April 25, 2006


April 25, 2006

CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Michael Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:00PM

ROLL CALL: Council members present were: Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Andy O’Neill; Jeff Snook; and Rick Wekenman. Absent-Norm Schorzman. Also present were: Joyce Beeson, Clerk-Treasurer; Byron Hodges, Public Works Superintendent; Bev Pearce, Deputy Clerk; Chief Jerry Neumann; Dale Tronson; Eli Elder; Darin Watkins.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Correction to the minutes: Streets and Sidewalks committee report: Change “Council Member Bagott has contacted AmericanWest Bank regarding the Whitman Street renovation” to “Council Member Bagott said she had a report that American West Bank was contacted regarding the Whitman Street project.”  Jeff Snook MOVED to approve the corrected minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of April 11, 2006.  Rick Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Council Member Wekenman asked council what the policy is for submitting the council minutes to the Boomerang.  He stated that there were some inaccuracies in the paper last week.  He was told that the minutes are reviewed by Joyce and the Mayor prior to being submitted to the Boomerang.  Sometimes, the Boomerang has a reporter here taking notes.  It was suggested that Council Member Wekenman speak to the Boomerang about how the actual council minutes are published.


Dale Tronson , property owner in Breeding’s Addition came to council to discuss the future of sewer service in Breeding’s Addition.  He explained that about 6 years ago he and other property owners explored the cost of putting in a sewer extension to this area.  He has approached city council over the past 6 years about this project, but there was no action taken.  The council and Dale discussed past costs of installation of septic systems and current costs.  The council continued to discuss the possibility of a sewer extension to Breeding’s Addition and work on Fishers Addition in the future.  The Mayor said that funding is available in the form of loans.  Grant money is not out there.  He continued to say that the full project of sewer extension to Fisher’s and Breeding’s Additions is a huge project that may never get off the ground as a whole.   Sewer extension to Breeding’s Addition would be gravity flow, making it in itself a much less expensive project.   With sewer in place, it would aid in the expansion of the city.  Council Member O’Neill asked how long would it take to put this extension in place.  It was estimated, about 2 years.  As this is a pollution control project, city crew may be able to do some of the work. The Mayor indicated that current water and sewer rates are often considered in grant applications. Darin Watkins asked what the benefit would be to involve the Department of Ecology.  The Mayor said that Ecology has been involved and studies have been done on the river, reporting elevated levels of fecal coliform, perhaps pointing to failing septic systems.  Council Member O’Neill will go over the past records, research and report back at the next council meeting.

Darin Watkins, County Planning Commission Member, came to council to discuss the Whitman County Planning Commission land use policies.  He urged the city council to look at the policies regarding cluster housing and see if this is something the city would interested in.  He is interested in the growth and development of Palouse, as his family members have been long time residents and his children currently attend the school.  Cluster housing is generally based on 5 acres plots, for single residential homes.  He stated that often professionals are looking for this type of housing.  He continued to voice his concern over the lack of housing available in Palouse.  It is all a matter of supply and demand he said.  Developers are looking at Colton which is the same distance away from Pullman as Palouse.  Why not look at Palouse as well?  Council Member Wekenman explained to Watkins that a planning commission is currently being developed and this would be a topic for them to consider. 

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT : Byron Hodges submitted written report

Byron reported that Aero-Mod will be at the sewer plant to demonstrate their sludge press dewatering system.  He will have a complete cost estimate by the next council meeting.  The current bagging system is Aero-Mod and that they have been happy with the good service they offer.  Byron has checked out other companies as well and the estimated cost of the project is $140,000.  The current sludge bagging system is labor intensive since bags have to be handled about 4 times before field application.  The new system would cut labor at the sewer plant in half.  Mayor Echanove told Byron to report back after the demo with closer estimates and possible funding sources.  Byron reported that they would have the crack seal equipment in May.   


Chief Neumann reported that the Durango is outfitted and being used.  The Motorcycle still needs to have some brackets put on and it should be ready for use by this weekend and the bike race.  The small agency group that has been meeting, CAPS-“Chiefs Association of the Palouse” has asked Chief Neumann to be the representative for the communications board.  Reserve officer Snead and Ellsworth will be working during the bike race event.  The chief introduced Jason Cassidy as a relief reserve officer while Officer Snead is gone for 3 months.  Jason is fully certified, highly recommended and lives in Pullman .  Council Member Bagott asked when the motorcycle would be ready.  Chief hopes to use it for bike race this weekend.  The Chief attended the Law Enforcement Officers of the Palouse – LEOP, in Colfax this week.


Dan reported that his phone calls have gone up 30% this week.  He also stated that he is getting many calls for future projects.  Overall, operations have been running smoothly. 


Council Member Snook reported that the fire department has been running tanker drills in preparation for a review from the rating bureau.  The water cannons have been ordered and the other equipment that was purchased using the DNR grant has arrived at the fire station.  The grant for the pumper tanker has been submitted.  The fire department voted in two new fire fighters, Darin Watkins and Will Edwards.  The air packs have been tested, this occurs every three years.  The biggest news is that the rating bureau has rated the city (commercial only) at a 6.  The rating will reflect on commercial insurance policies, not residential.  The only other Whitman county cities with this rating or lower are Colfax and Pullman .  The Inland Northwest Blood Center will be holding a Blood drive at the William Wolf Public Safety Building on Thursday, May 18, 2:00 PM to 7:00PM.  Sign ups are at City Hall, they will accept walk-ins.


The city called several companies to bid on the re-pointing work for the City Hall building.  Only two companies responded: Western Masonary-$16,500 and Talisman Construction Services, Inc.-$26,500.  Only re-pointing will be done this year and painting will occur next year.  The council budgeted $15,000, and there is room for a budget amendment if needed.  Discussion continued on to include work that is needed at the Police Station.  Council Member Milano MOVED to accept the bid from Western Masonry.  Council Member Snook seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.  The council would like Western Masonry to bid on the brick work for the Police Station.


Eli Elder brought to council his proposal for an Eagle Scout project.  He would like to paint the fire hydrants and adjoining curbs around town, excluding Main Street .  Byron has already talked to Eli about this project.  The city would provide paint, a map and brushes for his project.  This is a task that the city does anyway as maintenance, so the money is already budgeted.  Byron feels that this would be a great service to the city and community.  Eli would start work in May or June.  Council Member Bagott suggested that Eli speak to Fire Chief Bagott as well.  Council Member Milano MOVED to allow Eli Elder proceed with his Eagle Scout project of painting fire hydrants and adjoining curbs, with the city choosing the colors and a using a budget of not more then $500.  Council Member Bailey seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.



Council Member Milano reported that the .08 application for the RV Park did not make the cut at the .08 board meeting.  Milano will continue to work with Rick Stockwell, a RV Park planning and design specialist.  Council Member Milano said that the city should consider developing a parks and recreation comprehensive plan, to help the city qualify for grant funding.  Discussion continued on with plans for a dry camp, planting grass and asking the Lions Club to perhaps participate in the project.

Council Member Snook reported that Toshia Smith, returning pool manager has a full crew lined up for the summer.  There may be the possibility of closing the pool on July 22 as Toshia will be getting married on that day and most crew members would attend.  Toshia is working on this seasons swim lesson schedule.  Byron reported that general maintenance continues on the pool, getting it ready for the season.

POLICE, FIRE & SAFETY : Rick Wekenman
Council Member Wekenman reported that the committee met to discuss the Police Station.  They toured the building and agreed that a bare bones plan is needed now to move forward with the police department location change.  The committee wants to keep the building in a historical atmosphere, yet bring plumbing, electrical, heating and air conditioning up to current codes.  The handicap access will be handled by placing a doorbell at street level.  The officers will answer the doorbell and conduct business at street level.  The main structural concern is the entry way area on the second floor.  The floor is sagging needs shoring up.  Council Member Wekenman temporarily put in a cross beam and two posts under the floor, with a floor jack.  This helped a great deal.  Building Inspector Gladwill offered some suggestions to permanently fix the problem.  Treasurer Beeson reported Rick that a budget amendment may be done to add more money towards fixing the building.  Council Member Snook MOVED to allow Council Member Wekenman to get bids for the building repairs and authorize him to represent the city regarding the renovation of the Police Station.  Council Member Bailey seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.

Chief Neumann told council that the County Jail may have inmates available to work on this project.  The inmates that are available to work are not violent offenders and are not sex offenders.  These inmates would be visibly supervised while they work on the project.  The council agreed with the recommendation, stating that the community would be apprised of the work crew from the county jail.


Council Member Bagott, Mayor Echanove and Public Works Superintendent Hodges all looked at the roadways that would be chip sealed this summer.  The county asked if the city would consider extending the work to include a by pass road on the South River Road .  If this was to be done, it would take away funds from the planned work on two blocks of Alder Street and put that work off until 2008.  Bagott is concerned over the amount of projects the city crew has planned this summer, even with summer help the crews schedule will be overflowing.  Byron suggested to the city that they need to consider hiring a full time employee next spring, as he is heading into retirement.  Don will be working on his Water License next spring and the new employee would need to do the same. 

WATER & SEWER : Andy O’Neill


The Mayor reported that he would like the city to seriously look at water conservation methods.  It is important to lead by example and consider the future.  The Mayor asked Council Member Bailey to speak to the Department of Ecology, after he received a phone call from them regarding possible funding to create no burn alternatives in the city.  Council discussed a leaf and grass collection site in the city limits, with the debris being hauled to the old city dump site.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS: Mike Milano MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed. 

Darcie Bagott seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURN Rick Wekenman MOVED to adjourn. Jeff Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 9:40PM

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:

Claims Paid                   Warrants:  # 11698         through #  11706          Payment: $2,477.82

APPROVED:________________________________   ATTEST:________________________________