexibility; it’s not codified so it can be modified easier. Policies still have to go through council. Once we have a SEP, council will discuss further whether to codify any or all of it.

The WSP is required by the DOH and we are working with the DOH to complete it. Councilmember Newman is anticipating up to two years before completion. Costs are estimated upwards of $50,000, primarily for engineer. It’s a long, complicated, technical document. The water and sewer committee is currently reviewing engineer SOQ. In the next three months we will have our engineer hired and will lay out the plan. In addition to the engineer, we will use current city staff and consultants (like RCAC). When we go to DOH pre-planning meeting we can discuss grant money available. We will be doing asset and equipment inventory as well. Having the WSP in place will qualify us to apply for specific funding otherwise not available to us. We will have to update it every 5 years. Councilmember Wekenman brought up Andy O’Neill of RCAC telling the city not to be in a hurry to hire an engineer on this because RCAC would be able to participate enough to cut back on our costs. Councilmember Newman explained there are some sections of the WSP that MUST be done by an engineer. Andy O’Neill cautioned the city not to pay an engineer to produce documents that already exist. The DOH expects an engineer to already be hired prior to our preplanning meeting with them. Connie is optimistic we can come in under $50,000. She said our predicted water reserves due to pending rate adjustment can potentially be designated towards our WSP. Engineers are motivated because they also want to be chosen down the road for our larger projects like new water reservoir.

Streets & Sidewalks-Cecil Floyd, Chair:
Councilmember Floyd questioned the time it’s taking to respond to a street opening request received over a year ago. Clerk Beeson clarified it’s not a street opening, it’s an easement and it’s currently with Atty. Bishop. The issue is who owns the road. It has never been determined that the city even owns the road. The fact that it’s in the county may have something to do with the time it’s taking.

Committee met with Gloria Bennett of TIB. We identified a couple projects we’d like to move on: Where Mohr Street meets H Street (just outside elementary school) kids walk on Mohr Street because the sidewalks are in such disrepair. Mohr may need to be reclassified as an arterial. We would like to also reclassify West Whitman Street from Hwy 27 to Mill Street. By reclassifying these two streets, they could become potential projects for TIB. The definition of an arterial is a street that connects to a major hub (like the school). The third project is putting a multi-purpose pathway along Cove Road for residents of the South Hill to access downtown. There are no sidewalks and it forces people to walk along basically a highway. Once we hit Hwy 27, we would have to work with DOT.

TIB calls for projects in June, so prior to that we need estimates and definitions of what we want to do. Sidewalk safety and arterial reconstruction are projects TIB funds. Some consultants will give estimates for free. Councilmember Floyd MOVED for council approval, seconded by Councilmember Zehm to move forward on potential 2011 projects. Motion carried unanimously.

MAYOR’S REPORT:
When we closed CDBG last fall we made a loan payment of $40,000 to AWB for our outstanding debt for Breeding’s Addition sewer extension project. Our balance is currently approximately $12,000. This will be the third year we vote to extend the loan. Mayor would like council authorization to sign the note to extend it from 1/1/2011 to 1/31/2012. Councilmember Newman MOVED to sign the extension of the note with the balance of approximately $12,000. Seconded by Councilmember Milano. Motion carried unanimously.

Canfield & Associates is coming Feb. 8.

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

ADJOURN: Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:29 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:
December 30, 2010 Claims Paid Ck. No. 2900 & 2902 – 2907 $7,158.54
January 26, 2011 Claims Paid Ck. No. 2901 & 2908 – 2916 $9,115.23

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________

January 11, 2011

REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING – DRAFT ONLY
January 11, 2011

CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:02 PM.

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Cecil Floyd; Mike Milano; Connie Newman; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook; Rick Wekenman. Absent: Randy Zehm. Councilmember Milano MOVED, seconded by Schorzman to excuse Councilmember Zehm due to illness. Discussion ensued about what the procedures are in terms of what is considered an excused absence. The city has no policy. Councilmember Newman thinks there should be guidelines. She will make recommendations to the Policy Committee. Motion carried. Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Police Officer Brian Dentler; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Public present: Pete Hertz; Mark Bailey; Joe Poire; Greg Partch; Kent Nelson; Logan Gorence; Galen Gorence; Paul Kimmell.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Floyd MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of December 28, 2010. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Supt. Griffin reported on work. The Boy Scouts collected approximately 20 Christmas trees which they limbed prior to bringing to compost facility.

POLICE REPORT: Chief submitted the December activity log. There is a low turnout on dog licensing compliance so they are going to begin actively reminding people. Chief is getting estimates to develop signage for the park rules.

OLD BUSINESS:
Joe Poire from Port of Whitman County: The Port is requesting an easement to bring fiber-optics through Palouse. The project begins in downtown Spokane and ends in Clarkston. They are asking for a franchise agreement and presented council with a sample ordinance which could be used as a template. There is a grant involved in this project to anchor certain institutions. In Palouse they are the library and medical clinic. They still have to buy the service but it’s the Port’s responsibility through this grant to get fiber to them. Because they got in on federal stimulus money they have only 12 to 14 months to build this. This agreement is non-exclusive; the port will then lease the fiber out. This project is a fully bonded public work. While the project has not yet been engineered they are fairly certain that because of the rock in Palouse, they will have to saw cut much of it rather than boring. The main build will be underground. Mayor Echanove voiced his concern and affirmed that the engineers and contractor would have to work closely with the city. Councilmember Wekenman recommends putting it in under the worst sidewalks we have and putting them on a schedule for reconstruction. The Port wants this out to bid in 2 weeks, work to begin in April, completed by Thanksgiving. Attorney Bishop will work on the agreement and develop a plan to bring it back to council.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS:
Streets & Sidewalks-Cecil Floyd, Chair: Gloria Bennett from TIB is coming tomorrow to meet with the street committee regarding using the TIB website and defining eligible projects.

Water & Sewer – Connie Newman, Chair: Reported she received a series of calls from Jim Farr. She referred his zoning question to Mayor and Clerk Beeson. John Eastburn has called her as well regarding street opening questions and about getting a water main to Nicole Wood’s property that he is interested in. Mayor has authorized Connie to communicate with him. Mark Bailey of the Planning Commission clarified that one of the primary tenets to request a zoning change is that you have “legal interest” in that property, meaning proven ownership, partial ownership or a legal share. Planning Commission asked John Eastburn for it 6 weeks ago and never received it.
Regarding our Water System Plan, Atty. Bishop is compiling data and will begin crafting it soon. Connie has begun reviewing the engineer SOQ’s. There is no timeline imposed by DOH; they just want to see us proceed with the plan. Connie wants to begin the asset inventory at the same time. Clerk Beeson reminded council that a lot of work for the WSP may be done free of charge if RCAC gets a grant to do so through the Dept of Health. She suggested not hiring an engineer until this is confirmed. The committee will move forward to put together a short list of engineering firms.

Policy & Administration – Norm Schorzman, Chair: Mike Milano is still working on the nuisance ordinance regarding noise and light pollution. Mayor reminded this committee to also discuss Councilmember Newman’s questions about defining an excused absence.

Personnel & Pool – Jeff Snook, Chair: Will be working with city staff soon to begin the process of hiring a pool manager. He is thinking we have several returning guards.

OPEN FORUM:
Greg Partch Whitman Co. Commissioner. The next Whitman County Mayor’s Roundtable is slated to be in Palouse March 10th. The subject is Open Public Documents Act. The Roundtable is sponsored by Avista and SEWEDA. Councilmember Milano MOVED to allow Greg Partch to continue speaking past the allotted 3 minutes. Councilmember Snook seconded and the motion carried unanimously. Pat Mason from MRSC in Seattle is going to speak about the records retention, public records requests and the open public meetings act. This is a great opportunity for elected officials to meet with their peers in Whitman County who share in civic responsibilities.

Paul Kimmell, Regional Business Manager of Avista Utilities. Avista believes in publicly recognizing those individuals who have provided exemplary contributions, achievements, and impact on their community. After reading aloud a letter, Paul Kimmell, on behalf of Avista, presented Mayor Echanove with their 2010 Avista Excellence in Local Government Award. The award is made to a local elected official in both Latah and Whitman County. In addition to the award, Mayor Echanove has the opportunity to award a $250 scholarship to a Whitman County high school civics/government teacher, program or activity to help promote local government, civics, and community service within our community. The mayor indicated he would be selecting Gar-Pal High School.

MAYOR’S REPORT:
Planning Commission’s Findings of Fact for Proposed Breeding’s Addition Zoning Change. The City received a request from John Eastburn to rezone from low density to commercial Nicole Wood’s property in Breeding’s Addition. There was no official public hearing on this issue. At their regular meeting of Jan. 4, 2011, the Planning Commission reviewed the request and wrote their Findings of Fact for council. Mayor read aloud the findings of fact. For numerous reasons, the Planning Commission rejected the proposed zoning change. The city asked our attorney what it takes for someone to make a zoning change request if they don’t own the property. Atty. Bishop said the only two people who can request a zoning change are the owner or the agent of the owner who has legal authority by demonstratable proof. Mr. Eastburn in this particular case failed to show that he was the legal agent for the owner.

In hindsight, this zoning request should never have made it to the Planning Commission because of the lack of proof of legal interest. The procedure to be followed for zoning requests is as follows: a requestor of a zoning change must provide, to city staff, proof of legal interest in the property which will be verified by the city attorney. Once verified, it will go to council. Only council will decide if a zoning request goes to the Planning Commission.

Councilmember Snook MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Schorzman, to accept the Planning Commission’s Findings of Fact rejecting John Eastburn’s zoning change request.

Much discussion ensued about the numerous requests from Jim Farr, John Eastburn, and Nicole Wood regarding this same piece of property and the fact that some of these requests have been answered numerous times. Atty. Bishop advised Mayor to inform staff to respond to duplicate requests with the same response as last time. These three people refuse to attend council meetings to discuss their requests. Another request arrived today from Jim Farr which he wants on the next agenda and a written response from Attorney Bishop. Mayor and council advised staff to inform Jim Farr that today’s request will not be on an agenda and that the mayor will not instruct the attorney to respond to it in writing.

Mayor and Council discussed procedure for allowing addendums to council minutes. According to MRSC, there is no policy or state regulation; it is up to council as to how it is done. Accordingly, it is up to council whether written letters or statements be included in the minutes. Our minutes, like most cities in the state, use summary minutes, not verbatim minutes. Council agreed that the minutes should include action items and summaries. Minutes are not a political forum.

Frontier has high speed internet now. They are coming to Palouse this Friday and serving hotdogs and burgers at their office on the corner of Whitman and Bridge.

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

ADJOURN: Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 9:17 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:
December 2010 Payroll Paid Ck. No. 2850 – 2869 & EFT $41,959.67
December 2010 Claims Paid Ck. No. 2870 – 2886 & EFT $ 4,312.89
January 2011 Claims Paid Ck. No. 2887 – 2899 $18,768.82
VOIDED Ck. 2891
TOTAL $63,740.26

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________