Month: October 2012

October 23, 2012

October 23, 2012

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

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Cecil Floyd, Tim Jones; Connie Newman, Bo Ossinger; Norm Schorzman; Alison Webb; Rick Wekenman. Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Officer Joe Merry; Public Works Assistant Marc Arrasmith; City Attorney Stephen Bishop (7:29 pm); Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Public present: Garth Meyer; Heather McGehee.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of October 9, 2012. Councilmember Newman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

DG submitted a written report. Park restrooms aren’t yet locked up. No Haunted Palouse problems. We got two bids to replace the damaged sidewalk at the Brownfields site: Woltering Construction bid was $3,773.00. Ace Elliott bid was $1,074.77. We accepted Ace Elliott’s bid. They will start next week.

There was a walk-through of the Brownsfield project last week; haven’t received the report yet but everything seems to be okay.

POLICE REPORT: We are still working with the Police, Fire, & Safety committee on the issue of poultry in city limits. First weekend of Haunted Palouse went well. The PD has had a few drug cases in Garfield lately.

3rd Quarter Treasurer’s Report. Clerk-Treasurer Beeson is out sick so we will discuss at next meeting.

2013 Budget Review: Council is looking at ways to cut approximately $37,000 from the 2013 budget. Much discussion ensued…..

We’ve looked at cutting line items, reducing this and that, pay cuts instead of pay raises, and we’re still paying for our deficit out of the reserve. One of the issues we’re facing is we do not have a functioning Finance Committee. Our chair person hasn’t had a meeting.

One of the things looked at is to change insurance coverage; Joyce has estimated a savings of $12,000/year by switching to a group health plan. Two staff members (Jerry and Marc) may drop out of the city plan and go on their spouse’s plan; the trade-off would be the city would have to pay the difference that they would have to pay to join their spouse’s plan but there would still be a net savings. That savings would be in addition to the $12,000 savings.

Streets budget is way down which means not being able to provide adequate services to the city. We’ve been balancing our budget by using our reserves. Our infrastructure is important enough that we need to be putting money back into our reserve. What services can we live without? Councilmember Floyd did some research of local communities similar in size to Palouse: Tekoa contracts with the Whitman County Sheriff’s Department and gets 20 hours a week of service for $45,000 a year, plus they contract for $500/month for code enforcement. Rosalia pays one officer for 45 hours a week; any calls during officer’s off-duty hours are handled by the sheriff’s department, and code enforcement issues have to be handled during officer’s hours. Rosalia is hurting financially so they’re thinking about floating a levy and letting the taxpayers decide if they want a police department. Oakesdale ran a law enforcement levy one year – there was community outcry for law enforcement so Oakesdale council said if you want it, vote for it.

Palouse pays approx. $135,000 for Chief and two officers’ salaries ($177,000 with benefits). There are options: get rid of the department and contract with the sheriff’s office; drop one officer; drop two officers; etc. The police services for Garfield contract can be dropped at any time. Councilmember Floyd is proposing discussing some of these options as a way to balance our budget and put money back in our reserves.

At the Police, Fire, and Safety meeting Chief Neumann proposed in lieu of the PD going from three-man to two-man, instead drop deputy clerk from ¾ time to ½ time, drop Marc Arrasmith from full-time to ¾ time, and drop one officer from full-time to ¾ time.

Supt. Griffin pointed out that the city has added something every year that adds to their workload: a compost facility, RV park, nature walk, chipper pile, etc. Public Works is getting asked to do more and more with less help and less money. Marc Arrasmith was asked what can be done to save money at the cemetery. We’re budgeting $15,000 for cemetery next year, up from $10,000 last year. Marc said he’s cut everything he can except let it dry up. He has cut way back on fertilizer and on watering.

It was pointed out that if Palouse went to contracting with the Sheriff’s Office for 20 hours a week, when someone calls outside of those 20 hours (for something other than a felony), they don’t respond. The majority of our calls wouldn’t get responses (barking dogs, squealing tires in the night, chickens, etc.).

There is a lot of discussion to be had and we’re a long ways from making decisions. We need to be very careful with these broad cuts. The PD is the only department in Palouse that has the ability to earn us money (Garfield contract is a break even deal). There is an outside chance that another town within a reasonable driving distance might want to participate in the program similar to Garfield.

We only have four council meetings to discuss this. We need to meet and do research. Explore every possible option. Over the last five years, we spent more than we made. Looking at that trend and the revenue trends coming from the state, the bottom line is balancing the budget without taking more from reserves. The trend will have us starting with a deficit in three years. All these numbers are based on our levies passing; if they don’t pass, things will be much worse. Councilmember Newman feels like the Public Works dept has been as frugal as possible. She also wants to see the 3% pay-cuts returned.

Councilmember Jones inquired about the 1% property tax cap and if it can be upped. Atty. Bishop explained it can be upped by the citizens by local vote with a supermajority required.

There will be compromises; the economy isn’t what it was. Every agency across the state is cutting.

Mayor reminded council to not just look at cutting expenditures but increasing revenues, particularly in our downtown.
Our total long term debt is less than $175,000. The well will be paid off in 2017, and the sewer plant in two years. Palouse doesn’t carry a lot of debt which is great.


Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair: Committee met. Looking at the water and sewer rates. Rates were raised in Feb. 2011. Committee is considering a 1% increase to sewer rate, approximately $.24 cents additional per month. Not looking at a water rate increase at this time, partly because of some of the debt we’ll be paying off in the next couple years.

Police, Fire, & Safety-Rick Wekenman, Chair: Met briefly. Primarily to discuss poultry issue. Will be handed to policy committee to finalize draft.

Policy & Administration-Bo Ossinger, Chair: Policy committee will be taking over the poultry issue. Conditional use permits will still be required to own poultry within city limits. And minimum setbacks will be required as well.

Streets & Sidewalks-Cecil Floyd, Chair: Discussed above.
Personnel & Pool-Tim Jones, Chair:
Finance, Property, & Equipment-Norm Schorzman, Chair:
Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings-Alison Webb. Chair:

Bank Left Gallery liquor license renewal. No objections from PD or council.

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

ADJOURN: Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:34 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:
Claims Paid Ck. #4391-4403 $2,402.30

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________

October 9, 2012

October 9, 2012

CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:11 PM.

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Cecil Floyd; Connie Newman; Bo Ossinger; Norm Schorzman. Absent: Tim Jones, Alison Webb, and Rick Wekenman. Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; & Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson. Public present: Angela Taylor, Taylor Engineering and Garth Meyer, Gazette. Councilmember Newman MOVED to excuse the absence of the three not present. Councilmember Floyd seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Newman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of September 25, 2012. Councilmember Floyd seconded the motion. After discussion, the motion carried unanimously. Discussion on minutes continued with concerns of releasing the draft minutes to the public. Councilmember Floyd MOVED to not send draft minutes out to the public. Councilmember Newman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair: Angela Taylor, Taylor Engineering was introduced. Angela has been working with the city on the Water System Plan (WSP). Councilmember Newman updated council on progress made – the committee met and reviewed both the Water Extension Policy to confirm that it is consistent with the WSP. The Mayor signed off on the Local Government Consistency Review Checklist for DOH. The Planning Commission also signed the checklist that the WSP is consistent with adopted land use and zoning codes. The public meeting for community input and questions was held prior to tonight’s council meeting. November 3rd is the deadline to have the WSP back to DOH for their 2nd review. They can take up to 90 days for their review. The WSP will come back to council in February, 2013. Councilmember Floyd asked about any action items that may result from the adoption of the WSP. The capital improvement items listed in Chapter 8 of the plan will be done as needed and funding is secured. This is a true working document and will be helpful now and in the future.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Supt. Griffin submitted a written report. In addition, they will be doing a water main repair along Whitman Street. The city will work off the Small Works Roster to select a contractor to rebuild/repair the sidewalk sections which were damaged in front of the Brownfield site. This work will be paid through the grants.

POLICE REPORT: Chief Neumann submitted PD activity for September. The WSU traffic at the intersection was more closely managed and patrolled to allow safer pedestrian use.

2013 Budget Review: At the last meeting Current Expense and the Cemetery funds were discussed. Mayor Echanove read from a comparative spreadsheet showing 2011 actual activity, 2012 budget and the proposed draft 2013 budget. All the funds were gone through line-by-line with some discussion. The mayor explained that expenses are still outpacing revenue. The committees will meet to discuss what can be done to fill this gap. The funds most affected are Current Expense, Street Fund and the Cemetery Fund.

Streets & Sidewalks-Cecil Floyd, Chair: The committee is still reviewing the agreement with the Palouse Tavern for use of the right-of-way.

Councilmember Floyd read the Planning Commission (PC) minutes of Sept. 14 concerning their discussion of the keeping of chickens and roosters as it pertains to Title 17 – Zoning. The PC is leaning in the direction of leaving the zoning code as written – setbacks of chicken coops are the same as any structure and a conditional use must by applied for to have poultry. Councilmember Newman pointed out that unlike other animals; there are no conditions in the code for the keeping of poultry. Discussion continued about setting conditions such as a maximum number of both chickens and roosters and adding language for violations as there is for dogs. Perhaps this language should be part of Title 6-Animals rather than Title 17-zoning. This will go to the Police, Fire & Safety and also the Policy committees for further review.

Councilmember Floyd asked for the definitions of the Ex-officio positions on the PC. Mayor Echanove said he would look into it.

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

ADJOURN: Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Newman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:52 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:
Payroll Paid, Sept. 28, 2012. Ck. #4344-4363 & EFT $43,428.22
Claims Paid, Oct. 10, 2012. Ck. #4364-4390 & EFT $23,198.78

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________

October 8, 2013

Palouse City Council
Regular Council Meeting
October 8, 2013

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

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Senja Estes; Tim Jones; Connie Newman, Bo Ossinger; Norm Schorzman; Rick Wekenman. Absent: Alison Webb. Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Public present: Aaron Flansburg; Lindsey Hylton; Mary Estes.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Amend the minutes as follows: under open forum, clarify that it was Kelly Dow who said “the significance this petition shows is that there is overwhelming proof that not everyone is on board with locating the skatepark in the Palouse Park.” Councilmember Newman MOVED to adopt the amended minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of September 10, 2013. Councilmember Estes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Supt Griffin submitted a written report. They finished the paving on Wall Street which included replacing 500’ feet of sewer main with all kinds of problems. At the PCC they asphalted around the catch basin where there have been problems in the parking lot.

The 2004, white, Ford 1-ton service pickup needs some major repairs. The estimate is $3,000 to fix. It’s also the truck we use for snow-plowing. A new, rebuilt engine would cost $10,000-$12,000 and it wouldn’t be worth it putting that much money into that vehicle. Councilmember Newman MOVED to authorize the repair of the pickup for $2,975 + tax from Jess Ford. Councilmember Wekenman seconded. Councilmember Wekenman inquired when we should think about replacing this vehicle since it takes such a beating. Motion carried unanimously.

Ongoing nuisance cleanups. Mohr Street house owners are trying to be more neighborly by securing the siding and securing the door. We’re still trying to coordinate to have it recycled.

Had several calls in regard to the train causing a traffic delay. It lasted about 35 minutes. Chief Neumann gave the RR contact numbers to the complainants. The train delay was a violation of our local code which allows a 10 minute delay, which is in line with the state. Half our community was/is cut off when this happens. City Hall will put out the contact phone numbers for the public so they can call. [Ask for Les or Stan at 509-523-4445; 208-553-6196; or 208-290-8148; 302 N. Mill, Colfax, WA 99111].

Geared up for Haunted Palouse. We’ll have help from reserve officer Snead.

Still working on the ATV/ORV ordinance.

Resolution No. 2013-09: accepting terms of AWC EBT Interlocal Agreement: This was read in its entirety at last council meeting and tabled for more information until tonight’s council meeting. The questions that council had were answered by AWC – A 6 month notice would have to be given to AWC in order to withdraw; they considered themselves to be fully funded based on projections even for catastrophic events. Also, we sent it to Atty. Bishop and he said it looked fine. Councilmember Jones MOVED to adopt Resolution No. 2013-09, seconded by Councilmember Schorzman. There are no changes to employees’ coverage with this resolution. Motion carried unanimously.

Ordinance No. 906: Budget amendment to Cemetery and Sewer Capital Improvement: Mayor read aloud the ordinance in its entirety. Cemetery’s hours came in a little higher than anticipated so we are increasing the fund budget by $500. For Sewer Capital Improvement, we went over budget. PW had so many problems on the Wall Street project that the estimated hours it would take to compete was not enough. So we are increasing the fund budget by $2,500. Discussion ensued. Mayor read the ordinance aloud again by title and number only. Councilmember Jones MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Newman, to adopt Ordinance No. 906.

Finance, Property, & Equipment-Tim Jones, Chair: Councilmember Jones MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Schorzman to adopt the Third Quarter 2013 Financial Report. CE is quite low because we’re awaiting grant payments and our second half property tax income. There is concern that we are budgeting the cemetery fund so close. Council reviewed and discussed the preliminary budget for the enterprise funds – Water and Sewer.

The 2014 budget projections for Water and Sewer:
Water fund is doing well and expected to have a good ending balance. Water is reserving funds for future projects identified in the Water System Plan. Water System Reserve is the fund that built our well. It makes principal and interest for the loan. The final payment will be made in 2019.

The sewer fund is still paying off some debt – 2014 is the last payment for the Breedings Addition interfund loan from the Water fund. Any Breedings connections that come in will go towards that debt, with the balance being paid by sewer operating. The sewer plant loan will be paid off in 2016 so three payments are left and those payments are made through fund 441 Sewer Facility Reserve. Fund 440 Sewer Capital Improvement buys the material and pays salaries for projects and repairs throughout town. It receipted $9,600 for a Breedings sewer connection in 2013 and in the year 2020 all homes there who haven’t hooked up would be required to. Also if any of the homes change hands or their septic system fails they would be required to hook up to the sewer system. The LOCAL loan for the sewer press has one payment left in 2014. Fund 441 makes the payment for the sludge press and also the payment to the sewer loan upgrade (about 17 years ago; the one that will be paid off in 2016). As far as the state is concerned when the annual report is sent in, we have one sewer fund and one water fund, but for our purposes, we use separate funds by function for budgeting and planning. Motion carried unanimously to accept the third quarter 2013 Treasurer’s report.

Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair:
Policy & Administration-Bo Ossinger, Chair:
Personnel & Pool-Norm Schorzman, Chair:
Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings-Alison Webb. Chair:
Police, Fire, & Safety-Rick Wekenman, Chair:
Streets & Sidewalks-Senja Estes, Chair: Senja, Mayor, and Supt. Griffin are meeting Friday with Avista to discuss the street light project.

Aaron Flansburg for the skatepark project. Based on discussions he has heard/had, there is opposition not to the skatepark but to placing the skatepark in the Hayton Greene park (city park). This led him to investigate alternative sites. Stating that for the project to be successful, we need to come up with a location that pleases the largest number of people. There are two areas of public property he would like to look into. One area is to the north of Main Street between the sewer plant and the park. Aaron’s comment – the space is under-utilized with a walking trail through grass where the original plantings didn’t survive. The second site is on the north side of Whitman Street, below the Public Safety Building. One negative to this sight is it’s somewhat off the beaten path and there are some challenges because of trees and vegetation there. Aaron would like to pursue both of these sights and get public feedback over the next few weeks.

Mary Estes commended Aaron for his efforts and gave him a big hurrah about either of those new locations. She has been opposed to it being at the park, but not opposed to the skatepark. She is also concerned about any insurance costs to the city. Aaron spoke with the city’s insurance provider who said it would be covered under the city’s policy with a “negligible” cost, perhaps about $100.

Councilmember Jones still favors it at the park because he thinks recreational uses belong in the park. But he recognizes that Aaron would meet less opposition if he moves it. Of the two new proposals he prefers the one next to the sewer plant on Main Street. He reminded all that years ago we developed a tennis court off the beaten path and all we hear is that it was a bad location. Therefore, he thinks it would be the same with putting a skatepark on Whitman Street. Councilmember Jones asked council for preliminary approval for the location next to the sewer plant so Aaron doesn’t have to keep resubmitting plans for different sites. Councilmember Wekenman stated that all projects should be scrutinized. Discussion ensued.

Councilmember Newman thinks next to the sewer plant is a win-win for various reasons – Increased visibility for increased usage and police patrols; access to the restrooms; good entrance points and the skatepark could draw more people to the nature trail (goes from sewer plant to the river). She thinks the Whitman Street site has too many drawbacks such as being close to residences.

Chief Neumann doesn’t think Whitman Street is feasible. Regardless of what the neighbor says now, he may not say that next week. However, on Main Street, next to sewer plant, older kids could go to skate park, young kids could go to playground, and mom could watch. And from a policing perspective, it’s much better for patrolling.

Supt. Griffin warned that there are underground utilities on the Main Street site. With fiber optics, natural gas, water, sewer, etc. Councilmember Jones stated that utility location is part of the design process not part of the feasibility. Identify the sight and make the features not damaging to the present utilities. Aaron is going to start by calling for locates at both sites and do a little more groundwork to present to council.

The city received a PRR from Steve McGehee for all of the email the Mayor has sent and received since January 2013.

City Staff (Joyce and Ann) are responsible for retaining all of the Mayor and council’s emails because they are public records. Deputy Clerk Ann is attending a Washington State Archives workshop in Spokane tomorrow on electronic records management.

David Mayhan has filed a lawsuit against the City of Palouse for negligence in the investigation of his son’s death. We have turned it all over to CIAW (our insurance carrier) and we will be meeting with them next week. Everything has been well-documented.

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

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

The following checks are approved for payment:
Payroll Paid 9/30/13 Ck. #5177-5196 & EFT $39,653.56
Claims Paid 10/9/13 Ck. #5197-5220 & EFT $15,344.35

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________