December 8, 2009

December 8, 2009

CALL TO ORDER:   Mayor 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; & Rick Wekenman.  Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Building Inspector Dan Gladwill; City Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.  Public present:  Mike Bagott; Bev Pearce; Greg Pearce; Pete Hertz; Tiana Gregg; Linda Snook; Paula Echanove; Tim Jones; Kristin Jones; Doug Willcox; Connie Newman; Tracy Milano.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   At the 11/24/09 council meeting, under Ord. 863, it was said that the w/s utility tax wouldn’t affect users outside the city limits.  We have since learned that is incorrect; all users of city utilities will be assessed the w/s tax.  Councilmember Milano MOVED to adopt the minutes as amended of the Regular Council Meeting of November 24, 2009.  Councilmember Bagott seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

Mike Bagott asked the Mayor if he has ever been disciplined or punished at WSU for not doing his job and what is expected of him?  Mayor answered no.  Mike Bagott stated it’s important for the public to know that in spite of the accusations leveled against the Mayor, the university has been pleased with his work for the past 26 years.

As a result of the council being labeled “lap dogs” for the mayor and unable to think for themselves, Mike Bagott asked each council member to state for the record how many city-related conversations each council member has had with the people who are criticizing, Steve McGehee and Jim Farr.  Mayor Echanove asked council if they wanted to continue this discussion.  Council agreed.  Councilmember O’Neill said SM called him once at home last summer; and he has spoken with JF once at a council meeting and once in person.  Councilmember Bailey spoke with SM early in his term regarding the burn ordinance and SM said he had no information.  Mark has spoken numerous times with JF to no avail.  Councilmember Schorzman has not spoken with JF or SM on anything city-related and just waves on the street to SM.  Councilmembers Snook, Bagott, and Milano each stated for the record that they have never been contacted by either man.  Councilmember Wekenman has never spoken with JF on a city-related matter; he spoke with SM about two years ago about something not related to anything currently being discussed.  Mike Bagott summarized that we have these people who are sharply critical of Palouse yet have made basically no efforts to speak to council members.  He requested that the responses of Mayor and Council be recorded to counter balance the attacks.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:   Supt. Griffin submitted a written report.  Temperatures haven’t caused problems yet but usually problems won’t show up until the temps warm up.

The small reservoir is full and is holding.  The repair was inexpensive and they are keeping an eye on it.

Chief Neumann reported that they have been doing a traffic study on Union Street due to complaints about speeding.  A lot of the traffic coming in on South River Road is exceeding the 25 mph zone particularly during school bus hours in the morning.  We temporarily changed the speed from 25 to 20 and people have slowed down.  They are trying to come up with the best way to get drivers to slow down.  We could change the speed to 20 mph at all times or reduce it to 20 during certain hours.  25 mph is reasonable most of the time, but when kids are present, 25 is too fast.  In and around the school in a two block radius, it’s 15 mph.  Councilmembers O’Neill and Bagott support posting the 20 mph speed limit as it would be simpler and consistent.  Chief Neumann said 20 mph seems a little slow for the length of the entire street.  The 25 mph was established in 1967 in Palouse; our ordinance will need to be amended.  Bluff and the cross streets are 20 mph.  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED , and Councilmember Snook seconded to table this discussion regarding the speed limit adjustment until the first council meeting in February.  Motion carried unanimously.          

Chief Neumann explained that our current ordinance addresses archery equipment and its use within city limits but it does not address air guns.  He’s looking into a training program with the use of air guns.  He asked council to consider amending the current code to include air guns.

BUILDING INSPECTOR REPORT :  Dan Gladwill reported he has been working on the abatement of a dangerous building at 510 S. Culton.  Demo was started and never finished.  Dan is posting a notice of order for abatement.  Eventually it may come to the city having to do the work so that it’s no longer a hazard.  A lien would then go to the property owner.  The city attorney has reviewed it and the letter gets mailed tomorrow.  The homeowner has 30 days to respond.

Dan has had many inspections; most of the projects are completed.  Currently building permits in Palouse are running about average with the county.  Palouse is doing okay.

State legislative season is coming up; Dan will be spending a lot of time chasing bills that may affect the city negatively.  He spends a lot of time in January on the phone and emails with WABO and county lobbyists.

Dan reported that he has had a great deal of contact with Jim Farr in trying to give him guidance on development plans.  A lot of the stuff that Jim wants to do is really his responsibility as a developer.

Ordinance No. 865:  Adopting the 2010 Budget :  Councilmember Bailey MOVED and Councilmember Wekenman seconded to suspend the rules of reading Ordinance 865 in its entirety.  Motion carried unanimously.  The budget was tweaked a bit since the last meeting with adjustments to beginning balances and reduction of expenditures in Sewer Capital Improvement.  This required minor changes to the Budget Message as well.  Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 865, the City of Palouse 2010 budget.  Councilmember Milano seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Maul Foster & Alongi Contract :  The Brownfields committee met and reviewed the Phase 2 contract.  The committee agreed to go ahead with the contract.  John Means from DOE approved of it as well.  Speaking for the committee, Doug Willcox stated that they made it very clear to MFA that at the end of Phase 2 we need to have a project that is ready to go into the next stage of acquisition and funding opportunities for clean-up and development.  It was also stressed that MFA’s evaluation and estimation for clean-up need to be done judiciously using past history and mitigation efforts.  Doug reminded all that this is a planning grant, no clean-up or real changes will occur as a result of this phase.  We as a community have much to offer on the economic planning and analysis portion of this grant.

Councilmember Snook MOVED to authorize the Mayor to sign the Phase 2 contract with MFA.  Councilmember Wekenman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Letter of Interest to acquire county property in Breeding’s Addition:  Mayor drew a diagram of the property in question.  He also read aloud a letter from 12/2/09 from Jim Farr in which he states that he will not install the line himself, that it is the city’s obligation to bring it to his property line.  Councilmembers Wekenman and O’Neill stated their opposition to the city acquiring this land from the county.  Councilmember Bailey stated he sees no benefit of the city owning this property.  Councilmember O’Neill doesn’t think it’s in the city’s or the community’s best interest.  Of course the city would like to have the hookup but it comes at too high of a price.  Andy reminded council that the reason the sewer line runs the way it does is because of Jim Farr’s early statements of development.  The city has yet to receive one sewer hook-up on any of his developed or undeveloped land.  After discussion, Councilmember Milano MOVED , second by Councilmember Bailey to submit a letter of interest to the county.  Motion failed unanimously.


Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings:   Little People’s Park Project is working very carefully on play equipment, soliciting bids.  There may be an opportunity to get a discount with free shipping and free installation if we order by 12/31/09.  Councilmember Milano would like to move forward, working closely with city hall and the bid law.  Milano reminded everyone that the 50% match on this grant is being donated by the Little People’s committee.  No city dollars are being spent on purchase or installation.

We’ve had some requests to reserve the park for weddings.  After the first of the year he’d like to review our policies on that.

Policy & Administration :  Councilmember Bailey said we received 6 PRR forms on Monday.  Most of them had multiple requests or requests with questions.  We need to insist that they submit requests as prescribed in our ordinance or sent back as denied.  Joyce asked the submitters to resubmit one of the multiple requests on separate forms and explained that she won’t address the questions as part of a PRR.  She told them as a courtesy she would pass the questions on this time.  Mayor said we need to stick to our policy.  Councilmember Bailey said we need to simplify the form and make it clearer and explain what happens if it’s filled out wrong.  Connie Newman is continuing her talks with Rep. Fagan on proposing legislation to allow the state offices to charge for PRR time.

Streets & Sidewalks :  Councilmember Bagott worked out a draft of the snow removal guideline.  It will help with the public’s knowledge of when and why we plow the way we do.

Water & Sewer :  Councilmember O’Neill said that along with all the PRR the City is receiving, various regulators of the state are also receiving them from the same people.  The DOH has a backlog of requests from Jim Farr.  As a result, DOH set up a meeting this Friday between COP, DOH, and Jim Farr.  Jim Farr refuses to attend.  He is sending his friend.

Councilmember O’Neill had a few suggestions for council as this is his final council meeting.  He recommends board training to our council.  For new council, he recommends attending both the AWC board training and the training offered by our insurance carrier.  For development of projects and improvements, he recommends the Infrastructure Assistance Coordinating Council (IACC) conference.  It helps you network with the people who are going to give you money or loan you money at a low interest rate.  The four years go by quick and the learning curve is steep.  Take advantage of all the training you can.

Police, Fire, & Safety :  Councilmember Wekenman stated that they still need one more council member on the JFB.

Councilmember Wekenman read the liquor license renewal for the Green Frog.  The Liquor Board will renew their license unless anyone objects.  No objections.     

Councilmember Milano MOVED , second by Councilmember Wekenman to cancel the next council meeting.  The next scheduled council meeting will be January 12, 2010.  Motion carried unanimously.

Mayor gave sincere thanks to outgoing council members Andy O’Neill and Mark Bailey.  They leave very large shoes to fill.  It’s sad they’re leaving.

Joyce reported that she is looking into a new product offered by AmericanWest Bank and provided a written explanation to council.  It would earn a higher interest on some of the money currently held at the Investment Pool.  It would be FDIC insured, thus approved by the State Auditor’s Office.  This will, however be confirmed directly.  Information will be presented next year for council consideration.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:   Councilmember O’Neill MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed.  Councilmember Milano seconded the motion.  Councilmember Wekenman asked for clarification on two of the bills.  Motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURN:   Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:50 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:
Claims Paid      1897-1932           $8,816.70
Payroll Paid      1872 – 1896
and EFT payroll transaction     $41,080.11


APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________