Palouse City Council
Regular Council Meeting
April 9, 2013
CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
ROLL CALL: Council members present: Connie Newman, Bo Ossinger; Norm Schorzman; Alison Webb; Rick Wekenman. Absent: Tim Jones. Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann & Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson. Public present: Elizabeth Boyd. Councilmember Ossinger MOVED to excuse the absence of Councilmember Jones. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of March 26, 2013. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Superintendent Griffin submitted a written report, adding that they finished the water/sewer extension for a new build on Union Street.
POLICE REPORT: Chief Neumann reported there have been two inquiries about the Harley, with no sealed bids in yet. They are continuing their school presence. There are some issues to work out with the intercollegiate cycling event. The organizers have requested an added event to their schedule. This will make a longer and more stressful day for PD and volunteers who are working with them. He will continue to work with the organizers.
OLD BUSINESS: Councilmember Newman offered her thoughts on filling the open council position. She would like council to consider a Resolution that would allow a High School student to serve on Council. This is being done in other communities and she believes is a good way to fill a temporary position like the one that is now open which would run through December 2013. AWC has a scholarship program available for training students. This could be a benefit for the student and for the City gaining a different perspective. Mayor Echanove reminded council that the application period ends April 19 and encouraged Councilmember Newman to continue with her research on this and what we would have to do to get it going.
NEW BUSINESS: No report
Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair: The committee met and discussed with Supt. Griffin the water and sewer needs for keeping up with operating, equipment and infrastructure needs now and in the future.
Sewer Pump – The highest priority currently is to purchase an extra sewer pump to have on hand in case one fails. It is thought that these pumps have been in service since the plant was new about 18 years ago. They have done their job but are definitely close to the end of their life span. The cost is not known but estimated to be $8,000 to $10,000 each. Council recommended that Supt. Griffin continue working toward the purchase of a new sewer pump.
Backhoe Replacement – The next priority is to replace the backhoe which is also running toward the end of its life span. It has been well cared for, but with 6,000 hours on it the costs to keep it running will be too great. Supt. Griffin estimates the replacement cost with trade-in to be $60k to $70k, which would be split out to various departments according to percentage of use. He would like this to be considered as part of the 2014 budget as more time is needed to gather information. Council approves continuing the effort to replace the backhoe.
Water and Sewer Budget – The last increase to water/sewer rates was in 2011. The committee is considering a 1% increase in water to keep up with current needs while reserving for future needs as above and listed in the draft Water System Plan. Sewer will need a greater increase to keep up with costs and allow an increase in reserve balances for future needs such as the backhoe and maintaining the sewer plant to name a few. The committee is considering an increase of $1. The committee will continue to meet to discuss rates.
Councilmember Ossinger asked Supt. Griffin if there are other types of pumps available that would work better than the ones currently being used. Supt. Griffin said he would research other options to keep up with technology.
MAYOR’S REPORT: Mayor Echanove explained to Council that our Brownfields granting agencies are preparing amendments to the current grant agreements that include extending the closing dates of the grants and for the BRLF II grant, de-allocating unspent funds. Current and future requests cannot be paid until the amendments are signed. The Mayor asked council for approval to sign the amended agreements once all parties come together and our needs are met. After discussion it was decided that the amended agreements should come back to council to consider for approval.
ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS: Councilmember Schorzman MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed. Councilmember Newman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
Councilmember Wekenman asked if anyone knew what is happening with the Palouse Arms Apartment building. Mayor Echanove said that as he understands, once the building is vacated, the owner will consider his options but that it would likely be demolished.
ADJOURN: Councilmember Ossinger MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Webb seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:07 PM.
The following checks are approved for payment:
Payroll Paid Ck. #4768-4787 & EFT $37,870.20
Claims Paid Ck. #4788-4810 $13,051.17
APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________