Regular Council Meeting
December 11, 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; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson and Police Officer Brian Dentler. Public present: Bev Pearce and Garth Meyer.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Ossinger MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of November 27, 2012, as written. Councilmember Jones seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Superintendent Griffin reported regular fall maintenance cleaning storm drains, culverts and leaves. They also painted Heritage Park restrooms and installed a stairway to the storage loft at the shop.
POLICE REPORT: Officer Dentler reported only one accident recently. They have all been participating in training classes to keep current.
Ordinance No. 901: Amending 2012 Budget for purchase of capital equipment for the sewer plant. Supt. Griffin explained that the automatic rake and screen assembly at the sewer plant needs to be rebuilt. The Clerk explained that since this is happening at the end of the year, it is uncertain if this will be invoiced in 2012 or 2013. Given this uncertainty, this amendment will be for 2012 and there is also a budget line in the proposed 2013 budget. The Mayor read aloud the ordinance in its entirety. Councilmember Newman MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Schorzman, to adopt Ordinance No. 901. Motion carried unanimously.
Ordinance No. 902: Adopting 2013 City of Palouse Budget and Budget Message. Councilmember Jones MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Schorzman, to suspend the rule to read the ordinance in its entirety. Motion carried unanimously. The Mayor read the ordinance aloud by title and summary only. He then summarized the budget message. Councilmember Jones MOVED to adopt Ordinance No 902 – City of Palouse 2013 Budget. Councilmember Schorzman seconded. Discussion: The Clerk was asked what basic changes were made to the budget since the last meeting. She explained that some numbers were adjusted based on actual expenditures and another month of payroll since the last meeting. Was able to budget closer to where the actual numbers may come in. The 2013 estimated beginning balance in the general fund Current Expense is $50,500 and the estimated ending balance is $42,240. Councilmember Newman voted nay. Motion carried.
Policy & Administration-Bo Ossinger, Chair: Councilmember Ossinger reported that he took the current draft ordinance regulating the keeping of chickens to committee. Based on negative reactions, he has chosen to withdraw this version and asked that it go back to committee under the direction of Councilmember Floyd. It will go back to committee.
Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair: Councilmember Newman reported that the Water/Sewer committee would support an amendment to the 2013 budget if Dwayne finds a backhoe that fits his needs. Councilmember Newman reported that there has been a citizen complaint that the Water System Plan was not properly presented to the public for comment. Newman assured all that the WSP has gone through the public comment period and it is in the hands of the Dept. of Health for their second review. Once approved by DOH it will be presented to council to be adopted.
OPEN FORUM: Bev Pearce addressed council, representing the Palouse Chamber of Commerce. After seeing discussion in the minutes of closing the Heritage Park (HP) restrooms for 3 or 4 of the coldest months, the Chamber became concerned. The Chamber considers HP to be a vital service for our businesses. Bev was asked by the Chamber to ask council that if they came up with $1,500 to off-set costs, would council consider keeping it open. The estimated cost per winter month is approximately $500 which includes energy, labor and paper products. Councilmember Wekenman said this should cover the cost for keeping HP open for Jan, Feb and March 2013. With a positive reaction from council, Bev said she would take this back to the Chamber for discussion.
Councilmember Floyd asked the Mayor if the community Brownfields committee is active yet. The Mayor outlined progress with the Brownfields project – the cleanup phase was just completed, not all the bills have been paid yet; the monitoring wells were installed and the site must be monitored for at least one year, with samples taken quarterly by MFA. This property will be ready for the re-use phase and integrated back into the community as an asset. After questions and discussion, it was determined that the council finance committee could work with the citizen’s group to get the word out about this property. The Port would also be a great player in the re-use phase. Supt. Griffin asked about how the testing will be done. MFA will conduct the tests for one year and they would like to show city staff how it is done in case additional testing is required. If it is required, the City may do the testing for 2014 and beyond or hire it done.
The Mayor read aloud a letter from Jim Farr asking for answers to 3 questions –
What are the current job descriptions of the treasurer and deputy clerk regarding financial duties?
Mayor – Their job descriptions are on file; in the Palouse Municipal Code (PMC) and directed by RCW.
What are the official duties of the finance committee, including over-sight?
Mayor – Written in code PMC 2.08.030 (B)
For the year 2011 and 2012, who were the members of the finance committee? When did their terms begin and end?
City staff will put together a complete listing.
Two suggestions and one opinion were offered by Mr. Farr – Restore the Treasurer’s job back to an officially elected position; and add citizen over-sight to the finance committee similar to the water and sewer committee’s Doug Wilcox (citizen at large). He believes “the size of the police department should be reduced to one officer, saving the city big money. The county could pick up the slack along with the extra funding for real law enforcement needs.” Complete answers will go out to Mr. Farr for his 3 questions.
MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor asked council to consider committee chair and assignments for 2013.
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.
ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS: Councilmember Jones MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed. Councilmember Schorzman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
ADJOURN: Councilmember Newman MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Schorzman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:42 PM.
The following checks are approved for payment:
Payroll Paid, November 30, 2012 Ck. #4499 – 4521 & EFT $40,760.60
Claims Paid, December 12, 2012 Ck. #4522 – 4559 & EFT $19,316.18
APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________