February 11, 2020

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting 

February 11, 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; Steve Alred; Katie Cooper.  Staff present: Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Police Officer Joel Anderson; City Administrator Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.  

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Sievers MOVED to approve the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of January 28, 2020 as written. Councilmember Alred seconded.  Motion carried. 

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

POLICE REPORT:  Chief Neumann reported in last two weeks there have been: 

-26 calls for Palouse (including 8 gun permits, 6 extra school patrols, 1 juvenile arrest, 1 adult arrest)

-18 calls for Garfield (including 2 adult arrests in Garfield).  

These calls resulted in 16 hours of overtime to Garfield, and 19 hours of overtime to Palouse. Total on-call was 134 hours.  

-Chief wants to pursue replacing the 2007 Dodge Durango (chief’s vehicle). We’d like to keep it as a reserve vehicle though. 


Palouse residents Liz Rousseau, Arman Bohn, Jessie Twigg-Harris, Alexa Beckett-Bonner, Diane Cooper, & Aaron Flansburg all voiced their concerns about losing historic downtown buildings, in particular the privately-owned St. Elmo Building. They don’t want to see historic buildings come down if it can be prevented. To preserve and protect what is existing. They have organized a get-together to discuss the future of historic buildings, to find sources to preserve buildings that may not be worth preserving from a financial standpoint but worth preserving from a historical standpoint, perhaps working with private and public dollars. The importance of taking care of each other in the process of pursuing options was stressed. and discussions need to be positive and respectful of individual property rights. Mayor Cook appreciates the conversation and the research done to date by this group as well as CA Dixon, former mayor Echanove, the Browns (owners), previous and current councilmembers who have put in much effort on this issue. Ongoing dialogue matters as we continue to investigate.  

Aaron Flansburg thanked the Palouse Fire and EMS for a rescue last fall at the Palouse Skatepark.


CA Dixon, Mayor Cook and our wastewater engineers met with ECY eastern region on Jan 31st in Spokane to discuss the timeline and contents of our wastewater facility plan. They have set a hard deadline of March 31 for us to submit an “approvable” facility plan. This will not be a problem. We have already submitted two versions of a facility plan since last October. For the entirety of our 5-year planning process, it was understood that ECY would require us to eliminate all Dissolved Inorganic Nitrates (DIN) in our effluent to a level that is not possible with current available technology. The second piece was to reduce our effluent temperature by 2.5 degrees Celsius, and construction to address both was to be completed by the summer of 2024. It was revealed at this latest meeting that the DIN limit will be referenced in upcoming permits, but will not be required of us until 2030 or 2031. This is a major development, as the DIN limit was the much more expensive component to our wastewater facility upgrades. We will still need to provide a path to eventual compliance with our plan due on March 31, but our only required upgrades during this permit cycle will be to address the temperature of our effluent. Palouse and ECY discussed several options to reduce the temperature. A follow-up meeting with ECY is scheduled for Feb 27 in Spokane to receive concurrence that our plan is “approvable.” CA Dixon will meet with ECY funding staff this spring to determine best options for Palouse as we transition from planning to design phase for upgrades.

CA Dixon attended a conference in Olympia hosted by the Association of Washington Cities (AWC) that updates municipalities on the current legislative session and proposed bills that may have an impact: 

-HB 2570 proposes that Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU’s) be allowed outright in low density residential zones. CA Dixon relayed this proposal to the Planning Commission at their last meeting and shortly afterward received an update that cities in Whitman County would be exempt from this bill as we do not participate in the state’s Growth Management Act. Planning Commission will continue their research accordingly.

-HB 2145. Potentially increases property tax, without the vote of the people, from 1% to percentage determined by the consumer price index. Would largely mirror cost-of-living increases. Currently, municipalities can only raise general property tax by 1% each year without a levy lid lift. Tax collection can quickly fall behind as the gap between 1% and cost-of-living increase becomes greater.

-Initiative 976 capping car tab fees at $30 was passed by voters last year. This will create statewide funding shortages for street and road maintenance projects. Exact impact on municipalities has yet to be determined.

Our water system improvement engineers TD&H will be at next meeting to discuss the future of our system upgrades. TD&H is still working on the west Church Street water main. CA Dixon would like w/s committee to meet with TD&H prior to next council meeting.

The Purchase & Sale Agmt for the Brownsfield site has been signed and is with our attorney to process closing paperwork.

CA Dixon is in preliminary discussions with USDA regarding funding packages for our wastewater facility upgrades and footbridge from the far west end of Lions Club Park to Hayton Greene Park. Complete Streets Award for pedestrian access from the south hill/new developments to downtown will proceed to construction this year. 


Personnel, Chair Snyder– Committee met with CA Dixon, Mayor Cook, Chief Neumann, Garfield Mayor Pfaff, & Garfield Councilwoman Hasenoehrl to discuss the police contract and police hire.  Based on the meeting we have decided not to move forward with the police applicant. The meeting has resulted in an opportunity to gain some traction on some troubling issues.   

Water & Sewer, Chair Slinkard– Ongoing meetings regarding wastewater facility upgrades and water system. More meetings coming. City is mandated to address sewer upgrades


The application window closes Friday for the vacant council position. Two applicants thus far. 

Palouse Caboose liquor license is up for renewal. No council objections. 

Mayor Cook attended a mtg with Pullman Regional Hospital (PRH) CEO Scott Adams to discuss Palouse’s healthcare needs. Mental Health issues and advocacy, health & wellness, etc. One strategy we agreed upon is putting out a community-wide survey as to what kind of healthcare citizens want to see. PRH will assist in the process. PRH bought the former Palouse Health Clinic and will be offering health care in Palouse.

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

The following checks are approved for payment:

Payroll Paid 1/31/2020 Ck. #10631-10647 & EFT $46,625.11

Claims Paid 2/11/2020 Ck. #10648-10675 & EFT $18,774.48

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Welcome MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Alred seconded the motion and the motion carried.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:01 PM.

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________