Month: October 2017

October 10, 2017

DRAFT ONLY.  Without council review or approval.

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

October 10, 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; Rick Wekenman; Mark Wilcomb; Bob Stout.  Staff present:  Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Police Officer Joe Handley; Clerk-Treasurer Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of September 26, 2017.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

 

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

 

POLICE REPORT: 

Chief Neumann got commitments from three reserve officers to work Haunted Palouse in addition to the 3-man Palouse PD.

Garfield approved the 3% increase to PD contract for 2019-2021. It is a 4-year contract with no increase for 2018.

 

BUILDING INSPECTOR REPORT:

BI Gladwill is anticipating a couple more houses to be constructed in Palouse still this year.

Regarding the dilapidated portion of the Palouse Arms building, Dan will ask him to barricade it for Haunted Palouse.  Councilmember Wekenman wants a deadline given to the owner to complete the project. Council sentiment is they want to see noticeable clean-up/progress by the end of May. Dan will discuss with owner. Owner does have a permit; he’s just making slow progress.

 

CLERK-TREASURER REPORT:

Tax revenues look good, 85-90% of budgeted revenue to date for most. Property taxes collected are a little behind but the city always gets two big payments prior to the end of the year. Things are financially sound, no red flags.

Munir Daud is still working to get ML Albright (and subs) to complete the last 5% of West Whitman Street:  a concrete curb cutout, ADA-conforming curbs, and traffic signs.  And Avista still needs to install the street lights which they are projecting to be done by end of October.

 

CT Dixon is still working on Rural Development app with TD&H for water tower on south hill in Palouse. No update yet.

 

CT Dixon reached out to two other companies in an attempt to get additional bids for the well telemetry.  One was out of Boise and that’s not viable to work remotely.  The other was Inland NW ATS out of Spokane, and they partner with AES (who we received the first quote from). Most companies that perform this service have staff who provide telemetry in conjunction with much larger projects and are not necessarily interested in taking on a project of our size.  So the city is going to go with AES’s bid for $14,200 + tax.

 

Varela & DOE update:  Spokane’s Mayor David Condon flew to DC to meet with the EPA to discuss the same problem facing Palouse right now with wastewater effluent regulations.  EPA ignored Washington State Dept of Ecology’s recommendation of allowing 170 pcb’s and instead lowered it to 7 parts per quadrillion.  Mayor Condon wanted to discuss the merits of EPA’s decision given that they are forcing a regulation that is not measurable with current technology. This decision will have a big effect on large and small cities alike, driving up sewer rates substantially to upgrade and reconstruct wastewater treatment facilities to meet these unattainable regulations, or explore other, very costly alternatives.

 

Michael and Kyle will be at IACC infrastructure funding conference in Wenatchee October 24-26.

 

Annie Pillers would like council thoughts and approval regarding an informational mailer for the upcoming EMS levy. No objections. City will distribute a mailer to the voters to inform them of the upcoming levy.

 

CT Dixon met with Apollo today about other possible projects for the city that could potentially save money like the solar project is doing for the well pump.

 

City received our first marijuana excise tax revenue of approximately $125.

 

Ongoing wage discussion.  Council was presented with a variety of spreadsheets outlining various wage increases and the effects on budget including Mayor’s proposal and various employee proposals.  Also included was a 10-year employee wage history.  Council is to study and bring their recommendations to CT Dixon.


 

NEW BUSINESS:

Kevin Gardes (and others) of Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee (PBAC) to discuss water supply alternative study:  Palouse’s water system is part of the basin.  We pump less water now than in 1992 even though population has increased by 25%.  But aquifer is still declining at about .6 feet a year.  Much discussion ensued.  PBAC looks at solutions to the water situation and through years of research they have whittled it down to four promising options all of which can be found and studied on their website.  They encourage public participation and welcome them to their meetings.

 

Resolution No. 2017-10 adding Mike Wolf to salary schedule:  This just adds new employee Mike Wolf to the salary schedule.  Councilmember Slinkard MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Wekenman to adopt Resolution No. 2017-10.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

Resolution No. 2017-11 setting the date for street vacation public hearing:  Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety.  Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Hanson to approve Resolution No. 2017-11 setting a date for a street vacation public hearing.  Motion carried unanimously.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

No reports.

 

OPEN FORUM:

Palouse residents Nancy & Nick Whitesell are very concerned with the property condition of two of their abutting property owners.  They submitted numerous photos of the two properties showing various issues such as overgrown weeds, disrepair, concerning electric pole, property encroachment, etc.  They haven’t been able to sell their house and believe it is because of these properties.  They offered to clean up one of the properties at their own expense and labor to no avail.  BI Gladwill suggested contacting L&I regarding the electrical pole issue because if it’s a safety hazard L&I will intervene.  Some of the other issues are enforceable by code and council instructed Chief Neumann to  contact both owners.

 

MAYOR’S REPORT:

We have not yet received the deadline extension from DOE to submit our wastewater discharge plan.  If they don’t answer us and our deadline passes, what happens?  Mayor will ask Diana Washington, our North Fork Palouse River NPDES permit manager at DOE.  The city is holding off paying the latest Varela bill pending their response to that big EPA oversight. Council wants Varela present at council to answer questions and make this right.

 

Nicole Flansburg has resigned her seat on the Palouse Planning Commission.  We are sorry to see her go.  We now have two vacancies on the PC to fill.

 

Mayor and CT Dixon are attending the IACC conference Oct. 24-26.

 

Liquor license renewal for Bank Left Bistro.  No objections.

 

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

 

The following checks are approved for payment:

Payroll Paid      9/30/17             Ck. #8624-8641, 8643 & EFT                 $48,450.48

Claims Paid      10/10/17            Ck. #8642, 8644-8674 & EFT                 $30,154.18

VOID:               Ck. Nos. 8619-8623

 

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 9:20 PM.

 

 

 

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________

September 12, 2017

Palouse City Council
Regular Council Meeting
September 12, 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; Rick Wekenman.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to excuse councilmembers Wilcomb & Stout.  Councilmember Estes seconded and the motion passed 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 Slinkard MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of August 22, 2017.  Councilmember Hicks seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

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

Pool is being prepped for new paint.

POLICE REPORT: 

We’re actively seeking Officer Merry’s replacement for when he retires later this year.  With advertising, we received only one candidate who ended up not being qualified.  Chief Neumann thinks the lack of applicants is directly related to pay.  Chief used the AWC wage study to make his point that Palouse pays less than comparable-sized cities.  Chief Neumann has requested wage increases as follows:  Chief: $60k, Officer in charge: $55k, and 3rd officer: $50k.

CLERK-TREASURER REPORT:

The city’s current health insurance policy expires end of this year so we’re looking at the different policies AWC is offering.  Currently, employee’s medical and dental is $654/month for each employee.  The closest policy we’re being offered is $581/month with less coverage.  The good part is we have flexibility; not every employee has to choose the same plan.  The new premiums run from $446-$762 depending on plan.  To have no effect on the city budget for insurance premiums, CT Dixon is suggesting that the city still pay the $654/month and if an employee chooses the $446 plan, the difference gets put into the employee’s VEBA account.  If an employee chooses a higher than $654 plan, the employee pays the difference.  To be discussed further at a later council meeting.

West Whitman is wrapping up.  They were painting crosswalks today.  Street lights and signs will be installed very soon.

CT Dixon completed a renewable energy cost recovery certification form with Avista that will reimburse the city up to $5,000 every year as an incentive for installing solar panels.  The city received a $5,000 check just today.  In addition to electric savings for well pump #3, the city will cash out banked kwh hours later this year that will further reduce the city’s energy costs.

The city received another inquiry over the safety of the old Palouse Arms building.  CT Dixon will contact our building inspector tomorrow to discuss a strict plan with a hard date for the owner.

OLD BUSINESS:

Update on Wastewater Treatment Facility upgrade:  Mayor Echanove, CT Dixon, and our engineers took the following two ideas to a meeting with the Department of Ecology (DOE) and our DOE manager Diana Washington:  1, Build enough lagoons to store it and land discharge or, 2, store it then seasonal discharge when flow rates are higher.  Our discharge permit, issued by DOE, is a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) that allows the city access to the Palouse River given that we follow regulations implemented by DOE.  Diana Washington stated that the EPA (federal agency that oversees state DOE) has changed the rules with regards to certain pollutants and that in two years they will change our discharge permit so we cannot discharge into river under any circumstances.  Any plans for river discharge are no longer viable, which has negated most of the last year of facilities planning with our engineers.  If the city sends a letter explaining why we cannot now meet the December 2017 deadline, Diana Washington will extend the deadline.  We can continue to look into city land near the solar project or downriver which will require land acquisition.  Next step is to meet with Varela to salvage what we can from the planning that has been completed and to attempt to move forward with other alternatives for proper disposal.  If we play by the rules and do what we’re supposed to do we could potentially extend the back end up to 5 years if we need to.  EPA made this change in Nov. 2016 and Varela admitted they should have been aware.  We will continue to work with Varela and the city’s wastewater advisory committee toward a viable solution.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

Potential installation of Inland Cellular new cell tower:  Brian Woods of Inland Cellular (IC) was present.   IC would like to install a radio tower in Palouse on city property behind the old brick water reservoir on the north hill.  They would pay between $200-$400/month for that right.  Because it’s city property, he would need the council’s permission to use that ground.  Even if council lets him use that ground, IC would still have to apply for a conditional use permit through the Palouse Board of Adjustment.  They are the ones who give or deny permission for a permanent tower.  Palouse has a cell tower policy in our zoning code.  A temporary tower would be approximately  60’, the permanent tower would be approximately 200’.

DOH has regulations about the footprint of building around a water reservoir that will have to be investigated prior to allowing IC to apply to BOA.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to allow IC to apply to the BOA for a conditional use for a tower on the city-owned property at I Street Reservoir pending DOH approval.  Councilmember Hanson seconded.  Councilmember Wekenman asked if IC has approached any nearby landowners in the county, just outside the city limits.  IC already has a tower on Kamiak Butte.  Needs to be close to town to improve IC’s network.  Motion carried with one nay vote from Councilmember Wekenman.

OPEN FORUM:

Bruce Beeson wants the city to ensure the approach to his shed (boat storage) on west Whitman Street has a larger cutout put in.  During the Whitman Street project, a 6” curb was installed so he couldn’t access it.  He and CT Dixon then staked out where the cutout should go.  Engineer then went out and rectified it as he felt proper, stopping it at Bruce’s property line.  Bruce is unsatisfied with the cutout as it’s not wide enough.  Engineer stopped curb cut at Bruce’s property line because he doesn’t own it west of that.  Marty Anderson owns property to west and he stores stuff in a nearby shed as well.  Councilmember Hanson MOVED to address the curb issue and make it right by the property owners’ standards.  Councilmember Estes seconded.  CT Dixon thinks there’s money left in project budget to fix it.  If approved it’s mandatory that both owners are present to discuss what is needed.  Motion carried unanimously.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

Police, Fire, & Safety, Chair Wekenman–  Will meet with PD shortly to discuss wage and salary requirements for next year.

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

The following checks are approved for payment:

Payroll Paid      8/31/17 Ck. #8538-8563 & EFT              $46,700.26

Claims Paid      9/12/17 Ck. #8564-8600 & EFT              $37,280.92

 

 

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Hanson seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:56 PM.

 

 

 

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________

September 26, 2017

DRAFT ONLY.  Without council review or approval.
Palouse City Council
Regular Council Meeting
September 26, 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; Bob Stout.  Councilmembers absent:  Senja Estes, Rick Wekenman, & Mark Wilcomb.  Councilmember Hanson MOVED to excuse their absences.                 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 Hicks MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of September 12, 2017.  Councilmember Stout seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

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

We need to upgrade/update our well telemetry.  The well telemetry is the radio communications between the two wells and the reservoir and tells the pumps when to run and when to shut down.  It’s been having all kinds of issues for years.  Just last week water was running down the street because the telemetry isn’t working properly.  Just within the past couple weeks both wells have pumped over 30,000 of wasted gallons due to bad telemetry.  The system is so old it still runs on DOS.  Automatic Electrical Systems (AES) out of Rathdrum, ID submitted a bid of $14,200 to upgrade the system.  We will be able to monitor things via screen vs. having to climb up and in every time.  The money will come out of the water fund and/or water system reserve fund.  We’re open to more bids if someone can find a company willing to come to the east side of the state.  Besides saving water, it will save a ton of wear and tear on our pumps.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to accept A.E.S. bid of $14,200.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded.  Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to table the motion for two weeks so staff can try and obtain more bids and have the bids itemized.  Councilmember Stout seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Fixed a water leak by Grain Growers today.

The City received approximately 10 applications for Marc Arrasmith’s position. We interviewed four people and hired Palouse resident Mike Wolf.  He began full-time Sept. 25.

The pool will most likely be painted next spring. Public Works has too many other projects of higher priority right now.   Don has spent a lot of time pressure washing and prepping the pool to be painted.

POLICE REPORT: 

Began cleaning out the basement.  Donated to a non-profit approximately 30 bicycles collected over the last 8 or so years.

Met with Garfield council regarding the Garfield policing contract.  Garfield wants the next contract be a four-year commitment from Palouse.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to allow Chief Neumann to present proposed interlocal police agreement to Garfield with no increase to Garfield in 2018, and 3% COLA increase for years 2019, 2020, and 2021.   Councilmember Hanson seconded.  There is a 6-month termination clause written in to the contract for either side.  Motion carried unanimously.

JOINT FIRE BOARD REPORT: 

JFB’s revenue from current expense has stayed flat over last five years.  They’re looking at about a $5,000 increase in their yearly operations budget for 2018.  CT Dixon has no objections.

New radio tower is working out great.

CLERK-TREASURER REPORT:

West Whitman project still needs street lights installed, curbs matching ADA standards, the Beeson/Anderson curb cut, painting for RR, and a few other things that subcontractors are dragging their feet on.  CT Dixon gets cc’d on all of the emails between MDA and subs and Munir Daud is doing his due diligence in getting the subs on this.

TD&H has completed the application to Rural Development for a funding package for water system updates and a new water tower on the south hill in Palouse.  The State Dept. of Healthy Drinking Water State Revolving Fund is a potential back-up funding plan should Rural Development’s funding package not meet the City’s expectations.  Michelle Bly of TD&H is working on that app as well.  She will follow up with us when she hears back from Rural Development.

We have an invoice from Apollo for $39,000 which is once again well below the remaining funds the City is required to spend to satisfy the loan terms set forth by the State Treasury for the City’s Solar Farm. CT Dixon will have an updated total after Kirsten Wilson of DES signs off on change order and possible next steps the City will take should further spend down be required.

2018 Budget Discussions –   

CT Dixon presented a 5-year cash flow spreadsheet.

RV Park has sat at $25/night since it opened.  RV Park has taken off.  CT Dixon proposes increasing it to $30/night.  That modest $5 increase won’t dissuade RV guests but will generate approximately $5,000 in unencumbered revenue directly to our general fund.

Chief discussed the replacement of the 2007 Durango police vehicle.  There should be about $24,000 in police car reserve fund next year.  The Durango has approximately 80,000 miles.  He thinks he can get between $2,000-$3,000 for it.  We’d look for another slightly used vehicle.  He has been looking at replacing it with a pick-up similar to the Spokane Tribe’s new fleet of F150’s.

Public Works needs a new dump truck.  The current dump truck is a 1973 bought used.  It has over 200,000 miles on it.  Supt. Griffin thinks $20,000 should cover it.  That purchase would be split among four funds: water, sewer, streets, cemetery. Supt Griffin would like to purchase a truck that would not require a CDL to operate.  The dump truck is used primarily for gravel, dirt, snow, and street projects.

City Hall services expenditures will be bumped approximately $2,500.  The library is getting new carpet and paint so the city will get quote for new carpet in here at same time.  This carpet was installed in 1997.

2018 wage discussions:  CT Dixon requested a salary increase to $48,000 from $42,000.  That pencils out to a 14% increase.  Mayor:  Sustainability is very important.  Mayor Echanove proposes a 5% increase to all employees with the exception of CT Dixon, Officer Handley, & new hire Mike Wolf. Officer Handley will assume Officer Merry’s salary upon his retirement, plus the 5% increase, which pencils out to $50,300; CT Dixon increase to $45,600, PWA Wolf increase to $40,320.  Much discussion ensued.  Councilmember Hanson MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Hicks, to put together a position description change to City Administrator for CT Dixon.  Motion carried unanimously.  CT Dixon will put together a salary spreadsheet outlining wage history of all staff.  He will also bring a preliminary budget to next meeting.

NEW BUSINESS:

Ordinance No. 959 – amending 13.20.090 & .095 regarding water delinquency notice –  Councilmember Hanson MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Hicks, to suspend the rules of reading of the ordinance in its entirety.  Motion carried unanimously.  This is just housekeeping which changes the wording from “On or about the tenth day following the date of delinquency…” to “On or about 15 days after the date of delinquency…”.  It also removes a portion requiring the city hang shut-off notices on doors.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Stout, to adopt Ordinance No. 959 as written.

Ordinance No. 960 – Budget Amendment for 308 Fire Equipment Reserve and 311 Police Car and Equipment:

Housekeeping.  Sold old firetruck to Farmington for $15,000.  Half of that goes to Whitman County Rural FD #4.  As a result, we have to adjust the Fire Equipment Reserve Fund to reflect that.  And Police Car & Equipment housekeeping to account for the $1,400 grant received by Officer Handley for radar equipment purchased earlier this year.  Nothing being appropriated.  Councilmember Hanson MOVED to approve Ordinance No. 960 as written.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

Personnel & Pool, Chair Hanson-  DC Thompson has requested a meeting with the pool committee.  Doreen will schedule one.

MAYOR’S REPORT:

The Mayor is sending a letter to the DOE requesting an extension to the Wastewater Facility Plan deadline of 12/1/17 currently included in the city’s NPDES Permit, to a revised deadline of 4/1/19.  Mayor read aloud the letter in its entirety.  This request is resulting from the 8/23/17 meeting between DOE, city engineers Varela & Associates, and Mayor Echanove, CT Dixon, and Tony Wright.  In this meeting DOE provided new information to the city regarding polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs).  New PCB requirements will impact the city’s future discharges requiring the city to eliminate its river discharge, year-round.  Since that meeting Palouse has been considering the impact of this news and trying to decide our new path.  After considerable deliberation, we have concluded we will change direction and pursue only alternatives that will eliminate discharge to the river year-round.  Therefore, we are requesting this deadline for submission of a Wastewater Facility Plan.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to allow the Mayor to sign the letter to DOE.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Council members strongly feel Varela & Associates dropped the ball on this; they should have been aware of this EPA change from 2016 because they are paid to know these things.  The city has spent two years and a lot of money on this project based on Varela’s guidance.  Councilmember Slinkard pointed out that Varela admitted this was their oversight and we fully expect they will come forward and make the proper financial adjustments.

Councilmember Hicks MOVED to allow Deputy Clerk Thompson to purchase ten picnic tables for the RV Park; one for each site.  Councilmember Stout seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.

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:

Claims Paid      9/26/17 Ck. #8601-8618 & EFT              $49,815.75

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 9:33 PM.

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________