February 10, 2009

February 10, 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; Jeff Snook; Rick Wekenman.  Absent:  Norm Schorzman.  Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Officer Brian Dentler; and Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.  Public present:  Scott Beeson; Dixie Reber; Steve McGehee.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Fix the typo under Mayor’s Report from “provides” to “providers”.  Councilmember Snook MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of January 27, 2009.  Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

OPEN FORUM The Mayor states that the council will not entertain any comments regarding personnel issues of city staff.
Scott Beeson was representing the Palouse Lion’s Club.  They would like permission to use Shady Lane during Haunted Palouse to do a Haunted Forest.  To keep people from walking across the street, they would pick people up in small trailers with 4’ sides pulled by 4-wheelers and make a complete loop.  The riders stay on the trailer the whole time.  At issue for the city council is permission to use the city right-of-way, and the walking trail.  Supt. Griffin doesn’t foresee any problems from a trail point of view.  If it’s a go, PW will need to do some trail work in advance.  Lions Club and the Chamber cover the insurance costs for the event.  Scott will bring all questions and concerns back to the Lions club to discuss.  Lions will talk with the PD directly about logistics and traffic and safety concerns.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:   Superintendent Griffin reported on normal work and maintenance.  PW attended a pesticide class to keep their permits updated.  Dwayne spoke with First Step about the shed they want to replace.  Dwayne checked with the BI and all the codes and everything is fine.  It will be color-coordinated with our building already there.  Councilmember Milano doesn’t foresee any problems with other service providers wanting the same option.

The Heyton Greene sign is fixed but it still needs some work.

Dixie Reber asked if the city is involved in a beneficial bug program with the DOE.  No, we are not.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:   Officer Dentler reported on the police log.  The new car is now in service and being used by Officer Dentler.  He said it’s very nice to use and gets 30%-40% better fuel economy.  The Garfield vehicle is being used as a scare vehicle in Garfield to keep people from speeding.

The PD brought in 6 juveniles who had civil service hours to serve and had them sweep gravel off sidewalks, etc.

There was a Civil Service Commission meeting last night.  Dixie Reber asked if there were elections.  No.  It was explained that the elections were held at the very first meeting.

Update on using county’s RFQ roster:  Darcie and Joyce went to Colfax Thursday to obtain a copy of the professional services roster for Whitman County.  As it turns out, the county wants to develop an Interlocal Agreement prior to the small communities utilizing it.  The city doesn’t have time to wait for that process so Joyce placed an ad in the Daily News and we’re building our own roster and we’ll use it for the H Street Project and maybe the Brownfields project.  Perhaps down the road we can work with the county.  Mayor read the RFQ the city placed in the Daily News.  The closing day to receive RFQ’s is February 17th.


PARKS, CEMETERY, & BUILDINGS:   Councilmember Milano reported he spoke with Dave Deane at DOT regarding some questions for placing the pedestrian bridge from Lions Club Park to Heyton Greene Park.  Questions like does the city have to own the property where they put the bridge (i.e. the Lions Club Park)?  Not necessarily if the property owner gives us right of way.  If not okay, can the city purchase that portion with the grant money with the option to lease that land back to the Lions?  Councilmember Milano is awaiting answers.  There was also a question regarding ADA access on Hall Street.  The state will give us a ruling on that as it pertains to federal funding.

SEWEDA contacted the city.  Apparently they are now accepting project applications that are 1 to 2 years away.  So they’re looking for projects to put on that list for economic stimulus projects.  The motivation is getting contractors back to work on projects, infrastructure, etc.  Some project suggestions were:  Fishers Addition sewer extension; West Whitman Street; the Bridge St. bridge sewer line and the actual bridge itself.  That bridge has been deemed “functionally obsolete” by the state.  Mike will investigate and make some contacts.

Supt. Griffin brought up the handrail for the walking bridge.  The city budgeted for its repair and it has become a safety issue.  Councilmember Milano told him to move forward on the repair.  The lowest bid we received was from Palouse Welding.  It would be steel and their price includes installation.  The existing rail is in the concrete and will be removed flush to the sidewalk surface. Supt. Griffin also brought up the pool furnace/boiler which was also budgeted for replacement.  He will re-solicit  bids.  We’ll move forward unless the bids come in over what we budgeted.

POLICY & ADMINISTRATION :  Councilmember Bailey reported the PC met and discussed the zoning map.  They’re regrouping and looking at their comprehensive plan.  They should have a good, solid draft by late spring or early summer.

PERSONNEL & POOL:   Councilmember Snook reported that he will be starting to look at pool staffing soon.  He’s optimistic the pool manager is returning.

STREETS & SIDEWALKS :  Councilmember Bagott is just beginning to look into Mark Bailey’s request to have some sort of safety precautions put in on F Street where children cross the highway to and from school.  She will take some pictures and map it out and talk to the WSDOT and see what happens.  The objective is to slow people down, either via a crosswalk, signs, etc.

Councilmember Milano suggested a good location for a memorial bench would be on H Street hill.

Mayor explained that when an employee wants to take more than 40 hours of annual leave at one time, council has to approve it.  Chief Neumann requested to use 60 of his hours in one block.  Councilmember Snook MOVED and Councilmember Milano seconded to grant 60 hours of annual leave at one time.  He has accrued all the time.  At issue is using it at one time rather than using 2 or 3 days here and there.  Officer Dentler said the schedule is all covered.  Motion carried unanimously.  In light of that, it was noted that when Deputy Clerk Thompson went out of the country for 10 days last month, council was not aware this was to be pre-approved.  Council retroactively approved.

Another issue is carrying over annual leave.  City code says that employees need to use all their hours within their annual year.  Any hours that pass the annual leave are lost.  Supt. Griffin explained that one problem with that is that a PW employee had vacation planned with his family in December.  The storm hit and he opted to stay and help with the plowing.  So he potentially loses his vacation for the sake of the city.  Personnel committee and Policy committee will look into this further.  If the policy is changed it will require an ordinance.

The Mayor contacted the Dept. of Ecology, FCAAP program about the possibility of extending the Mobile Home Acquisition Project to include the Brownfields property.  DOE responded that FCAAP funds can be used for open space projects and if the reuse of that project was for non-permanent structures only, DOE might be able to help out. FCCAP funding was perfect for the mobile home park, but maybe not the best fit for this site.  Reuse options mentioned at the 3 previous Brownfields meetings include retail, housing, green space with river access, a skate park and light manufacturing.  It was decided to hold off and see where future public discussions will take the project.  Councilmember Wekenman said we’re going to need some of that FCAAP money at the MH Park.

The city has not heard back about the Integrated Planning Grant (IPG) at this time.  If successful, the mayor would like the Brownfields committee to start reviewing qualifications for professional services at their next meeting and report their results back to the council for action.

Anne Larison resigned from the Civil Service Commission.  We need to put an ad out to get a replacement.

McLeod’s Market liquor license has been approved.

Rosalia mayor called.  They want to purchase a sewer camera.  He’d like to have 3 or 4 cities/towns share the expense.  Supt. Griffin doesn’t think Palouse has a use for it; they usually just rent from Roto-Rooter.  Dwayne will talk to Don.

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

ADJOURN:   Councilmember Milano MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember O’Neill seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:23 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:

Claims Paid     1052 – 1100    $13,415.94
Claims Void:    1053, 1069, 1098, 1099