August 25, 2009

August 25, 2009

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

ROLL CALL:   Council members present:  Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Andy O’Neill; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook.  Absent: Rick Wekenman.  Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Officer Dentler; City Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.  Public present:  Pete Hertz; Greg Partch; Sheila Eickhoff; Gerald Eickhoff; Joe Reynolds; Bill Wiester; Mike Sanderson; Charlotte Omoto; Jon Fleischman; Jeslyn Lemke.

Mayor Echanove explained that he is attempting to become better at chairing council meetings.  We need to change the format so that it is a city council meeting, to conduct city business.  For guidance, Mayor has spoken with Municipal Research & Services Center (MRSC) and Canfield & Associates (city’s insurance carrier).  Mayor read aloud an email he received from Jim Doherty, legal consultant at MRSC.  In it, Jim explains the background and rules regarding the state’s Open Public Meetings Act.  Based on the information, Mayor asked Councilmember Bailey to meet with his committee to review city council procedures for minutes and council meetings.  The key points will include – Questions from the public need to be submitted in writing prior to council meeting; Council will not consider anonymous questions; Time limit of 3 minutes will be given for each topic as time allows; Minutes will be recorded as a summarized version of the actions taken by council.  Mayor Echanove apologized for the changes but stressed that the open forum was being abused by a handful of people.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Snook MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of August 11, 2009.  Councilmember Bailey seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Charlotte Omoto asked if there was a horticulturist hired for River Park.  She noticed several trees have died.  Palouse Conversation District (PCD) outlined the planting and restoration plan.  The beavers ate many of those trees and several more did not survive.  As with the plantings on the walking trail by the sewer plant, an attrition level was built in.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:    Supt. Griffin reported they are done with their part on Alder Street waiting for it to be paved.  They’re now putting in a 150’ culvert behind the school’s Ag building to help with the drainage.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:   Chief Neumann submitted a written report.  Officer Merry is back to work.

JFB REPORT :  Councilmember Snook reported that in July we had 5 fire calls, 17 YTD; 5 EMS calls, 43 YTD.  No word on the grant funding for turnouts yet.  Jeff presented the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the City of Pullman and Palouse EMS.  The purpose of the MOU is to provide a mechanism for the departments to provide EMS to the Palouse EMS jurisdictional boundaries.  The only change to the MOU is that “whenever possible, Pullman Fire will provide timely transportation of Palouse personnel from PRH to Palouse Fire Station to minimize reduced emergency personnel in Palouse”.  This MOU will take affect 10/1/2009.  Councilmember Snook MOVED , second by Councilmember Milano, authorizing the MOU between City of Pullman and Palouse EMS.  Snook read aloud the MOU in its entirety.  Motion carried unanimously.

There were no changes in terms of the ambulance contract except that it will be a 1-year contract.  Councilmember Snook MOVED to authorize the JFB to enter into an agreement with Pullman renewing our ambulance contract for one year.  Councilmember Schorzman seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.

Greg Partch, Whitman Co. Commissioner, & Joe Reynolds, Whitman County Assessor , presented a handout that showed all the taxing districts in Palouse explaining how it works.  Joe Reynolds pointed out that Palouse has the second lowest levy in Whitman County, with Albion having the lowest.  Commissioner Partch had handouts and explained Stream-lined Sales Tax (SST) and how it has affected Palouse.  SST shifted the tax from point of sales to point of delivery.  The numbers for Palouse show a positive impact.

Review RV Park policy for long-term users – Councilmember Milano explained the main reason we originally decided to limit the length of stay was due to the near 13% leasehold tax the city would have to pay on stays longer than 29 days.  The possibility for revenue for the RV Park to sustain itself may outweigh this concern.  Mike proposed adjusting the RV Park policy to accept the occasional long-term stay on a case-by-case basis to be determined by city staff.  The rate would not change; it would remain $25/day regardless of the length of stay.  Councilmember Milano MOVED to allow a change to the RV Park Policy which would allow city staff to make the determination whether or not to approve extended stays beyond the current limit.  Councilmember Schorzman seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.

Discuss credit card policy for accepting payments for city fees .  City Hall now has a credit card machine as donated by Jon Fleischman.  It is currently used only for RV Park reservations.  The possibility is there to accept credit card payments for other uses such as utility payments, building permits, and swim lessons.  Councilmember Bailey explained that there is a fee of approximately 3% per charge.  The law is such that, in our case, this fee cannot be passed on to the customer.  Bailey expressed his concern that the people who pay their water/sewer bill with cash or check would be subsidizing the people who pay with credit card.  After discussion, council recommendation was for the policy & administration committee to develop a policy to accept credit card payments for everything except water/sewer payments.

City purchasing card – create a policy for city staff to use purchasing cards.  Currently, if a purchase requires a credit card, the city employee has to use their personal card and request to be reimbursed.  This would be considered a purchasing card since the balance would be paid every month.  It would be to the Mayor’s discretion who on city staff would hold a card.  After discussion the council directed policy & administration committee to develop a policy for a purchasing card program.

Ordinance No. 862 – Budget Amendment – RCO grant for playground equipment .  Mayor read the ordinance in its entirety and turned discussion over to Councilmember Milano.  This amendment would add a new line to the city budget to reflect receipt of the RCO grant money of $12,000 and $12,000 from private donations (Little People’s Park Committee) for a total of $24,000.  Any costs over this, including installation will be billed directly to LPPC.  Councilmember Bailey MOVED to approve Ordinance No. 862.  Councilmember Snook seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Poe Asphalt should be here next week to pave Alder Street.

Brownfields Committee:  Maul, Foster, & Alongi will have data compiled and will soon be ready to schedule a town hall meeting for sometime around the end of September.


PERSONNEL & POOL :  Councilmember Snook reported that the city received a letter from Pullman Parks & Recreation who brought a group of children to enjoy or park & pool.  They praised our City Park, pool, and pool staff.

WATER & SEWER :  Councilmember O’Neill reported that we have a potential housing developer interested in putting in 13 hook-ups in Breeding’s Addition.  He will be putting together a site visit with the developer.

FINANCE, PROPERTY & EQUIPMENT :  Councilmember Bailey reported they met to discuss budgeting for next year.  Both revenue increases and cost cutting measures are being considered.  There are no budget recommendations to present yet.  The effects of the possible passage of Initiative 1033 must be considered.  To protect our general fund, we must be prepared to create an enterprise fund for the RV Park.  Enterprise funds are not affected by this initiative.  With the decrease in state shared revenues over the last several years and the increase of expenses, measures must be considered to protect our dwindling reserve balance.            

MAYOR’S REPORT :  Last week there was a groundbreaking ceremony for Habitat for Humanity.  They are building two homes on Union Street.  There are volunteer forms available at City Hall for anyone interested in helping with the process.

The mayor reported that in researching the grant opportunity for the pedestrian bridge project he found that the projects eligible must be “shovel ready” to be considered.  He will continue to investigate.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:   Councilmember O’Neill MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed.  Councilmember Bagott seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURN:   Councilmember Snook MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:52 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:
Claims Paid                 1600-1620              $34,262.25
Payroll Paid                 1515, 1543-1573
EFT (2)                   $51,404.02