December 10, 2019

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

December 10, 2019

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

ROLL CALL:  Council members present: Chris Cook; Bill Slinkard; Tim Sievers; John Snyder; Rick Wekenman; Katie Cooper.  Staff present: Police Officer Joel Anderson; City Administrator Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to approve the minutes of the Special Council Meeting of November 26, 2019 as presented. Councilmember Snyder seconded.  Motion carried.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Supt. Griffin submitted a written report. The pump on well #1 needs to be replaced. That will be a significant cost. The 2019 budget still has room to accommodate some of that expenditure so we will try to split that purchase between 2019 and 2020 if possible. Supt. Griffin should have a better idea of the cost soon.


-Officer Anderson reported on the recent police activities. A total of six arrests in the last couple weeks.

Regarding the burglary in Palouse a couple weeks ago, all the paperwork and evidence has been submitted to the juvenile prosecutor’s office.

-Officer Anderson and his wife are working with the assisted living facility Ladow Court in Garfield to “adopt” elderly folks who may not have family visiting for the holidays and encouraged others to do the same if possible. Donations will also be accepted. Those interested can reach out to Ladow Court directly for more information.


-Information for the title transfer of the Brownfields site is with the attorney.

-CA Dixon has been working on year-end numbers. Everything looks good.


Varela Engineering update on Wastewater Facility Plan:  Engineer John Patrouch provided an update.

-Plan revisions from November 26th are system improvements to reduce inflow and infiltration, and to upgrade plant to reduce nitrogen and provide shade.  Revisions are based on the Oct. 23 meeting with ECY.  ECY informed Varela today (Dec. 10) that they may not be able to review the plan before December 16. If the plan is not approved before December 16, the ECY funding application will be withdrawn. The city was trying to maintain this momentum that we’ve gathered but it’s out of our hands now. The city spent some money to get this application in so we are holding out hope.

-At the Oct. 23, 2019 meeting, ECY indicated they would not support the reclaimed water option due to its complexity and cost. But they did indicate they would support plant upgrades to reduce nitrogen and temperature and work with the city to revise discharge limits.

-Estimated capital cost is $5.5 million, with added O&M of $35k per year. The project budget is $6.1 million.   Depending on which funding scenario is chosen, the sewer rate will have to go to $74/month or more (current 2019 sewer rate is $39).

-The plan can be approved now even if the funding comes later.

-Permitting tools for water quality modifications primarily include: a waiver; use attainability analysis; water quality offset.  The waiver basically allows the plant to discharge at the maximum attainable level, and every 5 years ECY has to report back to EPA that the plant is still at the maximum attainable level.  With variance piece there’s a possibility of 3rd party litigation (river keepers) with ECY which may delay the process and cause headaches with ECY. However, Palouse will continue to explore this option.

Planning Commission city survey results: Jim Fielder, chair of the PC, gave a powerpoint presentation on the results of the city survey. The results will be emailed to the listserve and will be available on the chamber website.



Ordinance No. 986 adopting the 2020 budget:  Mayor Echanove read aloud the ordinance in its entirety.  Councilmember Cooper MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 986.  Councilmember Snyder seconded.  Motion carried.

Ordinance No. 987 – 2019 budget amendment:  Mayor Echanove read aloud the ordinance in its entirety.  This is a housekeeping measure to account for things that happened in 2019 that we hadn’t prepared for when budget was adopted in December 2018.  Amendment addresses the following funds: Current Expense Fund increase of $5,500 for the purchase of a much-needed computer and IT services; Arterial Streets Fund increase of $19,000 for Park Street improvements; Water Fund increase of $10,000 to cover PW Supt. Griffin pay increase of 5% beginning in May and the short-term $5/hr on-call policy (June-August), and a slight increase of cost for 3-year state audit; Sewer Fund increase of $13,000 to cover increase in salary and benefits due to employee turnover and short-term $5/hr on call policy (June-August), and slight cost increase to 3-year state audit.  Councilmember Cook MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 987.  Councilmember Sievers seconded.  Motion carried.

Draft Ordinance No. 988 – 2020 sewer reserve increase:  W/S committee met this fall to discuss potential rate increases and fee structure changes and this was a part of those discussions.  The burden of paying for the mandated sewer improvements falls in part on the ratepayers.  The city will not be able to get adequate or preferential funding packages if the rate payers are not paying a fair share, as determined by funding agencies. Committee discussed a $5-$10 monthly sewer reserve increase for 2020 beginning in January. City will hold a public hearing in January to hear comments from residents prior to adoption.


Personnel & Pool, Chair Cook-  Will be working on phase 2 of the pool improvements.

Water & Sewer, Chair Slinkard-  Keeping updated through TD&H and Varela on the water system upgrade and the sewer upgrade.

Police, Fire, & Safety, Chair Wekenman– This is Councilmember Wekenman’s final council meeting after 19 years. He expressed his hope that the next council continues his support of the Palouse PD. He is also confident with this council’s abilities. He thanked those who attended the appreciation party and the gift.


This is Mayor Echanove’s final council meeting. He expressed his gratitude for being able to serve the people of Palouse for the last 26 years. He expressed his thanks and appreciation of Palouse’s Public Works, Police Department, and CA Dixon and DC Thompson.

Mayor Echanove swore in Christopher Cook as new incoming Mayor effective Jan. 1, 2020.  Mayor Echanove is confident in Chris Cook and thinks he will be an excellent Mayor.

Councilmember Sievers MOVED to cancel the second council meeting of December 2019. Councilmember Slinkard seconded.  Motion carried.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:  Councilmember Sievers MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed.  Councilmember Snyder seconded the motion and the motion carried.

The following checks are approved for payment:

Payroll Paid      11/30/19           Cks: 10422, 10493-10506, 10510-10524, & EFT             $55,068.78

Voids:                                       Cks: 10487-10492

Claims Paid        6/25/19           Cks: 10507-10509, 10525-10549, & EFT                        $11,307.43


ADJOURN:  Councilmember Cook MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Sievers seconded the motion and the motion carried.  The council meeting adjourned at 9:02 PM.


APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________