Palouse City Council
Final Public Hearing – proposed 2015 budget
Followed by Regular Council Meeting
November 25, 2014
CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:01 PM.
ROLL CALL: Council members present: Bo Ossinger; Senja Estes; Rick Wekenman; Bev Pearce; Christopher Langsett. Absent: Councilmembers Hanson and Hicks called in their absences last week. Councilmember Pearce MOVED to excuse their absences. Councilmember Langsett seconded. Motion carried unanimously. Staff present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; City Attorney Stephen Bishop; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Public present: Heidi Fluegel; Patti Green-Kent; Dana Anderson; Keiona Zachow; Eric Hansen; Donna Langsett.
FINAL PUBLIC HEARING: 2015 proposed budget: Opened public hearing at 7:03 pm. No verbal public comment. Jim Farr dropped off three questions prior to council and requested them be read aloud at public hearing: Q1. “Why did the city pay for Druffel’s water review?” A. It’s how the process works. It’s a pass-through expense. Because the review is done by an engineer of the city’s choosing, the city pays the bill which is then reimbursed by the developer. Q2. “Have any capital improvement funds been used for any water or sewer projects (installation or repair) on the South Hill since the 6-Year Capital Improvement Plan was adopted 10/9/2012? And if so, which funds and how much?” A. No the city hasn’t done any of those plans listed. Q3. “Do any employees or elected officials of the City of Palouse (including immediate family members), hold now or in the past, a financial interest in land developed by Sand Road Land Corporation, projects 1-4? If so, who?” A. The land was formerly owned by the Beeson’s but they sold it. Public hearing closed at 7:08 pm.
Councilmember Langsett MOVED to instruct Joyce to write the ordinance adopting our 2015 budget. Councilmember Pearce seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Public Hearing and Regular Council Meeting of November 11, 2014. Councilmember Pearce seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Supt. Griffin submitted a written report. We’ve talked about getting repairs done to the parapet on the PD which is in desperate need of repair. CTI submitted a bid and we’re awaiting one more.
On Saturday (11/22/14), a valve broke off the 8” main on I Street. There were a lot of people without water for a while. Dwayne and Marc spent Saturday fixing it. When water lines are being worked on, sometimes the water is temporarily brown and, if so, you should run water until it clears. Councilmember Wekenman asked if all our meters in town have back-flow preventers. No, they do not.
With all the water/sewer issues being brought forth from Nicole Wood and Jim Farr, Supt. Griffin would like a w/s committee meeting with the mayor and atty. present to come up with a solution to address all these. We’ve answered their questions over and over but they won’t accept the answers.
Officer Merry was involved in a collision with another vehicle on Sunday. The other vehicle lost control. No one was seriously injured. Officer Merry will be on light-duty for a little while until the soreness subsides. The PD’s Durango’s damage estimate was over $10,000. We are working with the insurance companies. They are providing a rental PD vehicle available to us next week until we can replace the Durango. We may need a budget amendment for purchase in 2014.
There was a complaint in Garfield last week of a dead baby moose in someone’s yard. When Fish & Game came to remove the dead baby moose the mom moose charged the officer and it had to be put down. The large moose was processed and provided meat to the Garfield Food Bank. Fish and Game is doing a necropsy on the calf.
Councilmembers Langsett, Wekenman, and Ossinger attended the JFB meeting Nov. 17. There were 5 FD calls in Oct., 33 YTD. Fire Chief Bagott attended the County Chief’s meeting and met the new Moscow Fire Chief. Chief Bagott has not seen the tavern fire report yet to provide a copy or even comment on it.
8 EMS calls in October. Annie gave kudos to Mike Bagott for doing a superior job as both incident commander and EMS responder on a call in October when no EMS personnel were available. It was a very bad accident and he may very well have saved a life that night.
District 12 (Pullman Rural FD) donated Jaws of Life to Palouse FD.
Continued discussion of PMC Title 6 Animals: Discussion continued regarding how best to write the chicken portion of Title 6. Atty. Bishop will draft the ordinance but needs a council decision first. Ideas were discussed in-depth. At last meeting, 10 was determined to be the maximum allowed, however that brings up more issues: If someone has 15 chickens, do they get to keep that many forever, or as they die, do they fall back to 10 max? Normally, non-conforming uses continue only so long as it’s not altered but once it changes it has to comply with the current code. For example, you may have a 100-year-old house on a 4,000 sf lot (which is too small by current code). However, if the house burns down, another house can’t be built there because the lot is too small. Along the same lines, if we were to allow current chicken owners to keep however many chickens they have, once they die off (or get eaten, etc.), they can’t be replaced. Should responsible chicken owners be able to maintain the current size of their brood? The discussion kept coming back to nuisance: odor, noise, environmental hazard. Regardless of the number of chickens, owners must still abide by the minimum enclosure requirements, minimum setbacks, care requirements, and not create a nuisance. Ultimately, council directed Atty. Bishop to write Title 6 allowing for up to 20 chickens, so long as all the above guidelines are met. For those wanting more than 20, they would have to first obtain permission from city council.
Water & Sewer, Chair Ossinger-
Committee met with C-T Beeson and Mike Bagott to discuss the financing side of water and sewer. DOE has taken steps to increase the testing requirements of the plant and the river. In order to meet new testing demands, we need to raise sewer operating by $1.00 a month effective with January 2015 bill. This change is to pick up the slack from increased testing costs. We don’t like this but we have to pay the bills. Councilmember Ossinger MOVED to ask Joyce to write an ordinance to put in effect the $1.00 sewer operating increase. Councilmember Wekenman seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
TIB announced their funding recipients for 2015 and the second part of the Whitman Street project was sadly not on it. Previously the DOT approved $30,000 for design and planning of the railroad portion on West Whitman.
The city hired Varela & Associates at our Oct. 14th meeting as our consultant on the sewer plant project for 1) project planning; 2) application to DOE; & 3) negotiate permit with DOE. The basic plan is that Ecology will set the base requirements of the effluent going into the river. The city will have to develop a plan and implement it no later than sometime in 2024. This all boils down to stricter and more demands on the city from Ecology. There are currently, no grants available to the city for planning and design. Varela put together an application to Ecology for up to $200,000 in loan money. Mayor felt in good conscience he couldn’t sign the application because to pay that off, we would’ve had to raise our rates immediately by at least $8.00. Ecology hasn’t even decided what our final goals will be. He discussed it with Mayor pro tem Wekenman and Councilmember Pearce. They called Varela and let them know the decision to not send in the loan application. In 2014 council authorized up to $15,000 for planning and it’s going to be about $6,000. In 2015 we budgeted another $15,000 for 2015. We must explore other funding opportunities.
Jim Farr and Nicole Wood are sending requests in for water meters without going through the Water Extension Policy. We keep giving them answers and they say that’s not acceptable. Since August of 2014, the city has received numerous PRR’s from Nicole Wood/Jim Farr:
Nicole Wood – Aug. 2014 – 10 PRR’s in 1 email
Sept. 2014 – 15 PRR’s in 8 emails
Oct. 2014 – 38 PRR’s in 13 emails
Nov. 2014 – 64 PRR’s in 8 emails
Jim Farr – Aug-Nov 2014 13 PRR’s in 9 emails
If an employee wants to use more than 40 hours of vacation leave at one time, city code requires council permission. Marc Arrasmith has requested to take about 80 hours vacation in December. Councilmember Pearce MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Ossinger, to authorize Marc’s time off. Motion carried unanimously.
Every year we pay a $1,000 broker fee to Steve Witthuhn (at HUB Insurance) and the FD pays a $500 broker fee. That fee is included every year in the budget. However, Mayor Echanove wanted to read aloud the agreement and get council approval prior to signing the broker agreement. Councilmember Pearce MOVED to accept and sign the broker agreement. Councilmember Langsett seconded. Motion carried unanimously.
ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS: Councilmember Ossinger MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
ADJOURN: Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Langsett seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:48 PM.
The following checks are approved for payment:
Claims Paid Ck. #6137-6174 $95,373.41
Payroll Paid 11/25/14 Ck. #6175-6197 & EFT $38,813.20
APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________