Month: May 2020

May 26, 2020

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

May 26, 2020

Via Zoom Videoconferencing

 

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

 

ROLL CALL:  Council members present:  Mary Welcome; Bill Slinkard; Tim Sievers; John Snyder; Jim Fielder; Steve Alred; Katie Cooper. Staff present: Police Chief Jerry Neumann; City Administrator Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Alred MOVED to approve the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of May 12, 2020. Councilmember Cooper seconded.  Motion carried.

 

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

Councilmember Cooper commended staff on how nice downtown looked for Memorial Day.

 

POLICE REPORT: Chief Neumann submitted a written report. PD had six call-outs between May 13-25.

 

CITY ADMINISTRATOR REPORT:  CA Dixon submitted a written report.

-We have posted the job announcement for the Public Works Superintendent job. Depending on initial interest, we will coordinate interviews with the Personnel Committee once per week hopefully beginning the first week of June.

-CA Dixon is finishing up 2019 Annual Report. No issues to report. Waiting on updated code clarification on some line items from the State Auditor’s Office. Will submit at the end of this week.

-CA Dixon spoke with ECY permit manager Diana Washington last week. They will have comments on Wastewater Facility Plan prior to our first council meeting in June. At that meeting we will have our engineers Varela & Associates provide context on ECY comments and our plan to proceed.

-We are collaborating with the Palouse Chamber of Commerce to provide masks for businesses in town as they plan to reopen. Some of the funding from Palouse Cares Act can go towards that purchase. Funds can’t be used to replace lost revenue but can be used for emergency expenses.

-Deputy Clerk Thompson is finalizing the updates and rewrite of our water and sewer connection fee ordinances as discussed at the November 12th, 2019 council meeting. Water/Sewer Committee is meeting to discuss later this week and will have an update at the next council meeting.

-Hoping to have the pool open June 20th if the governor’s Phase 3 schedule allows it.

 

OLD BUSINESS:

Palouse Cove sidewalk bid documents: MD&A has presented initial bid documents for review by council. The two main costly items will be the block walls with chain link fence and the pedestrian push button flashing beacon sign.  Costs should be available by next meeting.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

Contract with Garfield for temporary Level II Certified Wastewater Operator: This came from ECY’s requirement that we have a Level II Operator in order for us to be in compliance. The town of Garfield is willing to contract with us for use of their Level II operator’s services for eight hours per month. As compensation for his services, Palouse shall provide Garfield with a sewer operator to perform any needed sewer operation services for eight hours per month. No exchange of money. Contract term is June 1, 2020, through December 31, 2022. Council expressed concern that there was no language in the contract addressing the need for a response in the event of an emergency. Mayor Cook and CA Dixon will follow up with Garfield to see what language we can include to address this. No action taken on contract.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

Budget, Finance, & Major Acquisitions – Chair Welcome:

CA Dixon reports that Covid-19 shouldn’t affect our sales tax revenues too bad. Sales tax revenue will take a hit for a couple months but the vast majority of our sales & use tax revenue is through online sales so if anything, that has increased. However, the RV Park revenue has taken a big hit. We are hoping that reservations bounce back and we don’t get any more cancellations.

 

Streets, Properties, & Facilities – Chair Sievers: Met with FastSigns regarding signage and design work for interior of pool facility.

 

 

JOINT FIRE BOARD REPORT: Councilmember Fielder reported.

-Financials are a little tight due to upgrading supplies for Covid-19. Some of the purchases will be reimbursed by the Palouse Cares Act.

-There were two fire calls in April to assist with traffic control for two accidents; Zero trainings due to Covid-19;

-There were five EMS calls in April: two city residents, one rural resident, and two non-residents; Zero trainings.

-Additional volunteers are needed.

 

MAYOR’S REPORT:

-Regarding the ongoing sewer complaint, Mayor Cook has met with complainants. The city’s insurance will continue to handle this claim.

-We have put together a Citizen Water Advisory Committee consisting thus far of Doug Wilcox, Moses Boone, and Robert Lopez. CA Dixon will look into enlisting a couple more people for the committee. The committee’s goal is to explore fundamental principles as well as technical issues of our ongoing water system improvements.

 

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:  Councilmember Sievers MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed.  Councilmember Snyder seconded. Motion carried.

 

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      5/26/2020          Ck. #10870-10880 & EFT           $4,448.20

 

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Welcome MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Fielder seconded the motion and the motion carried.  The council meeting adjourned at 7:53 PM.

 

 

 

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________

May 12, 2020

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

May 12, 2020

Via Zoom Videoconferencing

 

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

 

ROLL CALL:  Council members present:  Mary Welcome; Bill Slinkard; Tim Sievers; John Snyder; Jim Fielder; Steve Alred; Katie Cooper.  Staff present: Police Chief Jerry Neumann; City Administrator Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Cooper MOVED to approve the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of April 14, 2020 as written. Councilmember Slinkard seconded.  Motion carried.

 

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

-Thank you to the Rose Ladies for their work on Central Park at City Hall.

-New mower for Mike Wolf will be here soon; the mower we received was ordered wrong from factory.

-Fuel pump went out in Walter’s 2000 pickup. It has been replaced.  A replacement vehicle will be needed in near future.

 

POLICE REPORT:  Chief Neumann submitted a written report.

-Had to replace the battery in 2013 Dodge Journey vehicle #3; 2013 Dodge Journey vehicle #2 is having the same battery issue;

-Chief will be working with CA Dixon to finalize the purchase of a speed reader display sign for south Hwy 27 entrance into town.

 

JOINT FIRE BOARD REPORT: Councilmember Fielder reported.

FD had three meetings in March: two were trainings and one was a station night.

FD had three mutual aid calls in March, and two in-district calls.

EMS had 14 calls in March: 11 were city residents, 1 rural resident, and 2 non-residents.

 

CITY ADMINISTRATOR REPORT:  CA Dixon submitted a written report.

-Supt. Griffin has announced his retirement July 30th. He leaves enormous shoes to fill. We are incredibly fortunate to have had his work ethic and skill set for as long as we did. Palouse will immediately begin prep to find his replacement.

-No comments back from ECY on wastewater facility plan.

-Atty. Hanson is drafting an interlocal agreement for exchange of services between Palouse and Garfield’s respective Public Works departments on an hour-for-hour basis. This will allow for Palouse to utilize Garfield’s Level 2 Wastewater Operator to satisfy ECY requirements. CA Dixon will send the contract to council for review once completed.

-Washington State (and Whitman County) is currently in Phase 1 of reopening. Excerpts from Whitman County Commissioner Art Swannack: “Whitman County is planning to apply for a phase variance to go from the Governor’s phase 1 opening to phase 2 opening rules (currently scheduled for June 1st). The Whitman Co. Board of Health and Whitman Co. Commissioners have each scheduled a special meeting to consider the application package for the variance and vote on it. If/once approved by both entities, our Public Health Director will submit the plan that same day to the Washington State Dept of Health. If Whitman County has a Covid-19 case diagnosed before the afternoon of May 13th, we will not be able to submit the request.”  If approved, Whitman County will move to Phase 2 of the reopening.

-The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) has allocated up to $32,400 for the City of Palouse, provided that payments from the fund may only be used to cover costs that: 1) are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the COVID-19; 2) were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020; and 3) were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020.  CA Dixon will consult with AWC and will solicit input from the Palouse Chamber of Commerce to identify all expenditures eligible for reimbursement.

-Palouse Pool is tentatively scheduled to open on June 20th. Governor Inslee’s phase 3 of reopening allows for public pools to open at 50% capacity. We will continue to monitor this timeline and adjust accordingly. Park restrooms will probably open at the same time.

-Streets Committee, Mayor Cook, and CA Dixon met with Palouse Cove Pathway engineers yesterday. They will provide updated plans to council prior to our next meeting and will be seeking final approval at our first meeting in June to proceed to construction;

-Benches and trash cans for Shady Lane improvements that were on back order have just shipped. In addition, we have minor excavating and a bollard to install to finish up this project. CA Dixon will consult with Palouse Boy Scouts to provide local historical and/or environmental information to display at each landing.

 

OLD BUSINESS:

Luke Antonich from TD&H gave an update on Water System Improvements project:  Luke discussed the pros and cons and estimated costs of the four alternatives to address the city’s pressure, fire flow, and water storage.  Estimated costs ranged from $2.1 million to $4.1 million.  Council will review options and provide direction to TDH when appropriate to do so.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

Viking Crew Booster Club requests for 2020 GPHS seniors: Due to the circumstances of the pandemic and the seniors having to forego their traditional celebrations, the Viking Crew has a couple requests. These are one-time only events due to the pandemic, not a yearly or recurring thing.

Request 1: they would like to honor the 2020 GP graduates with a kind of reverse parade on June 6. The idea is to space each senior along Main Street and allow community and family members to drive down the street honking, waving, etc. Social distancing will be practiced. The street will be closed off.

Request 2: the Viking Crew would like to put up banners for the month of June along Main Street to honor each graduate. They will be responsible for the purchase of the banners and will be happy to assist in the hanging up and taking down of the banners.

Councilmember Sievers MOVED to approve both requests as presented. Councilmember Alred seconded. Motion carried.

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

Streets, Properties, & Facilities, Chair Sievers- Hoping by the next meeting to have updates on the Palouse Cove Pathway project and on the new signage at the pool.

 

Personnel, Chair Snyder- Committee is taking significant steps in developing the annual staff evaluation and pay grade processes.

 

Water & Sewer, Chair Slinkard– Reiterated the need for council to thoroughly review options for water system improvements and solidify a direction for TDH.

 

MAYOR’S REPORT:

-Reiterated thanks to the Rose Ladies for their work at Central Park and elsewhere downtown: Donna Thompson, Mary Estes, Jeanne Jeffers, & Janet Brantner

-Reiterated gratitude to Supt. Griffin and the challenges that will arise with his departure. Recruitment begins immediately.

 

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

 

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      4/28/2020          Ck. #10812-10826 & EFT           $27,733.20

Payroll Paid      4/30/2020          Ck. #10827-10842 & EFT           $41,194.32

Claims Paid      5/12/2020          Ck. #10843-10996 & EFT           $57,036.05

 

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Welcome MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Fielder seconded the motion and the motion carried.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:18 PM.

 

 

 

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________

April 14, 2020

 

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting via Zoom Teleconferencing

April 14, 2020

 

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

 

ROLL CALL:  Council members present via Zoom Video Teleconferencing: Mary Welcome; Bill Slinkard; Tim Sievers; John Snyder; Jim Fielder; Steve Alred; Katie Cooper.  Staff present: Police Chief Jerry Neumann; City Administrator Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.

 

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Sievers MOVED to approve the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of March 10, 2020.  Councilmember Alred seconded.  Motion carried. There was no March 24, 2020 council meeting due to Coronavirus.

 

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Supt Griffin submitted a written report. Making really good progress on sprinkler system in the park that will save the city a substantial amount versus having a professional service do the install.

 

POLICE REPORT:  Police Dept has closed the front office to all walk-ins. Information is provided on the front door with phone numbers for contact. They are available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week at 509-332-2521.

 

Police Dept has closed all city parks and the skate park on Whitman St. They have worked with area businesses that have been deemed essential in educating them on directives concerning the Governor’s and the state liquor control board orders.

 

PD continues to reach out and educate the public and area youth on safe distancing. They are seeing a light at the end of the tunnel with no new reported cases of COVID-19 in Whitman County in the past 7 days, holding at 12. 4 of the 12 are fully recovered. (*NOTE – additional case was reported in Whitman County after Chief Neumann submitted his report).

 

The Police Dept is currently stocked with N-95 face masks (provided by Whitman County Emergency Operation Center), protective gloves, and an adequate supply of hand sanitizer.

 

Also included in report: Calls for service log and Whitman County Situation Report concerning COVID-19

 

CITY ADMINISTRATOR REPORT: Incorporating IT assistance for 2020 and beyond has proven to be very beneficial to city hall. Staff has full remote access to our desktops. Those calling City Hall will be prompted to contact either staff member on their cell phones as well. Some time in City Hall every week is unavoidable, but we have adapted well to the new normal.

 

First quarter financials are as expected. No red flags. Historically, general fund balance lags in the first quarter and balances out in the second quarter when we see the first wave of property tax payments come in. I will meet with Finance Chair Welcome in July to discuss first half expenditures and any areas of concern as they arise.

 

CA Dixon will be sitting in on several virtual meetings and webinars in the coming weeks to get an idea of what financial impacts Palouse can expect on a state level resulting from the pandemic.

 

TDH Engineering is continuing distribution design work for our water system. We will have them present to council once in-person meetings can resume.

 

Met with engineers to get pricing info on our Complete Streets sidewalk project that will connect the south hill residential area to downtown and eventually the city park. We will proceed with bids and construction when appropriate.

 

We sold the 2016 Bad Boy lawnmower for $2,800.

 

CA Dixon has been in contact with the State Fire Marshall regarding the Palouse Arms Building. He hopes to schedule a meeting with their department, Fire Chief Beeson and Building Inspector Gladwill once in-person meetings can resume.

 

Council received a letter from Colleen Boone requesting installation of electrical outlets at the Palouse Native Plant Park for the tree lighting event during the winter holiday season. CA Dixon spoke with Paul Kimmell from Avista and he has agreed to facilitate this on Avista’s behalf.

 

The final Wastewater Facility Plan was sent to ECY for their review back on March 30th. As you are all aware, EPA guidelines that ECY are then forced to implement have left us with no reasonable options to address the temperature and dissolved inorganic nitrate limits. At this time, the current preferred alternative to address the temperature TMDL, endorsed by ECY, is mixing with municipal water. This is the least-cost option for the city by a substantial margin, and it is also very temporary. Once lagoons are constructed, which is currently scheduled for completion 5 years after the mixing begins, we will no longer need to address the temperature TMDL. Varela and the city will proceed to the design phase of these upgrades once ECY has approved the facility plan. CA Dixon, Mayor Cook, and council revisited the other options and recent meetings with ECY. The city will continue to entertain all viable options that will address ECY requirement to their satisfaction.

 

JOINT FIRE REPORT: Councilmember Fielder presented:

Scott Beeson, Fire Chief, reported

-There were three meetings held in February: 1) training entanglement, 2) station night, and 3) RIT (rapid intervention team) which means there is a team outside to help the team inside;

-There were three fire calls in February: 1) mutual aid with Potlatch for a barn fire, 2) river rescue, and 3) Ellis Street cable down, blockade

-The six new radios are in. Marv Pillers is working on programming them. One new radio will be with Fire Chief Beeson, and one will be with EMS Coordinator Annie Pillers. The remaining radios to be distributed to personnel with higher response levels.

 

Annie Pillers, EMS Coordinator, reported

-EMS interviewed two wonderful candidates; unfortunately, at this time they are not able to join.

-There will be a class in October for new EMS members

-11 calls in February; 6 city residents, 2 rural residents and 3 non-residents.

-Postponing monthly training due to Covid-19 virus, going to online training instead

 

COMMITTEE REPORTS/REQUESTS: 

Budget, Finance, & Major Acquisitions, Chair Welcome- Meeting with CA Dixon will be scheduled after 2nd QTR Treasurer’s Report is made available.

 

Streets, Properties, & Facilities, Chair Sievers- Chair Sievers is looking into proceeding with pool house upgrades. Staff and committee will make a determination on how to proceed with the pool season in the coming weeks. Lifeguard certification classes have been cancelled for now so staffing may be an issue if we are able to open the pool as currently planned.

 

Water & Sewer, Chair Slinkard- Reiterated that the city does not have any reasonable options, but preferred alternative for Wastewater Facility Plan was endorsed by both ECY and our engineers. ECY has ultimate authority on our path forward.

 

Policy & Administration, Chair Cooper- Ongoing historic buildings preservation research.

 

MAYOR’S REPORT:

Mayor Cook sent out two communications to the community regarding Covid 19. Emergency Proclamation 2020-01 was signed on March 24th. Councilmember Sievers MOVED to ratify Emergency Proclamation 2020-01, Councilmember Fielder seconded, motion carried.

 

Palouse will begin to discuss possibility of using Garfield’s Wastewater 2 Operator to satisfy our requirements with ECY. Meeting scheduled for next Tuesday.

 

Liquor license renewal for Palouse Market was presented. No objections.

 

Staff evaluations with department heads will be conducted in the next few weeks.

 

Mayor Cook received a letter from GPHS student Brook McCulla who is interested in improving the Welcome to Palouse signs entering town. Coincidentally, one of the signs is already currently being repaired and repainted (by Butch & Kurt Brantner).  Mayor discussed possibility of upgrading the signs in the future. Coucilmembers Welcome and Alred discussed ways we could improve and/or add community information to the existing signs.

 

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:  Councilmember Alred MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed.  Councilmember Cooper seconded the motion and the motion carried.

 

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      3/24/2020          Ck. #10740-10758 & EFT           $42,184.85

Payroll Paid      3/31/2020          Ck. #10759-10779 & EFT           $47,023.35

Claims Paid      4/14/2020          Ck. #10780-10811 & EFT           $18,089.96

 

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Welcome MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Fielder seconded the motion and the motion carried.  The council meeting adjourned at 7:51 PM.

 

 

 

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________