Month: April 2017

March 28, 2017

DRAFT ONLY.  Without council review or approval.

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

March 28, 2017

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

ROLL CALL:  Council members present:  Doreen Hanson; Bill Slinkard; Rick Wekenman; Mark Wilcomb; Bob Stout.  Councilmember Hanson MOVED to excuse Mike Hicks and Senja Estes.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded and the motion carried unanimously.  Staff present:  Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Police Officer Joe Handley; Clerk-Treasurer Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of March 14, 2017.  Councilmember Stout seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Supt. Griffin submitted a written report.

We thankfully didn’t end up needing the sand brought in for the flood.  Public Works used some for some minor projects but we don’t need anymore and there’s no room to stockpile the remainder.  We will use some to replace our worn or displaced sandbags used for various city projects.  Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to declare the remaining sand pile (after restocking city’s sandbags) as surplus for sealed bid.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.


Palouse had a burglary of a detached garage on north hill.  PD is still working on the case, watching pawn shops, websites, etc. Public information went out but still no leads.

A drunk driver sideswiped Officer Handley in his police vehicle today around noon on Hwy 27 just outside city limits.  Officer Handley was not injured.  Extensive damage caused to the both the police vehicle and the other car.  Eric’s Body Shop from Colfax came and towed both vehicles.  Washington State Patrol took the intoxicated driver and is handling the case.

Chief plans on installing the security cameras at the sewer plant, RV Park, compost site, this month.=


It’s still early in the year but so far financials look good.

Fire Chief Bagott reported:  1 fire call in February, 3 YTD.

Every two years we have to recertify on CPR and First Aid.  EMS helped the fire team update on both.

Capital expenditures for a new fire truck were approved by Palouse City Council and Rural.  The truck we were interested in already sold but we will keep looking.

No news on the air pack replacements but we are researching.

At this point it looks like we have four new firefighters joining this year.  The new recruits will start as wildlands firefighters and work up to structural fires.  This is a more efficient way to train.  All the new recruits should have some daytime availability which will really help us out.

EMS Coordinator Pillers reported:  9 EMS calls in February, 14 YTD.  No rural calls, only city and non-resident.

We’re working on negotiations for a contract renewal with Pullman for ambulance services.

We’re looking at online training options for EMT’s, for greater efficiency and to control training costs.

No funds allocated for wildland fighting equipment so we may want to look at that as a planning issue.

We need to plan for repairs to the fire station.  Ceiling repairs are needed resulting from water damage this winter.  Carpeting is also worn out.  For sanitary reasons, we will look at different types of flooring other than carpet.  We also need to add some built-in cabinetry.  Some of the volunteers might build the cabinets for us as long as we provide the material.  Fire and EMS would split the cost.

Communications Tower update.  Some Fire Board members have expressed concerns about possibly losing out on an affordable opportunity to improve emergency infrastructure because the Planning Commission hasn’t yet finished the policy.


Got some numbers from PCI for antenna and equipment to measure solar farm production.  PCI cost would be $500 plus a monthly service fee.  First Step agreed to perform the install for $200 including labor and no monthly service fee.  We will still have to buy a router to secure the service at the site.  Total should be at or less than $300.  They plan to install around the week of April 10th or shortly after. PCI will then come set up the monitoring equipment and data reporting platform to have real time production numbers.

After discussing some final invoices with Apollo, it appears the Solar Project will come in roughly $60,000 under the budgeted total of $414,000. On the surface, this is great news. One caveat is that our State Treasury LOCAL Loan has IRS mandated spenddown requirements. If the State Treasury requires us to spend the remaining balance of the loan, we will look into possibly expanding the Solar Farm, as well as any other options that may present themselves. We will have until April 2018 to submit plans for expense of remaining funds should we need to. CT Dixon will follow up with the State Treasury later this year to determine final course of action.

Met with Avista’s Palouse rep Paul Kimmell to discuss Solar energy production reflected on our Avista bills and how to put a dollar figure on reported production to date. Also inquired with him about the City’s remaining LED streetlight credit. Follow up meeting with Paul and Avista billing specialist will be scheduled in the next couple of weeks. Avista is looking to partner with WSDOT to provide charging stations for cities in Whitman and Adams county to cover Highways 26, 27, 195 and 272. Currently there are two types of charging stations available to the area. A DC fast charger will charge an empty battery in 20-30 minutes and is more costly.  A Level 2 charger can take up to 3 hours to charge an empty battery, but costs much less to operate. We will continue this discussion with Paul and pass along any developments as we get them.

West Whitman Street bids close tomorrow, March 29th at 2:00.  Project engineer Munir Daud will be present for bid openings.

The replacement playground wood chips lost in the flood came in just under $1,900.00.  That unplanned cost is coming out of our park supplies budget.  The Palouse Chamber has received approximately $300 in donations to help offset this cost.  They are still accepting donations that can be mailed to the Palouse Chamber of Commerce, PO Box 174 Palouse WA  99161.  They can also be dropped off at City Hall.

The City is still searching for lifeguards for the pool this summer.  Anyone who is interested is encouraged to contact City Hall and they can walk you through the steps to get certified if necessary.


Update from the Planning Commission on communication tower policy:  Chris Cook, chair of the Palouse Planning Commission.  The PC has been working tirelessly on the wireless communications tower policy.  There is a lot of literature out there so it has taken a considerable amount of time to go through it.  Their draft proposal should fill in nicely with the existing PMC.  There are three pieces to it: application, guiding principles, and work integrated into existing PMC structure.  Much discussion ensued.  Chris is hoping to have a draft ready by next council meeting.


Resolution No. 2017-03 accepting a state revolving fund loan from DOE for DOE-required Wastewater Facility Plan:

Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety.  The DOE is requiring the city to submit a Wastewater Facility Plan by December 31, 2017.  The estimated cost to complete this project is $167,670 and the city can’t fund this project from reserve funds therefore a loan is needed.  The loan amount is $167,670 at a 1% interest rate for five years.  This resolution is required by DOE but is merely a formality as this loan was awarded to us over a year ago.  The resolution states that the City “accepts” the loan that was awarded.  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt Resolution No. 2017-03.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Ordinance No. 953 – budget amendment to Water Fund 401 and Sewer Facility Reserve Fund 441:

Mayor read aloud the ordinance in its entirety.  Councilmember Hanson MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 953.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded and the motion carried unanimously.


Personnel & Pool, Chair Hanson–  Deputy Clerk Thompson requested the pool committee meet to discuss the need to raise the cost for private pool parties.  With the raise of minimum wage, the city’s break-even point to staff a 3-hour pool party is $126 so the new price needs to account for that.

Water & Sewer, Chair Slinkard-  The letter to be distributed to every household regarding the sewer system and what not to flush is ready to go.  Council and staff will distribute door-to-door as soon as the rain stops for a couple days.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:  Councilmember Hanson MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      03/28/17            Ck. #8184-8204 & EFT                          $28,642.40

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:34 PM.


APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________

March 14, 2017

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

March 14, 2017

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

ROLL CALL:  Council members present: Bill Slinkard; Mike Hicks; Senja Estes; Rick Wekenman; Mark Wilcomb; Bob Stout. Councilmember Estes MOVED to excuse Councilmember Hanson’s absence. Councilmember Slinkard seconded and the motion carried unanimously. Staff present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Officer Joe Handley; Clerk-Treasurer Kyle Dixon.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of February 28, 2017. Councilmember Wilcomb seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Supt. Griffin submitted a written report. Supt. Griffin and Chief Neumann discussed the potential for the Palouse river to flood this week.

POLICE REPORT:  Possible flooding on Wednesday and Thursday was discussed along with some historic figures. Residents may see flooding in basements along Main St. The city has sand and sand bags ready. The city is also preparing a volunteer list. Projections of the water level reaching 19.3’ have dropped to 17.5’. If projections rise again to anything over 19’, we may see some water in businesses on Main St. If this occurs, the city may need to pass a resolution declaring a state of emergency that could help us get support from the county and possible reimbursement for dollars spent and damages. Councilmember Hicks MOVED to authorize the Mayor to sign an emergency declaration in the form of a resolution should it be needed. Councilmember Wekenman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

CLERK-TREASURER REPORT: The Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) has approved both petitions made by the city for the railroad crossings at Mill and Mary Street for the West Whitman street project. Bids for construction of the West Whitman street project will be accepted until Wednesday, March 29th. The funding agreement with WSDOT has also been finalized for this project.


PCI Solar Project update: CT Dixon has approval from council to authorize PCI to install a communication device that will monitor the solar farm’s energy production. We were informed on March 9th that our PCI rep Sean Nordhagen no longer works for the company and a new rep has yet to be assigned to our project. CT Dixon has calls to PCI and Contract head Apollo Solutions to get this device installed and monitoring ASAP.

Wastewater Treatment Facility Update: The Palouse Wastewater Advisory Committee met with Varela on March 7th to discuss plans to update/upgrade the sewer system and treatment plant. By December 31st, 2017 the city must present plans for upgrades that meet standards acceptable to the Department of Ecology. Varela presented the city with 3 options:

#1. Seasonal storage and land treatment for nonfood crop (irrigation) during summer months. Discharge to river in winter.

Capital Cost $5 million

#2. Summer storage in lagoon and seasonal discharge to river in winter.

Capital Cost $6.5 million

#3. AKART(all known, available and reasonable methods of prevention, control and treatment) – Reasonable alternative for upgrading existing treatment plant if other options are not feasible.

Capital Cost unknown

Council discussed pros and cons of each option.




Personnel & Pool, Chair Hanson- No report.

Water & Sewer, Chair Slinkard- Discussed letter to be sent to all city residents on sewer system addressing what can and cannot be flushed or otherwise enter the sewer system. Among many other items, “flushable” wipes are causing very costly and time consuming problems with the sewer system as they do not break down like toilet paper does. If the city continues to incur costly repair bills and extra hours unclogging pipes as a result of these items, the financial burden will be passed on to the customers in the form of higher monthly sewer rates. By comparison, Palouse has very reasonable sewer rates and it is the City’s intention to keep it that way.

Streets & Sidewalks, Chair Hicks- Met with Supt. Griffin to discuss the construction of a new city shop up by well pump #3. Just looking to price out construction of a “shell” structure at this time. The Special Capital Projects Fund currently has $80,000 for the construction of a new city shop.

Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings, Chair Estes- No report.

Police, Fire, & Safety, Chair Wekenman- Had a meeting with Officer Handley to discuss the possibility of choosing a different health care option that may allow him to “opt out” if our current plan will not allow any other FTE’s to do so without penalty. CT Dixon is meeting with the City’s insurance broker in May to discuss different options and will encourage all FTE’s as well as councilmembers to attend. Discussed Officer Merry’s upcoming retirement, including a possible end date of November 30th. Committee and PD would like to have a new hire on board by October 1st to train with Officer Merry before his departure. Discussed different advertising options for position. The Garfield contract to provide LE services is coming up for renewal at the end of the year.

Policy & Administration, Chair Wilcomb- No report.

Finance, Property, & Equipment, Chair Stout- No report.


MAYOR’S REPORT:  Mayor is meeting with Cascade Services regarding fiber optic infrastructure for the city.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:  Councilmember Estes MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed.  Councilmember Hicks seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      3/14/17 Ck. #8163-8183 & EFT                          $9,963.73

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Estes seconded and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:55 PM.


APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________