Month: July 2013

July 23, 2013

Palouse City Council
Public Hearing for 2014-2019 Transportation Improvement Plan
Followed by
Regular Council Meeting
July 23, 2013

CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Echanove called the Public Hearing to order at 7:00 PM.

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Senja Estes; Tim Jones; Bo Ossinger; Norm Schorzman; Alison Webb; Rick Wekenman. Absent: Connie Newman. Councilmember Webb MOVED to excuse Councilmember Newman’s absence. Councilmember Jones seconded and the motion carried unanimously. Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Public present: Liz Rousseau, Heidi Keen, Heather McGehee.

PUBLIC HEARING: 2014-2019 Six-year Transportation Improvement Plan. No comments. Public Hearing closed at 7:03 pm.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Wekenman requested the minutes be amended under Public Hearing third paragraph replace Whitman County with Rural Fire District 4 residents. Councilmember Newman submitted in an email for the minutes to reflect that Norm’s absence was not excused at last council meeting – After Allow Payment of the Bills – With no motion to excuse tonight’s absence of Councilmember Schorzman, his absence is considered unexcused. Councilmember Jones MOVED to adopt the amended minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of July 9, 2013 as amended. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:
The county chip sealed some city roads as part of a TIB project.
Rebuilt and replaced the storm drain by the grain growers.
The new variable frequency drive is working fine and a three year warranty will be purchased
The gravel roads were oiled. There were a few places that needed touched up. It’s holding up pretty well. It’s the same material as last year.

POLICE REPORT: A local business was burglarized with a substantial amount of money taken. The suspect made his way to Spokane, was apprehended and transferred to us. He spent the weekend in jail. There’s a phone scam going around Palouse; if companies are contacting you for payment and requesting a money order, it’s a scam. Legitimate companies don’t require immediate payment with money orders. Music Festival is this Saturday. Beer garden will be fenced in as usual, in the same vicinity.

2nd Quarter Treasurer’s Report: C-T Beeson submitted a written report and asked for questions or concerns. Councilmember Jones MOVED to accept the 2nd Quarter Treasurer’s Report. Councilmember Schorzman seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

JFB REPORT: There’s a group called Emergency Services of Palouse which is a non-profit branch of the Palouse Fire/EMS which was formed to receive donations. Funds are used to buy necessary equipment they might not otherwise be able to afford. They’re required to meet once a year so we had that meeting with reelection of officers.

In JFB meeting, financially things are going well. The average annual EMS operating line is $17,500/yr; Fire is $23,500/year. Considering the great level of service we have here, that’s impressive. There will be some changes in the line items in the EMS budget to satisfy the state auditor requirements. There was 1 fire call in June, 11 ytd. We had some onsite rescue training at the grain grower’s facility. Had a quick rundown on the new wildland firefighting gear we’ve obtained. The 12 SCBA we have now will be outdated and required to be replaced in 2017. Chief Bagott is estimating that when they have to be replaced, it will cost about $80,000 for 10. These are the breathing packs/tanks that allow fire personnel to enter a burning building and rescue people. That’s one of the reasons we’re looking at the levy lid lift.

On the EMS end of things, 3 calls in June, 25 ytd. They had their annual practice with the lifeguard staff at the Palouse Pool. Took a tour around Kamiak Butte with the park ranger to determine some of the back roads to learn quickest driving access for emergencies.

OLD BUSINESS:
Resolution No. 2013-05 – A request to the Whitman County Auditor to place on the November 5, 2013, ballot a proposition authorizing the city to increase the regular property tax levy limit established in RCW 84.55. Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety. The city’s regular property tax levy base shall be increased permanently by $0.61 per $1,000 of assessed value for collection in 2014. Councilmember Jones MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Ossinger to adopt Resolution No. 2013-05. Motion carried unanimously.

Resolution No. 2013-06 – A request to the Whitman County Auditor to place on the November 5, 2013, ballot a proposition setting a one year excess property tax levy which will be used for street improvements and street oiling. Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety. Imposes an excess property tax levy upon all taxable property within the city in the amount of $44,000, an estimated $0.911 per $1,000 of assessed value in the year 2013, for collection in 2014. This is a 10% increase from last year. Councilmember Jones MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Webb, to adopt Resolution No. 2013-06. Motion carried unanimously.

Resolution No. 2013-07 – A request to the Whitman County Auditor to place on the November 5, 2013, ballot a proposition setting a one year excess property tax levy which will be used for operation and maintenance of the swimming pool. Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety. Imposes an excess property tax levy upon all taxable property within the city in the amount of $28,000, an estimated $0.580 per $1,000 of assessed value in the year 2013, for collection in 2014. Councilmember Webb MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Jones, to adopt Resolution No. 2013-07. Motion carried unanimously.

Resolution No. 2013-08 – Adopting the 2014-2019 Six-year Transportation Improvement Plan. Supt.Griffin summarized the plan: 1. Wall Street Reconstruction from Union St. to Elmo St.; 2. Chipseal Fairview Ave. from Main St. to east city limits; 3. West Whitman Reconstruction from Bridge St. to Mill St.; 4. West Whitman & Fir St. Reconstruction, from Mill St. to Illinois St.; 5. Wall St. #2 Reconstruction from Elmo St. to Park St.; 6. Culton St. Reconstruction from Park St. to Holyoke St.; 7. Park St. Reconstruction from Holyoke St. to Wiley St. Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety. Councilmember Jones MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Wekenman to adopt Resolution No. 2013-08. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS:
Finance, Property, & Equipment-Tim Jones, Chair:
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: Received a call from a resident about the Main Street intersection. Drivers facing east or west cannot see the traffic coming off the bridge without having to pull forward from the stop sign. Also, when cars are parked there, kids in the crosswalk cannot be seen. This has been an ongoing concern for years. It’s a state highway so a four-way stop isn’t allowed. The state always says “provide us with some accident data” and we haven’t been able to provide them with more than one or two accidents. Until there’s hard data to support change there, the state isn’t likely to get on board. Chief Neumann thinks yellow curbing in some spots might help so that people don’t park there thus blocking the view.

OPEN FORUM:
Heidi Keen: Here for annual approval for Barley Bar Relay during Palouse Day. This year it will be on the same side of the street as tavern so there won’t be any street crossings. The proposal is to create a second section to the tavern’s beer garden just for the duration of the event and only to be used by the registered runners. Councilmember Webb MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Ossinger, to grant the temporary right to use part of Beach Street for the Barley Bar Relay during Palouse Day. This is a fundraiser for the PCC. Motion carried unanimously.

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 Jones MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Estes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:06 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:
Claims Paid Ck. #5008 – 5028 & EFT $28,642.97

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________

July 9, 2013

Palouse City Council
Public Hearing &
Regular Council Meeting
July 9, 2013

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

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Senja Estes; Tim Jones; Connie Newman, Bo Ossinger, Rick Wekenman and Alison Webb. Absent: Norm Schorzman. Also present: Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; Public Works Dwayne Griffin and Marc Arrasmith. Public present: Aaron Flansburg, Heather McGehee, Kristin Jones, Heidi Fluegel, Garth Meyer, Katie Cooper, Jens Hegg and Bruce Beeson.

PUBLIC HEARING:
2014 Revenue sources – Mayor Echanove opened the public hearing and recapped council discussion from the last meeting concerning options for 2014 revenue sources. Palouse resident Aaron Flansburg voiced his support of a levy lid lift. With no further comment from the public, Mayor closed the public hearing and opened council discussion.

The Mayor explained how a voter approved levy lid lift works. The general levy in 2013 was approx. $2.49 per $1,000 valuation. The city has the capacity of collecting $3.10 per $1,000. By law, cities are able to increase only 1% of the total amount levied each year without going out to the voters. Over the years, as valuations change and only 1% increases are taken, the rate per thousand continues to drift down below capacity. Currently 65% of the levy stays in the General Fund and 35% is receipted to the Street Fund.

The Joint Fire Board and the Council Police Fire & Safety committee have expressed concern for their aging vehicles and being able to meet equipment safety requirements. They have set a goal of having $150,000 available to them over the next 10 years to meet the capital needs of the fire department. Councilmember Wekenman explained that with this being a joint department, Rural fire district 4 residents would also contribute $150,000 to share in the total costs. Resident Aaron Flansburg asked if this decision would include allocating a certain amount to the fire equipment needs. Mayor explained that the discussion tonight was about revenue, but yes, if a levy lid lift were to be approved by the voters, a resolution could be approved by council dedicating 10% of the general levy to the Fire Equipment Capital fund to meet the goal of the fire department. It would also help the General Fund in supporting current needs such as bringing back the police officer from 75% to 100%, restoring the employee salaries reduced two years ago, maintaining our parks and cemetery, and contributing into our vehicle and equipment needs. Several Councilmembers voiced their support for putting the levy lid lift on the November ballot. Councilmember Ossinger MOVED to proceed with the necessary paperwork to put the levy lid lift on the November ballot. Councilmember Jones seconded the motion. Discussion – Councilmember Wekenman pointed out that a property valued at $100,000 would be levied an additional $60 a year above the 2013 levy amount. The motion carried unanimously.

Voter approved special levies – Discussion began on the Swim pool maintenance & operation special levy for $28,000. Councilmember Jones MOVED to continue with the special pool levy at $28,000. Councilmember Ossinger seconded the motion. Discussion- Councilmember Newman would still like to have community input on charging a fee at the door in addition to the levy. Councilmember Jones said it has been looked into and it seems that the costs associated with collecting a fee may exceed the benefit. Motion carried unanimously.

The special levy for street improvements is currently $40,000. This amount is barely enough to oil the gravel roads, crack seal, and rebuild 1 block a year. Five or six years ago, it would have done 4 blocks. Councilmember Jones said the finance committee met and recommends that the Street levy stay at 40k this year but consider an increase next year. Councilmember Newman would like to see an incremental increase every year to keep up with costs. Mayor Echanove asked if council would consider a 10% increase, bringing it to $44,000. After further discussion, Councilmember Webb MOVED to continue with the special street improvement levy and increase the dollar amount by 10% to $44,000. Councilmember Newman seconded the motion. The motion carried unanimously.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Newman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of June 25, 2013. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Superintendent Griffin reported that the gravel roads were oiled and the TIB pavement preservation project for overlay is underway. The variable frequency drive was installed on the booster pump. The pool is operating fairly well with the new chlorine system installed. The compost area has been busy and going well. The town of Garfield will be borrowing our grader and an hourly rate will be determined.

POLICE REPORT: Chief Neumann reported an increase in traffic issues and domestic calls but for the most part all is fairly normal for this time of year.

OLD BUSINESS:
Discussion of proposed Skatepark and location options – Mayor updated council that since the last meeting, Aaron Flansburg staked out a site between the pool and basketball courts and held a meeting there for discussion and community input. Councilmember Newman said that the skatepark group has been working toward the goal of building a park for 10 years. Her question to council is, if a site is approved, is the city interested in including and maintaining it as a city park? With all the potential location explored throughout town, the best option is the city park. The floor was turned over to Aaron Flansburg. He handed out a site map (attached) that showed two options at the city park. Option # 1 is the site between the pool and bb court. Option # 2 is north of the parking lot and between the walkway to the pool and the play area with the large slide. Aaron has been gathering info on each site – With # 1 an access would need to be maintained to allow Public Works and emergency access to the pool area and also access for Avista Utilities. Option # 2 would be close to the parking lot and the walkway to the pool. Aaron reads several comments from interested people abut the 2 options. The majority of them leaned to site # 1. Excerpts of several letters were read with the majority in support of the skatepark. He also received a pledge from Pepsi through Idaho Beverage to donate $2,000 if it is built in the city park. Council discussion and comments from the public ensued. Outlining some of the points that were made –

Aaron-Maintenance on concrete is rare with the only routine maintenance would be emptying trash cans.

Site # 1 is most preferred because the design would include flat concrete that could be used for access to the facilities and infrastructure. So far, $5,900 has been raised plus the $2,000 pledge if located in the city park. Estimated cost to build is about $10,000 because he would partner with a company that has experience in building skateparks with salvaged and recycled material.

Councilmember Wekenman would like to see drawings of what this would look like and voiced concern of more green space taken from the park.
Councilmember Jones voiced support for the skatepark and said that maintenance costs would go down since that area would not be mowed or watered. PW pointed out that sprinkler would still have to be installed to water the grassy strips around it.
Public comment both for and against-Bruce Beeson supports keeping the park as is and listed other parks and programs that the city couldn’t support and had to reduce. Kristin Jones-skateparks had a positive impact on their children and would like to see this as another option in town of things for kids to do. Heather McGehee agreed. Jens Hegg supports the skatepark and prefers site # 1 since the basketball courts have seen only a small amount of vandalism.
PW Griffin and Arrasmith have concerns of vandalism like is evident at the City of Pullman skatepark. Allen Davis, Pullman PW recommends that it needs to be visible, not near buildings and a day park only with no lights. Site # 1 is fairly hidden, is next to the pool building and lit at night. Also concerns of future maintenance.

Mayor Echanove took the floor. Attorney Bishop has suggested to the Mayor that Aaron Flansburg take out a performance bond at some point. Councilmember Newman would like to see drawings also but would need to have a preliminary site first to plan around. Councilmember Newman MOVED that council give preliminary approval for option # 2 with the contingency that artist’s rendering are made available in the next 60 days, that the group’s funds are shown to be there for phase one, that a performance bond is in place and that the design is reviewed and approved by our insurance carrier. Councilmember Ossinger seconded the motion. Discussion – Councilmember Jones questioned why not options # 1. Chief Neumann pointed out that option # 1 would be harder to secure, patrol, and access. The Mayor urged council to vote this down tonight with so many unanswered questions. Councilmember Newman said there are many unknowns but they cannot be answered without a potential site. Councilmember Estes asked Aaron if drafts could be provided of both sites. Yes, they may be rough but site is the most critical issue in design. Councilmember Ossinger asked for an amendment to the motion to not include a performance bond at this time with so many undecided elements. Amended MOTION that council give preliminary approval for option # 2 with the contingency that artist’s rendering are made available in the next 60 days, that the group’s funds are shown to be there for phase one and that the design is reviewed and approved by our insurance carrier. With two no votes, Councilmember Wekenman and Councilmember Webb, motion carried.

Update of Palouse Cove Road possible name change Mayor Echanove reported that he was unable to talk with the county about this yet. The name change would affect about 16 residents in Palouse who have been through the process once already.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS:
Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair: Councilmember Newman has set up a workshop with our audit manager Debbie Pennick. It is set for July 23rd at 5:30. This is training specific to governmental services finance and budgeting.

Streets & Sidewalks-Senja Estes, Chair: Out next meeting will include a public hearing for the Six-year Transportation Improvement Plan.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS: Councilmember Ossinger MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed. Councilmember Webb seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
With no motion to excuse tonight’s absence of Councilmember Schorzman, his absence is considered unexcused.

ADJOURN: Councilmember Jones MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Webb seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:58 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:

Payroll Paid Ck. # 4956 – 4983 & EFT $39,972.98
Claims Paid Ck. # 4984 – 5007 & EFT $25,437.23

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________