Month: June 2017

May 9, 2017

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

May 9, 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; Mike Hicks; Senja Estes; Mark Wilcomb; Bob Stout.  Staff present: Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Kyle Dixon.

Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED to excuse the absence of Councilmember Wekenman. Councilmember Hanson seconded and the motion carried unanimously.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Councilmember Hicks requested a word change under the streets and sidewalks report from “dispute” to “issue”. Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of April 25, 2017 as amended.  Councilmember Estes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Supt. Griffin submitted a written report


POLICE REPORT: Search and arrest warrants issued in Garfield. Update on burglary in town; Officer Merry received full confession from suspect currently being held in Boundary County in Idaho. Another burglary east of town was reported last week. Investigation is ongoing.

New computers in police vehicles are connected. Currently working to install Spillman policing technology to computers.

Cameras on West Main overlooking park, RV park, sewer facility and compost site will be up and running shortly.


The 2016 annual report for the City was filed with the State Auditor’s Office on Monday, May 8th.

A pre-construction meeting for the West Whitman Street Reconstruction Project will be held in city hall at 1 PM on Wednesday, May 10th. Those in attendance will be: project engineer Munir Daud, contractor ML Albright and Sons, Bob Westby from WSDOT, Rail Engineer Paul Weber, CT Dixon, PW Supt Griffin and Mayor Echanove.

The Public Works Board, a state agency that oversees the funding of various infrastructure projects, is holding a funding conference in Reardan next week. CT Dixon will attend.

Frontier will be removing the payphone in front of McLeod’s Palouse Market sometime this summer due to declining revenue and rising maintenance and service costs.

A decision on Building Inspector Gladwill’s pay increase will be made at the next city council meeting. BI Gladwill took a voluntary 20% pay cut in 2012.


Palouse Wastewater facility plan – engineering agreement amendment #2

Dana Cowger from Varela outlined the second amendment to our Wastewater Facilities Engineering and Planning agreement dated December 1, 2014. Excerpt outlining history of project and amendment is as follows:


Introduction – Palouse’s wastewater treatment facility currently discharges treated wastewater to the Palouse River. The City is under compliance requirements from the Department of Ecology and is required to prepare an engineering report/facility plan to address future compliance regulations. Amendment #2 continues the previous amendment’s scope of work, estimating costs for advancing the facility planning process and completion of the Ecology required engineering report/facility plan. Completion of engineering report is due to Ecology by 12/1/17.


Scope of Work – The work scope is based on completing the facility plan based and the selected alternative (chosen at advisory committee meeting on 3/7/17) of seasonal wastewater storage and winter discharge to Palouse River. Estimated cost of this option is $6.5 million. This will be the most cost effective option in the long term.


Compensation – New contract amount will be roughly $11,000 higher than preliminary estimates prepared back in 2015. Evaluations of additional alternatives and increased advisory committee meetings contributed to difference from original estimate.


Schedule – Work outlined in this amendment will result in completion of the engineering report/facility plan document. The schedule of completion of the work will be established as follows:

  • Conducting initial site development and evaluation work by 6/30/17
  • Conduct City/advisory committee review meeting in July
  • Assuming City concurrence with findings, and proceeding with facility plan preparation by August 1, complete draft facility plan report by 10/31/17

Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED to allow the mayor to sign the amendment with the correction of a date on the last sentence under “schedule” changed from “10/1/17” to “10/31/17”. Councilmember Hicks seconded and the motion carried unanimously

Continue discussion and possible decision on TD&H pursuing grants for water project

The City is looking into funding opportunities for a water tower/reservoir on the south hill in town and to update the Water System Plan. USDA Rural Development is accepting applications for funding packages and the deadline is fast approaching. To fulfill the application requirements, an abbreviated Preliminary Engineering Report (PER) is required. TD&H will prepare and complete this report for no more than $10,000. Council discussed pros and cons of submitting application.

Councilmember Hicks MOVED to allow TD&H Engineering proceed with Rural Development application and abbreviated PER on the condition that the abbreviated PER will be fully transferrable to the eventual full PER (ie not a ‘sunk cost’). Councilmember Stout seconded and the motion carried unanimously.


Ordinance No. 955 Opening and Closing Graves – Responsibility

Ordinance outlines new policy requiring notice of two full business days from funeral home in advance of a grave opening and closing. Mayor read ordinance aloud in full

Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to adopt Ordinance 955 as written. Councilmember Wilcomb seconded and the motion carried unanimously.


Personnel & Pool, Chair Hanson- Pool committee will meet to discuss potential summer staffing shortage and where to cut pool hours if necessary.

Streets & Sidewalks, Chair Hicks- Discussed ongoing alley issue between Rogers and Duran properties. Palouse resident Doug Rogers was present. Fire Chief does not have concerns about accessing the alley at this time. Plan going forward will be to allow partial entrance to alley that is agreeable to both parties. Committee meeting will follow. The sidewalk adjacent to Tarola property that was marked for repair has since been torn out to repair a water leak.


Palouse resident Diane Main: Very concerned about the living situation at the Calvary Chapel men’s shelter near her house where confessed burglar was staying. She would like to see some solution to this problem because there is no supervision of these people. Council and Police Chief discussed, including alerting the public to the importance of properly securing personal property.

MAYOR’S REPORT:  BI Gladwill met with the owner of apartment building (formerly Palouse Arms) on main street next to post office and also to the owner of trailer on Mohr St. near Bridge Street regarding plans for their structures. Property owners need to perform significant improvements to structures or have them demolished/removed within 60 days. City staff will work with BI.

Friday at 9:30 AM, the Department of Ecology will be touring several sites in town.

Mr. Akin the advisor to GPHS National Honor Society has students that are interested in helping with a community project.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:  Councilmember Hicks 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:

Payroll Paid      4/30/17 Ck. #8267-8282 & EFT              $40,145.95

Claims Paid      5/09/17 Ck. #8283-8306 & EFT              $  7,318.52


ADJOURN:  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 9:10 PM.




APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________

May 23, 2017

DRAFT ONLY.  Without council review or approval.

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

May 23, 2017

CALL TO ORDER:  Mayor Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:01 PM.

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of May 9, 2017.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

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

Had a water leak on South River Road, a galvanized piece of pipe that rotted out.  Public Works got it fixed in a couple hours.

West Whitman Street project has begun.


Chief Neumann reports that the Diane Main’s garage burglary case from last month is closed.  Our report has been forwarded to Boundary County where the suspect is in custody.  We still have one, ongoing, unrelated burglary case in Palouse.

Six security cameras have been installed: two at compost/sewer plant, one by park bathrooms, one by swim pool, and two at RV Park.  The cameras record 24/7.  City staff will be able to monitor from City Hall.

Garfield May Day was quiet, uneventful.  No issues.

Officer Handley attended training last week on Sector ticketing program.  Officer Merry and Chief Neumann will attend same training in August in Lewiston.  The program is cloud-based and uses very minimal data.  Tech stuff is ongoing via Whitcom.

The plan is still to begin the search for Officer Merry’s replacement in August and interview in September.

The spring Hot Rod Gathering is June 3.  Main Street will be partially closed and re-routed.


West Whitman Street construction is underway with a scheduled completion date of August 19.  Barring any setbacks, contractors believe it will be completed well before that date. When WSDOT is done with the rail on the West Whitman Street project, depending on how much money they have left in their pool, they’re going to repair the rail bump on Bridge street in front of the bank.

TD&H is going to proceed with the Rural Development application for a funding package to construct a water tower/reservoir on the south hill in Palouse.

The Palouse Library is replacing carpet and painting this summer.  Librarian Bev Pearce said the total cost will be roughly $3,200 and is asking council if the city can donate half of budgeted total.  CT Dixon said the $1,600 would come from current expense 001 fund.  Mayor explained years ago we went from Palouse City Library to a branch of the Whitman Co. Library.  It’s run by the county, but the city is still responsible for providing the facility: building, utilities, safe environment, etc.  Councilmember Wekenman suggested we look at getting an estimate for City Hall at the same time.  The City Hall carpet was replaced in 1996 after the flood, making it 20 years old.  Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Wekenman, to approve up to $1,600 for new carpet and paint for the library.  Motion carried unanimously.

The leftover sand pile has been surplussed.  The pile can be viewed at 200 E. Whitman (in front of the skatepark). Minimum bid of $25.  Sealed bids are due by 2 pm, May 31st.

JFB REPORT:  No JFB meeting because no quorum.

The pumper fire truck Chief Bagott has been searching for to replace the 1997 truck is available again at the same price as before.  Chief is taking measures to get Fire Lieutenant Bruce Beeson to Tennessee to look at it and perhaps purchase.  It will be right around $100,000, ½ coming from the city, the other ½ coming from rural.   A new one like this would cost between $300k-$350k.  The 1997 will be sold which Councilmember Wekenman thinks will get approximately $20,000.


Building Inspector contract amendment:  Up until 2012 our BI was paid $500/month plus a $30 monthly phone stipend.  In 2012 he voluntarily took a 20% pay-cut to help the city with its tight budget.  He has requested to have his pay increased to $600/month with no cell phone stipend.  CT Dixon cautions council that the city would be hard-pressed to replace a BI for that price. Councilmember Hicks MOVED to approve the BI pay increase to $600 a month with $0 for cell phone reimbursement, effective June 1, 2017.  Councilmember Wekenman seconded.  Mayor Echanove gave a building department revenue and expenditure report for years 2010-2016, outlining how much the city makes more or less than the BI, depending on the year.  Motion carried unanimously.


Apollo/PCI Renewables solar project extension:  The city came in under budget on our solar farm. Since part of our funding package included a loan that resulted from the sale of a bond, the IRS requires us to spend the entirety of the loan to avoid a penalty.  So that we don’t go down that road, we are going to expand our solar farm by adding one more row of solar panels to satisfy the requirements of the loan. Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to authorize the mayor to sign the agreement with Apollo/PCI Renewables to add another row of panels to our solar farm.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.

The solar farm is already producing more than was guaranteed.  In May 2016, Avista’s bill for well pump #3 was $397; in May 2017, Avista’s bill for well pump #3 was $19.08.  We are also banking kWh each month that will be transferable to other city accounts to help further offset the city’s electricity costs.


Personnel & Pool, Chair Hanson-

Pool committee met last week along with pool manager Holly Leendertsen and Deputy Clerk Thompson.  Due to the shortage of staff this summer the pool will be closing at 7 pm instead of 8 pm.  If we get another lifeguard we may be able to revisit opening that last hour.

Streets & Sidewalks, Chair Hicks-  The city received a letter from Pamela and Nelson Duran regarding the alley issue.  They want the city to open the alley from street to street, east to west.  The Duran’s letter stated they will consider taking legal action against the city if not.  The City Attorney was given a copy of the letter   Atty. Hanson stressed that the city is under no obligation to open it and just because adjacent property owners are using it for their gain, it’s not “gifting”.  Public Works nor the Fire Chief want access to that alley, however it is city property and if the city ever decides they want access then they’ll take it and any obstructions or development in the alley will be removed.  Much discussion ensued.  The city attorney is drafting a response letter and CT Dixon is going to consult with city’s insurance carrier Clear Risk Solutions.

Regarding the sidewalk letter from 2016, only one property owner has not complied.  As was outlined in a letter to all parties, Supt. Griffin has contacted a concrete company and they are scheduling it for repair.  The property owners will be sent the bill.  If left unpaid a lien will be put on the property.


Three of the five council positions that will be on November’s ballot have been filed for.

West Whitman Street Consultant Agreement from TIB for Munir Daud & Associates is ready for signature. This agreement approves Munir Daud to be project engineer for construction phase of project. Councilmember Hicks MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Wilcomb, authorizing the mayor to sign the agreement.  Motion carried unanimously.

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

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      5/23/17             Ck. #8307-8324 & EFT                          $27,302.67

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Estes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:48 PM.




APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________