Month: January 2018

January 23, 2018

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

January 23, 2018

CALL TO ORDER:  Mayor Pro-Tem Wekenman called the Council Meeting to order at 7:03 PM.

ROLL CALL:  Council members present:  Doreen Hanson (until 8 pm); Tim Sievers; John Snyder; Mark Wilcomb; Bob Stout.  Staff present:  Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Building Inspector Dan Gladwill; Clerk-Treasurer Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.  Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Stout, to excuse Councilmember Slinkard.  Motion carried unanimously.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Councilmember Sievers MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of January 9, 2018.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

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

POLICE REPORT:  Chief Neumann reported that our last potential hire (Flowers) didn’t work out.  The city expended $950 on his background check & testing, etc.  Each potential hire has to have these tests done so those subsequent fees put the policing services budget upside down.  We interviewed another potential hire (Kreig) yesterday (1/22/18).  He is state academy trained and a 7-year veteran but he’ll need some additional training.  His training is not reimbursable because it’s not CJTC criminal justice training commission sponsored.  If we hire him, it will be imperative to keep Officer Snead on while he was being trained.  This too will require additional funding so we need to determine where that will come from.  Chief will do as much as possible prior to expending any money on testing for new applicants.

The camera system for surveillance at the well-head/solar plant has been purchased.  Chief Neumann will install once the weather is a little warmer.

BUILDING INSPECTOR REPORT:  4th Q 2017 year-end report.  3 new homes in 4th Q, 8 YTD.  It has been an excellent year.

Regarding the Palouse Arms apartment.  BI Gladwill gave the owner a verbal deadline of May 31, 2018, to have the site cleaned up and made safe.  City council has asked CT Dixon to have our city attorney follow-up with a letter so we have something in writing that will outline what happens if he doesn’t comply by deadline.

JOINT FIRE BOARD REPORT:  Budget finished strong.  For 2017 there were 22 total fire calls.  EMS had 79 calls in 2017, down from 110 in 2016.  The current ambulance contract is split so that the city pays 70% and rural pays 30%, however Annie Pillers will watch the call data to determine if this cost split remains fairly distributed.  EMS & FD continue their trainings.

CLERK-TREASURER REPORT:  TD&H, Plateau, & Bishop are still working with us on decertifying the cemetery plot to proceed with our water system improvement project.

The public comment period for the Dept of Ecology’s new permit for Palouse River/WWTP ended on January 20th. We anticipate they will grant an extension to Palouse to submit a final facility plan by 4/1/19.

Closeout paperwork for the West Whitman project is almost complete.  All change orders and overages were approved.  The city has a new regional engineer at TIB who cautioned city council on approving change orders as they are not guaranteed to be reimbursable.

OLD BUSINESS:

Apollo Solutions presented council with their findings from their lighting audit and possible project proposals:  1) One project proposal is adding an additional 25kW to our existing 75kW solar farm.  Just like the first phase, this phase would have guaranteed minimum energy production; 2) Second project proposal is upgrading lighting at various city buildings to LED.  Benefits, costs, funding, available grants, etc. were outlined.

NEW BUSINESS:

Ratification of Whitman County Mutual Aid Agreement:  This document outlines the relationship between Palouse FD with other regional fire departments:  Albion, Colfax, Farmington, Garfield, LaCrosse, Malden, Oakesdale, Pullman, St. John, Tekoa, Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport, Tekoa Community Ambulance Assn., Volunteer Firemen Incorporated (Colfax), and Whitman County Hospital District No. 2.  The agreement is pretty straight forward; in an emergency, nearby departments can and will respond to give mutual aid at no cost.  The JFB has already approved this agreement.  County already ratified their end of it and now the city needs to ratify their side.  Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED to ratify the Whitman County Mutual Aid Agreement.  Councilmember Sievers seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

Police, Fire, & Safety, Chair Wekenman–  This committee and the Civil Service Commission interviewed the potential new officer 1/22/18.

Policy & Administration, Chair Wilcomb-  CT Dixon and DC Thompson will work with committee on staff organizational flow chart, job descriptions, etc.

MAYOR’S REPORT:

There were no objections to the Brewfest special liquor license.

Councilmembers Hanson, Sievers, Snyder, Wekenman, Wilcomb, and Stout attended a training from Clear Risk Solutions on their roles, procedures, minimizing liability, etc.  DC Thompson and CT Dixon were in attendance as well.

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

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      12/31/17            Ck. #8905-8908                        $  5,823.29

Claims Paid      01/23/18            Ck. #8904, & 8909-8928             $19,432.81

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Sievers MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Snyder seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:23 PM.

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________

December 12, 2017

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

December 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; Mark Wilcomb; Bob Stout.  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 Wekenman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Public Hearing and Regular Council Meeting of November 28, 2017.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:

Supt. Griffin submitted a written report.  The city was the high bidder on a dump truck in Grangeville for $10,500.  It’s a 1990 GMC with a snow blade and about 30,000 miles.

POLICE REPORT: 

Chief Neumann updated council on a few ongoing issues in Garfield and Palouse.

Regarding Glen Smith’s complaint about the North Bridget Street house blocking traffic and creating driving hazards, the PD made contact and as of now they’re in compliance.

Officer Snead has started filling-in for Officer Merry until his replacement is hired.  So far, no one has applied for the police officer opening.  We re-ran the ad in two papers last week and the job is also posted online, etc.  The city will keep trying.

CLERK-TREASURER REPORT:

The city is working with Munir Daud, ML Albright, WSDOT and TIB on the final invoice for the West Whitman project and will be finalized by the first council meeting in January.  Due to change orders, our final budgeted amount has increased, but we anticipate TIB honoring those so not expecting any increases to city.  CT Dixon hasn’t heard back from Todd Neu at Avista as to when the street lights will be installed on West Whitman.  Avista keeps pushing the date back due to natural disasters in Texas, Florida and California, which take precedence regarding available resources.

Wastewater Treatment Facility ecology extension.  No updates from our permit manager Diana Washington as to the new timeline.  We proposed an extension to April 1, 2019.  From all indications they’re going to grant us that.

CT Dixon had a meeting with some developers who are interested in the Brownfields site.  Also in attendance were Councilmember Bob Stout and via conference call were our environmental engineer Mike Stringer of MFA and Mayor Echanove.  CT Dixon has arranged another meeting next week with same parties as well as Sandy Treccani of Ecology.  The city is anticipating in early 2018 to put out a call for proposals for that site.  Final approval will be through council.  There are many procedures to follow and steps to take to make this happen and our attorney will outline those.  Council needs to establish goals for that site.  Value isn’t just the sale price; how does it integrate back into the community?  Does it meet the goals of everyone who has given us money for this Brownfields site?

Ethernet for the solar panels at Well Pump 3 mysteriously went off-line at 3 am on Thanksgiving.  PCI Renewables investigated the problem and someone(s) has cut the line.  We still have money left over and perhaps we should put in a camera, conduit, and/or fencing.  In the meantime, CT Dixon bought a new cable and it’s back on-line.  It’s imperative that our well-head is protected.

Cascade Computing is interested in installing fiber optic to the city.  They will be submitting a proposal to the city soon.

Cemetery fund is pretty tight right now.  CT Dixon is in the process of figuring out how to access the interest from the cemetery endowment fund.

Owner of the Palouse Arms Apartment building has been given a deadline of May 31, 2018, to have the site cleaned up.  He is to show serious progress by then.

OLD BUSINESS:

TD&H update on water reservoir and Rural Development grant:  Michelle Bly of TD&H updated council.  The application has been deemed complete.  It’s at the state office.  The environmental document has been reviewed and tentatively approved however it can’t be fully approved which hinders the complete presentation of the funding package to the city.  RD is saying they now need an archaeological/cultural report completed.  The city has done one on previous projects; the most recent being done by Plateau. Michelle is waiting to hear back to see what Plateau would charge to update their prior report.  Once that’s done, she’s anticipating $1.5 million in loan; $1.1 million in grant; and $31,733 in applicant contribution.  The increase to pay for the loan is estimated in the $5/month rate increase to water but this is just a guesstimate.  Councilmember Stout MOVED to approve up to $5,000 for Plateau to update city’s existing cultural study to get this grant.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.  Rural Development does 40-year loans but they allow early payoff of loans without penalty.

Renewal of interlocal agreement with Garfield for police services from Jan. 1, 2018 until Dec. 31, 2021:  Contract remains the same other than the compensation.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to approve the interlocal agreement with Garfield for police services as written.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS:

Ordinance No. 964 adopting 2018 budget:

Councilmember Hanson MOVED to suspend the reading of the ordinance.  Councilmember Estes seconded and the motion carried unanimously.  Councilmember Hanson MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 964 as written.  Councilmember Stout seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Ordinance No. 965 redefining CT Dixon’s title and duties:  Mayor read aloud the ordinance in its entirety.  Ordinance outlines the duties of making CT Dixon the City Administrator in addition to Clerk-Treasurer.  CT Dixon does much more than the RCW and PMC definition of Clerk and Treasurer.  This ordinance gives CT Dixon a very distinctive job development track for the future.  Mayor Echanove outlined some of the many specific increased duties Kyle has taken on.  Much discussion ensued.  Some councilmembers questioned the necessity for redefining some of the roles, in particular supervisory.  No action taken.  It will be discussed by policy and admin committee in January 2018.

Ordinance No. 966 Kessler’s street vacation:  Mayor read aloud the ordinance in its entirety.  This ordinance is the last step in the process.  Kessler has paid all the fees.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED, and Councilmember Slinkard seconded, to adopt Ordinance No. 966.  Motion carried unanimously.

Ordinance No. 967 amending funds in the Water System Reserve Fund:  This is to accommodate the second payment to AES for the telemetry of our city wells (total project cost $14,600).  This appropriates another $5,000 to Water System Reserve to cover the overage.  Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED to approve Ordinance No. 967 as presented. Councilmember Hanson seconded.  Telemetry is the communication between the reservoir and the two wells:  it measures levels and tells pumps when to turn on and off.  And there are alarms if there is a failure, etc.  The city’s previous telemetry equipment was obsolete. Motion carried unanimously.

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

Police, Fire, & Safety, Chair Wekenman–  met briefly to discuss ongoing stuff including a complaint received against Officer Handley in October concerning alleged harassment.  After speaking with the officers and learning of the complainant, the complaint was deemed to be unfounded by the committee.

MAYOR’S REPORT:

Swearing in of new council members for service beginning Jan. 1, 2018:  Mayor Echanove swore in Tim Sievers to Council Position #3; John Snyder to Council Position #4; Bob Stout to Council Position #7.  All are 4-year terms.  Mayor Echanove also reappointed Bill Slinkard into Council Position #2 which is a 2-year term.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to affirm the Mayor’s reappointment of Bill Slinkard.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.  Mayor reappointed Councilmember Hanson into Council Position #1.  Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED, Councilmember Estes seconded, to ratify the reappointment of Doreen Hanson to council.  Motion carried unanimously.

Brownfield Redevelopment will be on the 2018 agenda.  We will request attorney’s presence.

Debbie Mitzimberg resigned from the Board of Adjustment.  There is now one vacancy to fill.

Mayor appointed Jim Fielder to Planning Commission to replace outgoing Tim Sievers:  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Wilcomb, to ratify the mayor’s appointment of Jim Fielder to the Planning Commission.

Councilmember Wekenman MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Hicks, to cancel the December 26th council meeting.  Motion carried unanimously.  The next council meeting will be January 9th, 2018.

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:

Payroll Paid      11/30/17            Ck. #8732, 8769-8795 & EFT     $  52,766.81

Claims Paid      11/29/17            Ck. #8796-8806                        $    1,622.15

Claims Paid      12/12/17            Ck. 8807-8840 & EFT                $179,157.49

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Estes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 9:15 PM.

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________

November 14, 2017

Palouse City Council

PUBLIC HEARING:  Petition for street vacation

PUBLIC HEARING:  2018 Preliminary Budget

Followed by Regular Council Meeting

November 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 Slinkard MOVED to excuse Councilmember Hanson’s absence.  Councilmember Estes seconded and the motion carried unanimously.  Staff present:  Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Police Officer Joe Merry; Clerk-Treasurer Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.

PUBLIC HEARING:  Petition by Greg and Marcia Kessler to vacate portions of B and 7th Street in Breeding’s Addition–  Public present for the Public Hearing:  Petitioners Greg & Marcia Kessler, Dennis Griner.  Mayor opened the hearing at 7:02 pm.  All the Street Vacation Procedures and Policy have been followed, proper paperwork filed, and application fee paid.  Q&A.  The city will maintain an easement for the property.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to approve the Kessler’s petition to vacate a portion of 7th & B Street in Breeding’s Addition as in application packet.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.  Mayor closed the public hearing at 7:20 pm.

PUBLIC HEARING:  2018 Preliminary Budget–  Mayor opened the public hearing at 7:21 pm.  No public comments.  Mayor closed the public hearing at 7:22 pm.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of October 10, 2017.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Supt. Griffin submitted a written report.  Councilmember Hicks had an end-of-year meeting with Supt. Griffin. Our dump truck is in dire need of replacement and Supt. Griffin is looking for a used one.  The city has money set aside for purchase in 2018.

POLICE REPORT: 

Haunted Palouse went well, no real problems.  We had three extra officers helping both weekends.

Snow tires we had had in storage were remounted and put on two patrol cars.

Officer Merry’s last day is November 30th.

There will be a new Garfield mayor beginning January so many current issues are kind of on hold including the police contract with Garfield.  Chief Neumann will keep Palouse informed.

CLERK-TREASURER REPORT:

CT Dixon met with Apollo today who did a lighting audit on all city buildings.  They will come back with recommendations for reducing energy thus our costs later on this year or early next year.

West Whitman Street update:  CT Dixon spoke with contractor M.L. Albright and their sub Curtis Concrete said curbs will be done by end of this week.  Avista says lights needed are backordered for months due to both Hurricane Harvey and Hurricane Irma, as replacing infrastructure in those areas takes precedence.  Avista is hoping to have lights installed in December.

2018 wage/budget discussion:  The finance committee (Stout, Wekenman, Slinkard) met a few times to discuss 2018 budget and wages.  As per Councilmember Stout, their stance is that it’s important to take care of city employees to help ensure retention and long-term service.  Police work isn’t glamorous and because of the low starting pay, no one is applying for our open police officer position.  We need a solid three-man force to keep up with our two cities.  Committee advocates for the employee-proposed wages.  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt the employee raises as such: 2018:  Griffin 8%; Myott 10%; Dixon 15%; Thompson 8%; Neumann 12%; Handley 15%; New officer 6%.  2019 & 2020:  2.5% COLA (Cost of Living Allowance) for all, with the understanding that 2018 is the only year locked in; COLA for 2019, 2020 may be more or less.  Councilmember Stout seconded the motion.  Budget projections look good.  Budget is healthy, new houses going in, higher tax base, etc. and committee thinks we can maintain this rate of pay.  Mayor Echanove is completely against this proposal and doesn’t think it’s sustainable budget-wise nor prudent.  Mayor wants a 5%, 3%, 3% across the board.  Councilmember Stout said those numbers don’t really apply because 3,3 is just COLA, just keeping up, it’s not a merit raise.  Much discussion ensued.  Councilmember Wilcomb thinks we should pay our people well and tighten our belts elsewhere.  Councilmembers Wekenman, Stout, and Slinkard voted yes.  Councilmembers Wilcomb, Estes, and Hicks voted no.  Tie vote so Mayor breaks tie and voted no.   Discussion continued in depth.  Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED to propose for 2018:  8% across the board, with the following exceptions:  new police officer hire 6% to $44,000, CT Dixon 11% to $46,000, Officer Handley 8% plus an additional 5% upon promotion to Officer-in-charge (replacing Officer Merry upon his retirement).  2019:  subject to available funding, 5% for all.  2020:  subject to funding, 3% to all.  Councilmember Hicks seconded.  Councilmembers Slinkard, Hicks, Estes, and Wilcomb voted yes.  Councilmembers Stout and Wekenman voted nay.  Motion carried.

At 10 pm Councilmember Hicks MOVED to extend council for 30 minutes.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded.  Motion carried.

OLD BUSINESS:

Update from Varela & Associates and Dept. of Ecology regarding facility plan for WWTP:  Dana Cowger from Varela & Associates gave a very detailed update on the DOE’s information regarding the WWTP.  DOE has significantly tempered their position on discharging into the river from their August 2017 stance.  DOE is wrestling with their own internal questions on water quality standards.  Now DOE is leaving the decision in the city’s hands.  They suggested city complete facility plan with inclusion of toxics discussion.  City needs to now decide how to proceed with the Wastewater Facility Plan. DOE received the city’s 16-month extension request but has not replied yet given DOE’s change in their standards and stance:  does the city wish to instead proceed with our original plan submittal, change plan or still want the extension?  When DOE policy is so vague it’s difficult for city to know how to proceed; we don’t want to waste time and money when DOE doesn’t know exactly what it is they want and their standards can’t be met.  Treatment options were discussed.  Much discussion and Q & A ensued.  City will resubmit an extension request with modifications to our original letter, specifically that we aren’t going whole-hog on no discharge into the river.  City wants to stay the course, get our extension, and refine where we want to go, how we will pay for it, etc.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to allow Mayor Echanove to sign new letter of extension to the DOE for our WWTP.  Councilmember Stout seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Update on funding applications for water tower and water system improvements–  CT Dixon spoke with Michelle Bly of TD&H.  Rural Development isn’t going to have an answer on our funding package on our water reservoir for another month.  DOH application is due at the end of November and we won’t know Rural Development’s answer by then.  DOH app can be submitted at no additional cost.  With council approval we’d like to start working on the DOH application independent of the Rural Development application.  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Wilcomb, authorizing TD&H to proceed with DOH funding application and for the mayor to sign any required documents relating to its submittal.  Motion carried unanimously.

NEW BUSINESS:

Resolution 2017-12: Updating city fee schedule:  There are two changes to the fee schedule to take effect January 1, 2018:  The RV Park rate will increase to $30/night from $25.  Potlatch & Moscow RV Parks charge $30/night, Boyer charges $45/night, and Pullman charges $25/night.  The second change is a fee increase to building permits.  The city is still using 2002 valuations and fees so the city is long overdue for increasing fees.  We will still be under Whitman County’s 2014 rates and the International Building Code’s 2017 rates.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adopt Resolution 2017-12 as written.  Councilmember Estes seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.

MAYOR’S REPORT:

Mayor read aloud a thank you note from Marc Arrasmith thanking all of us for the retirement gifts and party.

Mayor read aloud a thank you note from Janet Barstow thanking city staff for all their work during Haunted Palouse.

Mayor received two letters of interest for the vacancy on the Palouse Planning Commission:  Tim Doebler and Jim Fielder.  Both men are excellent candidates.  Mayor has selected Tim Doebler to fill the current vacancy.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Slinkard, to ratify the mayor’s appointment of Tim Doebler to the Planning Commission.  Motion carried unanimously.

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:

Claims Paid      10/24/17            Ck. #8675-8711 & EFT                          $ 19,566.35

Payroll Paid      10/31/17            Ck. #8643, & 8712-8728 & EFT              $ 44,358.50

Claims Paid      11/14/17            Ck. #8730-8768 & EFT                          $129,698.30

VOID:                                       Ck. 8729

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Estes MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Hicks seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 10:18 PM.

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________