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



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 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: ________________________________