December 8, 2020

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting via ZOOM teleconferencing

December 8, 2020


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


ROLL CALL: Council members present: Mary Welcome; Bill Slinkard; Tim Sievers; John Snyder; Jim Fielder; Katie Cooper. Staff present: Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Public Works Supt. Mike Wolf; City Administrator Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.  


APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Welcome MOVED to approve the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of November 24, 2020. Councilmember Slinkard seconded. Motion carried. 


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


POLICE REPORT:  Chief Neumann submitted the police log.

There have been some queries about where people can legally target shoot. The Garfield Gun Club is a safe and legal place for target practice. 



No significant updates to report. Working on various year-end items. 


With the demise of the old red pickup, we will repurpose the 3rd PD patrol vehicle for use as WWTP Operator Fealy’s vehicle and also as a vehicle for parts runs. We will credit the fair market value of the vehicle to the PD Vehicle and Equipment Fund. 


CA Dixon is meeting with representatives from Ziply Fiber tomorrow. No revised timeline yet for fiber service to homes. Will have an update at our next council meeting.



New owners of 305 E. Main (old gymnasium) to present plans for the building: Connie Newman introduced the new co-owners David Birge and David Grizwald of Spokane and then gave a brief history of the building along with a slide show of the building as it currently exists. The building was originally built in 1928 as a gymnasium. There was even a roller-skating rink in the building in mid-1900’s. The building is 10,000 sf, 5,000 on each level. The new owners want to have commercial on the ground floor and luxury but affordable 1- and 2-bedroom apartments upstairs. They are working with an architect on the plans, and a structural engineer to address any structural issues to make sure the building is structurally safe and legal before moving on to the renovation. They hope to accentuate the architectural appeal and preserve the historical integrity of the building. 


Ord. No. 1002 – setting new rates for Sewer, Sewer Reserve, and sewer connection fee, effective Jan. 1, 2021

We have been talking about these increases for over a year now. This ordinance raises the fee from $250 to $1,825 to connect to the city’s sewer system. The fee has been the same for over 40 years. The committee did a lot of research on neighboring cities and towns as well as those of similar size across the state to come up with this rough market average. Additionally, the base sewer rate and the sewer reserve rate will both increase $2 per month, per unit. This increase is a necessity because it is a good faith effort to show ECY that the city is a partner for these upgrades and it is incumbent upon us to share the cost of these upgrades. We are taking appropriate steps to tackle these improvements. This ordinance also allows for sewer rate and fee increases to be done via council resolution instead of ordinance. Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 1002. Councilmember Fielder seconded. Motion carried. 


Ord. No. 1003 – setting new water overage rate and water connection fee, effective Jan. 1, 2021

This ordinance raises the fee to connect to the city’s water supply system from $200 to $1,825. The fee at other entities is $3,000 and up. The fee has been the same since its inception over 40 years ago. The committee did a lot of research on neighboring cities and towns as well as those of similar size across the state to come up with this figure. Additionally, this ordinance increases the water overage rate from $1.25 to $1.50 per each additional 100 cubic feet of water metered over the base 600 cubic feet. This shows that the city is taking steps to encourage water conversation. Base water rates are not increasing at this time. This ordinance also allows for water rate and fee increases to be done via council resolution instead of ordinance. Councilmember Sievers MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 1003. Councilmember Slinkard seconded. Motion carried. 


Ord. No. 1004 – 2020 Budget amendments for Current Expense, Cemetery, and Sewer funds

This is standard end-of-year housekeeping to address budget issues we weren’t anticipating. We had to spend some more money than anticipated for labor on cemetery upkeep. We also hired two public works assistants instead of one so there are additional labor hours. Sewer had a lift pump purchase and a lift pump repair and other outside labor issues we weren’t anticipating in 2020. But we are still in the black. Councilmember Cooper MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 1004. Councilmember Sievers seconded. Motion carried. 


Ord. No. 1005 – 2021 Annual Budget

We have some solid rollover dollars. Looking at about 1.2 million in our reserves due to good stewardship of previous years administration. We are holding tough. CA Dixon sees current expense ending where it started. Councilmember Welcome MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 1005. Councilmember Cooper seconded. Motion carried. 


Whitman County Public Works Interlocal Agreement:

This agreement is just an updated agreement of the old agreement. It allows for Whitman County to provide labor, equipment, and materials as requested by the city, at a discounted price. Whitman County is a great partner. Overwhelmingly it is streets and materials that Palouse uses them for most. The contract is indefinite. Councilmember Sievers MOVED to adopt the interlocal agreement between WC and Palouse. Councilmember Snyder seconded. Motion carried. 



Streets, Properties, & Facilities, Chair Sievers- 

Requesting to use the RV Park for a drive-in movie night on December 19th to bring some much-needed Christmas cheer to the community. The storage building will be the screen. Palouse Federated Church is loaning their local radio transmitter for the audio. This will provide a COVID-safe way for some entertainment. Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to allow the event. Councilmember Welcome seconded. Motion carried. 


Joint Fire Board, Chair Fielder-

There were 7 fire calls and 10 EMS calls in October.

As of today, EMS has had 121 calls and fire has had 54 calls. It has been a busy year.  



The Heritage Park public restrooms were temporarily closed again due to COVID concerns. They are open again. Moving forward, the bathrooms will be open seven days a week, from 8 am to 7 pm. Public Works will unlock them every morning and the PD will lock them every evening at 7 pm. The city will look into a product such as Google Lock for the doors which could then be operated remotely by the PD and PW via their smart phones.   


Emily Akin has submitted a letter of interest for the vacant spot on the Planning Commission. Mayor appointed her to the PC.


Councilmember Cooper MOVED to cancel the second meeting in December. Councilmember Fielder seconded. Motion carried.


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


The following checks are approved for payment:

Payroll Paid 11/30/2020 Ck. #11259-11268, 11291-11308 & EFT $54,293.11

Claims Paid 12/08/2020 Ck. #11290, 11309-11338 & EFT $98,538.92

VOID Ck. 11269


ADJOURN:  Councilmember Fielder MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Slinkard seconded the motion and the motion carried.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:14 PM.


APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________