Final Public Hearing for 2013 Budget
Followed by Regular Council Meeting
November 27, 2012
CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:00 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; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Public present: Jerry Standar; Darlene Brantner; Garth Meyer; Herb Greenwalt.
PUBLIC HEARING: Opened hearing at 7:01.
Palouse resident Darlene Brantner is still concerned about cutting the cemetery budget. To her the cemetery is about respect and she’s seen what can happen when cemeteries are neglected. The city keeps adding additional things for maintenance. She suggested maybe having the police officers help with shoveling snow, putting up flags, etc. Palouse resident Jerry Standar reinforced Mrs. Brantner’s thoughts. The cemetery is important. Councilmember Floyd agreed that thinking outside the box with how we use our personnel would be a good idea.
Councilmember Jones wondered why the city is cutting 25% off the lowest paid police officer instead of 10% off each officer, grossing more savings, and having less of a negative effect on one man.
Councilmember Newman stated we’re projecting an average annual budget deficit of $19,000 between the years 2009 through 2013. If we continue that trend, that puts us at bankruptcy in the next 2.5 years. She had a meeting with Public Works Supt. Griffin to discuss infrastructure. Even if we increase our ending balance for 2013 we won’t be putting into reserves any money from the general fund for equipment improvements. In addition, streets and sidewalks will be left with $400. We have significant infrastructure that need repair and replacement. In order to meet these requirements, not only must we operate with a balanced budget, we need to be saving money to reserves. Our large city dump truck is a 1973, needs to be replaced in 1 to 5 years; old Dodge 1990 truck for snow plowing, etc. needs to be replaced in 1 to 5 years; the backhoe needs to be rebuilt, spending several hours each month keeping it running, needs replacement in 1 to 5 years; plow attachment needs to be replaced in the next 1 to 3 years; the PW shop- storage and shop space is at a minimum and needed. It’s estimated we need $70,000 to $90,000 in reserves to do that and every year we put it off, the more it costs in the long run.
Councilmember Jones thinks the city should use the reserves instead of making drastic cuts; that’s what the reserves are for, to bail us out of tough times. There was much discussion regarding the purpose of reserves.
CLOSE PUBLIC HEARING at 7:22 pm
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Newman amended the minutes to include some budget numbers she presented as part of her report as follows: Total General Fund Budget Deficit for 2009-2012 is $81,785; Total Projected General Fund Budget Deficit for 2009-2013 is $97,010; Average Projected Annual Budget Deficit for 2009-2013 is $19,406. Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of November 13, 2012 as amended. Councilmember Floyd seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Superintendent Griffin submitted a written report. The city had a compliance inspection from L & I. The biggest fix is a catwalk to be built at the shop. Nothing is expensive, just a few little things. The main focus was on updating our accident prevention program and safety manual and meeting compliance of the OSHA 300 rules for record keeping.
The city was awarded a $46,000 TIB grant to chip seal F Street, Union Street, and H Street next summer. This is 100% funded. No matching funds required from city.
POLICE REPORT: Along with routine patrols in Palouse and Garfield, last week PD had a death investigation. It was ruled an accidental death. Over Thanksgiving weekend they responded to a domestic assault. Apple Cup was Friday, creating extra traffic but all went well. Doing some Concealed Pistol Licenses.
It was pointed out that when traffic violations are written in Palouse, not a penny comes to Palouse. That revenue goes directly to the county to fund the court and judicial system because they handle our cases through an Interlocal agreement. Connie requested occasional lists of traffic tickets, routine stops and code enforcement by the Palouse PD. Chief Neumann will work on that.
JFB REPORT: Fire Chief reported 31 calls YTD, 6 in October. The FD is working on a Dept. of Natural Resources grant application in the amount of $13,313 for wildland gear. If it comes through, the match would be 50% split with rural fire. Approximately $4,300 will be expended for training and travel for fire department this year. Pat Wilkins, a retired Pullman Fire Chief recently passed away; he will be missed.
EMS had 6 calls in October, three were transport, three non-transports. EMS personnel have been involved in epi-training (allergic reaction). There are new state rules allowing them to do intra-muscle injections which will be very beneficial if responding to allergic reaction calls. Their main piece of equipment for purchase in the next few years is a 12-lead heart monitor which is becoming standard equipment for most departments. They cost in the range of $30,000 new. They will have fundraisers over the next five or so years to raise money for that. Annie Pillers is now qualified as a senior EMT instructor.
2013 budget discussions: recap: We’ve made approximately $29,000 in budget cuts: cutting an officer to 75%, changing health insurance provider; two employees switched to spouses’ insurance plan; cell phone policy change; limiting PW overtime to emergencies and essential services; increased our property and liability insurance deductible to $1,000. For 2013, we’re going to reduce the energy usage at Heritage Park by closing for winter months; going to send notice to CIAW that we’re going to shop around for other insurance providers. Also, remember that the required state audits are once every three years so the $6,000 budgeted in 2013 for the state audit won’t be necessary in 2014 and 2015. On the revenue side, we will surplus the Harley and those funds will go into the PD vehicle and equipment fund. 100% of the Garfield police contract will go into the CE fund. Based on the newest numbers, we should end 2013 with approximately $7,000 more than what we start the year with.
Much discussion continued. In the last three council meetings we’ve taken a budget deficit of $37,000 in the general fund to a budget deficit of $11,000 which will likely end 2013 with $7,000 more than it started with. Some of the Councilmembers were still concerned that we are budgeting to spend $11,000 of our reserve balance and that budget reductions still need to be made. C-T Beeson pointed out examples of line items that must be budgeted the full amount even though the actual expenditure will come in lower than budget.
Councilmembers want more discussion before deciding to close the Heritage Park restrooms for the winter. There were mixed thoughts on the idea; some think the local businesses will take the brunt of it; however some believe that forcing people to go into businesses is potential revenue for those businesses. Councilmember Newman sees this cut as tangible evidence of our budget plight. Perhaps the city could rent a porta-potty service for Heritage Park, thus still providing restrooms but not expending money on heating, supplies, and man hours.
Much discussion ensued regarding the budget. Council was divided as to the budget interpretations. Mayor Echanove advised council to wait for the actual numbers, come Jan. 16th then go from there. Budget amendments can be made if necessary.
Councilmember Jones MOVED to instruct Joyce to prepare the budget as written. Councilmember Ossinger seconded. Discussion continued. C-T Beeson pointed out to council that each week that passes, the 2012 numbers become more actual (as opposed to projections). You’re not voting on the exact numbers in front of you tonight, but rather instructing her to prepare the budget in the form of an ordinance that will be voted on at the next meeting. The numbers may change as information continues to come in. Councilmember Newman voted nay. Motion carried.
Revised employee cell phone policy: Mayor read aloud the policy in its entirety. Councilmember Floyd MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Newman, to adopt the cell phone policy as outlined. Councilmember Webb voted nay. Motion carried.
Resolution 2012-09: Health/Dental Insurance Benefits Policy: Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety. This was adopted by Resolution 2012-08 at last council meeting but had to be amended to reflect contribution of this benefit to the employees HRA VEBA account . Councilmember Jones MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Wekenman, to adopt Resolution 2012-09, which supersedes Resolution 2012-08. Motion carried unanimously.
Resolution 2012-10: setting the hours of third Police Officer position at 75% Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety. Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt resolution 2012-10. Councilmember Ossinger seconded. Councilmember Jones voted nay. Motion carried.
Resolution 2012-11: 2013 Salary Schedule: Mayor read aloud the amended portions of the salary schedule: minimum wage, cell phone reimbursement, and third police officer’s salary. Councilmember Newman MOVED to adopt Resolution 2012-11. Councilmember Wekenman seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
Streets & Sidewalks-Cecil Floyd, Chair: TIB awarded Palouse with the opportunity to be a pilot city for a grant to convert all our street lights to the LED technology. Once complete, the energy cost savings should be about 70%. Councilmember Floyd and Mayor Echanove are meeting with Avista and TIB tomorrow and will know more for next meeting. Commissioner Partch was credited for his work in helping to make this happen for Palouse. Palouse is the only city on the east side of the state that was chosen as one of seven pilot cities.
Personnel & Pool-Tim Jones, Chair:
Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair:
Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings-Alison Webb. Chair:
Policy & Administration-Bo Ossinger, Chair:
Police, Fire, & Safety-Rick Wekenman, Chair:
Finance, Property, & Equipment-Norm Schorzman, Chair:
MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor read aloud a letter from Sharon Tharp thanking the Public Works Department for their hard work.
Councilmember Floyd MOVED to put the budget process, education, and potential solutions on the February 2013 council agenda. Seconded by Councilmember Webb. Motion carried unanimously.
Councilmember Floyd MOVED to cancel the second council meeting in December which falls on the 25th. Seconded by Councilmember Newman. Motion carried unanimously.
ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS: Councilmember Newman MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
ADJOURN: Councilmember Jones MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Schorzman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 9:35 PM.
The following checks are approved for payment:
Claims Paid, November 27, 2012. Ck. #4469-4498 $5,666.82
APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________