Month: October 2011

October 25, 2011

DRAFT ONLY. Without council review or approval.
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
October 25, 2011

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

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Cecil Floyd; Tim Jones; Mike Milano; Connie Newman; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook; Rick Wekenman. Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & City Attorney Stephen Bishop.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Newman requested that under her report “38 states” be changed to “30 states”. Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of October 11, 2011 as amended. Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Superintendent Griffin submitted a written report. In addition – A stop line test strip was installed by the vendor who will be installing a STOP legend at Bridge & Main intersection this spring. This will be a good test on how often the material will have to be replaced. Water meters were read for the last time until April. The Mayor asked what could be done to help protect people from overage due to leaks that go undetected during the non-read months. Griffin stated that leaky toilets are the #1 culprit for overage. Also, they should look out for wet spots in their yard which could indicate a leak. Council asked if the meter could be opened up and read if a leak is suspected. Griffin cautioned against people opening up their meter since they are packed with insulation to prevent freezing. He suggested that we get the word out on how to look for a leak without opening up the meter in a freeze.

Superintendent Griffin presented 2 bids to council for the replacement of the old John Deere mower and attachments.

Columbia Tractor $8,677 less $3,285 trade in value for a total of $5,812.58 including sales tax
Arrow Machinery $8,671.45 less $1,000 trade in value for a total of $8,269.82 including sales tax

Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to accept the bid of $5,812.58 from Columbia Tractor. Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

POLICE REPORT: Chief Neumann reported an incident of indecent exposure outside the school. They had an initial suspect based on incidents in other communities, but that suspect was clear of this offense. There have been no other instances reported within the county and they are staying vigilant. Chief Neumann notified the school district and the press to get the word out. Mayor Echanove asked that the Chief be allowed to use his judgment on whether or not he will use the email listserve as a tool.

Chief Neumann showed council his design for signage outside the Police Department as well as a two-sided banner that will go on the lamppost. After discussion, it was decided that 911 be listed first, the dispatch number second and office number third.

JOINT BOARD FIRE & EMS UPDATE: Councilmember Snook reported that Fire and EMS continue to be under budget for 2011. They are looking closely at funding needs over the next 7 to 10 years for equipment. The Fire Department presentation at the school was very well received and considered a success. There were 4 EMS calls in August and 12 in September with 46 YTD.

OLD BUSINESS: Councilmember Newman reported on her attendance of the Washington Public Records and Law Forum in Pullman. Progress is being made in addressing the statewide abuse and misuse of requests for public records. Connie will continue to serve on committee and follow this issue.

NEW BUSINESS: 3rd Quarter Treasurer’s Report – C-T Beeson presented a written narrative report through the third quarter of 2011. The Treasurer’s report for September was also available on the table for council review.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS:

Finance, Property, & Equipment-Mike Milano, Chair: The projected gap in revenues to expenditures continues to eat away at our reserves and the finance committee will be considering options. The chipper program continues to be a problem to manage as well as not coming close to meeting expenses. The operating budget at the swim pool is looking good for 2011 and 2012 with the changes that have been approved. The RV Park is holding its own. The committee recommends that beginning in 2012 the City no longer pay for dental insurance on spouse and dependents. Next, the committee will look at the current fee schedule for possible changes. Councilmember Milano MOVED that the city pays for only the employee dental insurance. Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. Avista has been contacted for energy audits and our telephone service provider is looking at ways we can reduce costs.

Personnel & Pool-Jeff Snook, Chair: Will be calling a committee meeting to consider budget issues.

Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair: The committee met to discuss several issues
– 2012 preliminary budget review of water and sewer funds has no changes to suggest
– The committee for development of the Water System Plan (WSP) has put together a rough draft defining growth projections for water hook-ups. They are also comparing the existing service area (ESA) in considering boundaries for the retail service area (RSA). Currently, there are 27 water services outside city limits. These services were in existence when city code was adopted in 1972 which no longer allows residential connections outside city limits. The committee will continue to work with the Planning Commission to keep consistent with city code and/or consider possible changes.
– City administrators recently discovered that a household was connected to the city sewer in 2009 but not activated in the billing system. As a result they have not been billed for sewer service for the last 2 years and 10 months. Council discussion included options on how to proceed. Councilmember Newman pointed out that state code allows back billing as far as 6 years for errors. Attorney Bishop recommended that C-T Beeson speak with the State Auditors Office for their viewpoint. After discussion, Councilmember Newman MOVED to have C-T Beeson write a letter to the party informing them of the error and of the total amount of sewer charges they owe. A payment plan could be set up. Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried with two nay votes, Councilmembers Floyd and Jones.

Streets & Sidewalks-Cecil Floyd, Chair: Councilmember Floyd commended the Community Action housing project on Cove Road for laying asphalt rather than the original plan of gravel.

OPEN FORUM: No topics

MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Echanove asked council to begin thinking about a master plan for the parking lot behind the community center, as this land was retained by the city so a public lot could be developed and maintained. He will take this to the PCC board with questions on how they would be willing to participate and any ideas they might have. Brownfields Project Update – Issues are being worked out and things are moving forward. A community outreach meeting is scheduled for November 29 at the School gym about this phase of the project.

The Mayor told council that he is thinking ahead to the second meeting in December. There is concern that given the holidays, it would be best to move the meeting night from December 27th to December 20th. Councilmember Snook MOVED that the date for the second regular meeting of the city council in December be moved from December 27th to December 20th. Councilmember Schorzman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS: Councilmember Schorzman 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 Jones seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:25 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:
Claims Paid Ck. No. 3532 – 3539 $2,495.10

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________

October 11, 2011

DRAFT ONLY. Without council review or approval.
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING
October 11, 2011

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

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Cecil Floyd; Tim Jones; Mike Milano; Connie Newman; Jeff Snook; Rick Wekenman. Absent: Norm Schorzman. Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.

Councilmember Newman MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Snook to not excuse Councilmember Schorzman’s absence. Discussion about what legitimizes an excused absence. Councilmember Floyd voted nay. Motion carried.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Milano MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of September 27, 2011. Councilmember Jones seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Supt. Griffin submitted a written report. In addition, the rain gutter on the PD was originally installed incorrectly so PW repaired that along with the roof.

PW chipped again, using the county chipper this time so it went much quicker because their chipper is bigger and is operated by a county employee. It does cost more than renting Garfield’s. The chipper pile was in the worst condition ever; garbage, birdhouses, metal, clothesline, as well as compost being put in the chipper pile. Council voiced concern but offered no solution other than the risk of losing the chipper program.

POLICE REPORT: Chief Neumann provided the September activity log. Chief spoke of credit card fraud taking place in Whitman County. He advises the public to check charges on credit card statement and work with your provider. By law, www.annualcreditreport.com provides a free annual credit report.

Reserve Officer Snead will be volunteering his time to work Haunted Palouse.

NEW BUSINESS:
Request for approval to purchase tractor mower with attachments: Marc would like to get bids to replace the old John Deere mower. The JD is 5 or 6 years old and it’s showing it’s age and wear. The attachments are worn out also. The JD is used for plowing snow, aerating, pulling fertilizer spreader, picking up leaves, and some mowing. They’re hoping to trade it in but it won’t be worth much with 1,500+ hours on it. One vendor has a used one for $4000 with 700+ hours on it. This would be for the mower only, not attachments. A new one is approximately $7500 + tax with new snow blade and attachments and a warranty. Attachments from the old JD won’t fit on the new one. Councilmember Milano MOVED to approve the purchase of a new tractor mower with attachments. Councilmember Snook seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

Ordinance No. 892: Budget Amendment: Mayor read aloud the ordinance in its entirety. Amending Fund 304 Vehicle & Equipment Reserve and Fund 404 Sewer Fund. Fund 304 proposed expenditures include the purchase of two new tires for the backhoe; complete rebuild of sander which was purchased in 1990; and purchase of new mower. Fund 404 Sewer expenditures include increasing line items closer to actual expenditures, and adding a line for professional engineering services for dye testing at the river. Councilmember Milano MOVED to pass ordinance No 892. Councilmember Jones seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

Approval for joint funding agreement for river gauge: The annual contract for joint funding for the river gauge under the Potlatch Bridge is up for renewal. This agreement is split with U.S. Dept. of the Interior. Anyone can access the data from the river gauge off the internet. The city started doing this in about 1997, the year after the flood. It gives our city approximately 6 – 8 hours warning on the height and flow of the river. Operation and maintenance of the gauge is contingent upon our sharing the costs. This contract is $1,475. Councilmember Floyd MOVED to authorize the Mayor to sign the agreement with the US Dept. of Interior for the Palouse River gauge. Councilmember Snook seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS:

Streets & Sidewalks-Cecil Floyd, Chair: Councilmember Floyd asked why the STOP legend for Bridge & Main St. hasn’t been installed. It was decided that it would be better to install the legend in the spring, giving it a longer life. Currently, the STOP painted on by PW is still bright and is in the same spot where the new one would be installed. Weather permitting, the company is going to apply a test strip next week to demonstrate how well it holds up.

Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair: Continuing to work on the WSP. Prepared preliminary report for the Planning Commission (PC). We’re currently defining our RSA (retail service area). Our existing service area (ESA) is anyone within the city limits including approximately 27 out of city limit hookups, which were grandfathered in 1972 when we adopted PMC 13.08.080. Since 1972 there have been no outside city limits water hookups approved. Our RSA will define the area where we as a city have a duty to serve. All costs of extensions would still be paid by the developer. A few of the options to be considered are 1) revise current city code and allow water connections outside city limits or 2) Allow extension outside C/L and require an annexation. The Water Extension Policy and city code will be reviewed. This is a multi-level thought process. If we annex in areas that want to take advantage of our RSA, it is advantageous to our tax base. There are both advantages and disadvantages to increasing our RSA and they will take careful consideration.

Reminder that tomorrow is WA Public Records and Law Forum in Pullman. Connie will be on the panel. Sponsored by League for Women Voters and also the WA Coalition for Open Govt. Currently 38 states have laws that address excessive public records requests; WA does not.

Finance, Property, & Equipment-Mike Milano, Chair: Ongoing budget conversations with staff about costs. We will be looking at revenue sources. Preliminary numbers are available to council for review. An updated BIAS software version is necessary and will cost $2,000, ½ paid in 2012 and ½ paid in 2013. Police Car and Police Equipment funds will be consolidated to simplify accounting and allow more flexibility. The SAO is working with Joyce on restructuring our funds with the chart of accounts to meet current state code. It was suggested that we open a separate special revenue fund to receipt REET money. A new law goes into effect 7/2012 redefining the use of REET money. Discussion ensued about various funds and how they are holding up through the economy. We are currently earning 1/3 of 1% in interest which is really hurting us. For example, the endowment fund used to make between $5,000 & $6,000 a year for cemetery operating, and now it makes around $300. Over the course of the last three years, the city is painfully feeling the effects. City assistance income from the state continues to decrease. All indications are that the state must continue to make cuts.

MAYOR’S REPORT:
Liquor Control Board, request for Bank Left Gallery liquor license renewal. No objections.

Mayor attended AWC meeting in Pullman. Grim news from AWC regarding revenue for the state, which could continues for a few more years.

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

ADJOURN: Councilmember Jones MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:23 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:
Claim Paid Ck. No. 3483 $ 1,758.75
Payroll Paid Ck. No. 3484-3503 & EFT $43,333.82
VOIDED Ck. No. 3504
Claims Paid Ck. No. 3505-3531 & EFT $38,945.74

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________