Palouse City Council
Regular Council Meeting
October 22, 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; Alison Webb; Rick Wekenman. Also present: Police Chief Jerry Neumann; City Attorney Stephen Bishop; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Public present: Paul Kimmel, Avista.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Ossinger MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of October 8, 2013. Councilmember Schorzman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Supt. Griffin submitted a written report.
POLICE REPORT: All went well at first week of Haunted Palouse. No policing issues. Officer Snead helped out.
PD is working on the required radio upgrade.
The roofline above the old jail at PD had a chunk crumble off for some reason; will get up there tomorrow and make sure it’s secure prior to Haunted Palouse. It almost looks like something bumped it.
JFB UPDATE: Held a party for Eric Slocum who is retiring after 25 years as a volunteer firefighter for Palouse. Scott Beeson was selected as new captain to replace Eric. In addition to being a Palouse EMS provider, Moses Boone is now a firefighter.
Annie anticipates being well under budget. The only major cost upcoming is $2,600 reimbursed to firemen for calls. All calls through January 2014 will be paid from 2013 budget.
4 fire calls in September, 20 YTD. They’ve been practicing with their portable water tanks.
11 EMS calls in September, 50 YTD. They will be placing a new emphasis next year on CPR trainings for the community. There will be a charge but will be very comprehensive and current.
They were able to obtain a refurbished AED defibrillator with 12 leads which is the standard these days. They got it for $5,000 used, vs. $40,000 new. Paid for with donations. With this new, used piece of equipment they will be in compliance for another 6 or 7 years.
Paul Kimmel, Avista: City of Palouse/Avista Utilities LED Street and Area Lighting Pilot Program: The state wants to look at the efficacy of LED technology. Palouse is one of only six Washington communities selected by TIB and funded for this project. Avista will swap out all the Avista-owned street lights, and contractors will swap out all the city-owned lights (Main & Whitman Streets). TIB will cover all those costs. Church & Bridge Street, Church & Beach Street, and Church & K Street each have a different test light up as of today. Avista is considering 6 or 7 different manufacturers, looking at quality and cost. Palouse will be one of the leaders in this test pilot; hopefully bringing operational costs down, and helping to figure out the regulatory process as well. This is an exciting project. There are no downsides to this. The technology allows us to use the existing pole, arm, and wiring, so really it’s just swapping out the head on top. Weather will not affect this project so that won’t be a challenge. City will email a notice informing the public to check out the three examples currently up. Comments can be submitted to City Hall. Ultimately the efficacy of the lights is most important, to lower operating costs for our community.
2014 Budget Update – Funds 001-315: Clerk-Treasurer Beeson submitted a draft 2014 budget. Mayor went through line-by-line to discuss various line items that have changed. Joyce budgeted an ending balance of $45,740 in 2013; but in actuality, we are set up to end 2013 with $70,000. This budget draft does not include the levy lid lift passing. If the levy lid lift passes, a percentage of it would be set by resolution to go to the Street fund, and Fire Equipment Reserve. The police dept. could be made whole again beginning in January 2015.
Joyce asked that council take a hard look at sewer. Sewer can’t support its capital improvement funds like water. She is suggesting council consider a sewer rate increase. If one isn’t done next year, we’ll probably have to raise it at least $2 the following year.
Joyce is going to talk to the state auditor about three of our 300 series funds (304-Vehicle & Equipment Reserve; 305-Building Maintenance Reserve; & 310-Sick leave Reserve); they don’t fit the definition of a capital facility any longer. We may want to close those funds and send that money back to the funds that contributed to them. When a capital project comes forward you would spend from all the funds that benefit from it. Accounting for restricted funds within these three funds is very tedious.
Our audit for the years 2010, ’11, & ’12 is underway. Auditors were at City Hall Oct.7-17. Assistant audit manager Karen Wilson from the State Auditor’s Office held an entrance conference with Mayor Echanove, C-T Beeson, Deputy Clerk Thompson and one councilmember attended, Bo Ossinger. There will be a final exit conference once the auditors are done. The audit is mandated by the state and is required at least every three years.
Finance, Property, & Equipment-Tim Jones, Chair: no finance report. Tim attended Aaron Flansburg’s walk-through of the two new potential sites for the skatepark. The press was there. Tim reported that Aaron is intending to press council for a solid designated spot to put the skatepark.
Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair: Asked that another reminder go out to public not to flush wipes.
Connie would like to raise the sewer rate $1 before the end of the year. She will meet with Joyce, DG, and committee to move forward on that.
Did not get a student interested in the student advisory to council position. She’d like to get that resolution passed and in place soon.
Policy & Administration-Bo Ossinger, Chair: no report
Personnel & Pool-Norm Schorzman, Chair: no report
Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings-Alison Webb. Chair: no report
Police, Fire, & Safety-Rick Wekenman, Chair: no report
Streets & Sidewalks-Senja Estes, Chair: no report
Public Hearing on preliminary budget will be Nov. 12. Nov. 26 will be our final budget hearing. On the 12th, Joyce would like our salary and fee schedule considered so it can be in the final budget. Hopefully the budget will be passed on December 10th.
Joyce is retiring in June. The auditors said we could consider having a single audit next year (vs. our normal three-year audit), that way the new person could experience an audit while Joyce is still here. Our three-year audit just completed was $10,700 + travel; the single-year audit will be $6,000 + travel. There will be a transition period. Joyce could be on retainer for a month or two. Joyce will put some numbers together.
If levy lid lift passes, a resolution will be presented to council which would authorize the direct receipt of a portion of the general property tax levy into the Street fund and Fire Equipment reserve fund. Councilmember Newman asked that the draft resolution show 60% staying in the general fund, 30% to the Street fund and 10% to Fire Equipment reserve.
ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS: Councilmember Schorzman MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed. Councilmember Jones seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
ADJOURN: Councilmember Ossinger MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Webb seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:23 PM.
The following checks are approved for payment:
Claims Paid Ck. #5221-5240 $10,945.33
APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________