August 14, 2018

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

August 14, 2018

CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:03 PM.

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Chris Cook; Bill Slinkard; Tim Sievers; John Snyder; Katie Cooper. Staff present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Officer Joe Handley (until 7:15 pm); City Administrator Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Councilmember Sievers MOVED to excuse the absences of councilmembers Wekenman and Wilcomb. Councilmember Snyder seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Cooper MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of July 24, 2018. Councilmember Slinkard seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

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

POLICE REPORT: Music Festival and National Night Out had no problems. We’re ready for Palouse Days and already readying for Haunted Palouse.

Officer Handley is participating in the county-wide DUI patrol the next two weekends.


Kyle is still looking into an electric car charger station in Palouse. Chamber of Commerce and local businesses have expressed interest in possibly covering the cost of the electricity. If the city wants to foot the bill for it, we would need to pass a resolution declaring it a public benefit. Kyle would like permission to submit an application. No money will be spent without first agreeing upon it at council. Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to authorize Kyle to submit the application. Councilmember Cooper seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

Kyle is submitting an application to TIB for the very last part of West Whitman Street project. We want to pave the hill where it connects to Fir Street. A lot of that is gravel and TIB doesn’t historically fund them but they do like to see continuity in their projects so we will try. Kyle should get authorization tomorrow. He’ll update council later.

City has received one bid so far for the river walk trail. We would like at least one more.

Planning Commission approved the Hodges short-plat on north side of town. More buildable lots are always good to see.

No proposals received yet for Brownsfield site. Deadline is September 5. If we don’t get any proposals it’s not the end of the world, we can let it sit and relist it later when contractors are less busy.


USDA funding update for water tower project: Been working with TD&H for 18 months or so on this project. City was waiting for news on funding package. Have to get funding figured before we move forward with any project decisions. TD&H submitted the funding application to USDA months ago. USDA emailed the funding package Friday am for $1.5 million loan and $1.2 million grant for the project plus other parameters and said it had to be signed and submitted by noon on same day. $68,000 a year for 40 years at 3.2% interest rate. Mayor told them he couldn’t nor wouldn’t sign without council discussion and authorization. Kyle spoke with Michelle Bly (TD&H) in depth Friday. We were anticipating closer to 1 or 2% interest rate and signing something on this short of notice would have been irresponsible. It was very unfortunate how it played out. Head of USDA Peter MacMillan had Kyle on conference call with rest of USDA trying to broker a deal prior to Feds sweeping their account last week but Kyle told them that the city will not proceed with proposed funding package.

Michelle Bly added to discussion that it was very disappointing how Rural Development (RD) presented the funding package. They were scrambling. State funds get swept back to D.C. if not all spent. RD has not been as aggressive in Washington state spending so they had their money swept last year and they didn’t want it swept again this year. Thus they were hard-selling to Kyle. In perspective, when funding falls apart, it happens for a reason. We now have an opportunity to look at another funding source for pre-construction (design only) from PWTF. Deadline is September 14 and awards go out in October. It’s an online application. We can use a lot of the same data as RD’s application. Interest rates are 0.84% if it’s less than 5 years, 1.68% over 5 years. Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to authorize TD&H to submit an application for pre-construction funding package for our water system analysis. Councilmember Sievers seconded. This does not bind the city in any way. If awarded, the city would decide at that time whether to accept. Essentially this would cover the preliminary design, further hydraulic analysis, and further design to get project ready to bid. It would also include some work sessions with Palouse Public Works. Motion carried unanimously.

Varela & Associates update on Wastewater Facility Plan due 4/1/19: Dana Cowger outlined the project. City discharges effluent into the Palouse River. We have an NPDES permit issued by DOE with state of Washington. It is updated every five years. In around 2014 the DOE told the city they were changing the parameters to TMDLs (temperature and inorganic nitrates). The new mandates could not/cannot be met with currently available treatment technologies. It resulted in the city having to get out of the river May – October each year. They gave us until April 2019 to get us plans. Has to be constructed by summer of 2024. So……city HAD to hire an engineer in 2014 to comply with new standards. Varela & Associates has been the project engineer. About a year ago, the city and advisory committee evaluated conventional and non-conventional alternatives. Ultimately, they selected the preferred alternative of storing wastewater during low-flow months (May – Oct) then discharging into river during normal to high flow. Where then does the city store the discharge? There are three determined options for storage, two of which are on city-owned 20 acres near the solar plant & well #3 and cost between $8.9 million to $11.2 million. The third option would be on other non-city property between 1 and 3 miles from Palouse and would cost from $10-$15 million depending on pipelines, pumping, appurtenances, crossings, etc. There are also the options of city pushing-back to DOE but it’s likely not a viable route long-term and may draw potential enforcement action by DOE. Varela now needs direction: continue with current preferred alternative vs. evaluation of other options. Council wants to have city advisory committee meet again to discuss new/other options. Perhaps meet with environmental attorney to discuss options. Much discussion ensued. Mayor wants to see about available land to pursue where landowner is interested in talking.


Resolution 2018-08 sole source purchase of air packs for Fire Dept. Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety. This resolution allows Fire Chief Bagott to forego the competitive bidding process to purchase required SCBAs for the Palouse FD because the purchase is clearly and legitimately limited to a single supplier. The Palouse FD has performed an objective review of the SCBA’s to be purchased and can clearly justify why only one source exists. Chief Bagott was present to explain. They looked at three different airpacks from three suppliers and Chief Bagott outlined why LN Curtis’s SCBA’s stood out as the best for department’s needs as it has the necessary type of thermal imager the others don’t have. The city has appropriated a maximum of $34,000 to cover half of the purchase price for 6 SCBA’s, with the other half provided by Whitman County Rural Fire District 4. Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to adopt Resolution No. 2018-08. Councilmember Cooper seconded. Motion carried anonymously.

First Step Internet Franchise Agreement Ordinance – FIRST READING – No action: First Step Internet (FSI) has connected fiber to City Hall, library, and PD as well as throughout town. They are looking to expand fiber to Amber Ridge (new development). They need a franchise agreement with the city to locate it in the city right-of-way. Our city attorney Hanson drafted this ordinance. They will expand from Amber Ridge and collocate. It is great to see them investing in Palouse. This is very expensive for them. Kyle will find out if the city can be compensated for allowing them to use city right of way. Council will review ordinance in depth.


Water & Sewer, Chair Slinkard– Committee had an informative meeting to discuss water tower project.

Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings, Chair Snyder- City has an anonymous donor of a shade sail for area near the pool. Committee will discuss with PW Supt Griffin as to logistics and any concerns.

Finance, Property, & Equipment, Chair Cooper– Chair Cooper met with Kyle just to get up to speed on the budget and finances. Plans to meet with committee during the fall to discuss 2019 budget items.


Mayor read aloud four various thank you notes to different city staff.

Mayor is getting some supervisory skill assistance from Canfield & Associates.

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

The following checks are approved for payment:

Payroll Paid 7/31/18 Ck. #9358-9385 & EFT $55,747.01

Claims Paid 8/14/18 Ck. #9386-9430 & EFT $41,953.21

ADJOURN: Councilmember Sievers MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Slinkard seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 9:36 PM.

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________