February 12, 2008

February 12, 2008

CALL TO ORDER:  Mayor Michael Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:02 PM.

ROLL CALL:  Council members present were:  Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Andy O’Neill; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook.  Absent was:  Rick Wekenman.  Also present were: Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Attorney Stephen Bishop; and Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.  Public present were Cindi Lepper from Whitman County Solid Waste; County Commissioner Greg Partch; Don Myott; Holly White; Heather McGehee; Tom Wolry; and Pete Hertz.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Bailey MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of January 22, 2008.  Councilmember Bagott 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.

Don Myott spoke about the spring tree planting.  Americorp is proposing 195 plants this year.  The cost is $692.50.  Palouse Conservation District (PCD) is running out of their grant money and Don would like to use the $400 voted on in 2006 to help defray PCD’s costs.  PCD has covered all the costs the last two years.  The planting is tentatively scheduled for April 12th.  Marie Dymkoski will head up the volunteers.  Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to reauthorize the $400 to help pay for trees by the wastewater facility.  Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Dwayne Griffin submitted a written report.  Pete Hertz praised PW on their excellent snow removal work.  Dwayne reported this year’s heavy snow has been hard on their equipment.  The truck is showing some wear and that thought should be given to replacing it in the next year or two.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:  Things are going as well as expected with all the snow.  There have been minimum accidents in Palouse.  The current PD Policy & Procedures Manual is outdated; approx 15 years old.  Chief Neumann revised it following state procedures.  Officers will now be able to reference the manual when any questions with law enforcement arise.  It includes our goals, mission statement, as well as procedures.  Council member Bailey said he has reviewed about 60% of it and once complete the Policy Committee will meet to discuss whether or not to present it to council for adoption.  The city received roughly $1,300 in grant money from WASPC for updating the cities speed reading equipment.  In regards to the South River Road addressing project; we sent out  letters to affected property owners which explain why this was necessary and what their new address is.  We’ve had two city staff meetings addressing any flooding concerns.  The snow is thawing slowly and the consensus is there is no imminent fear of flooding.  Private individuals and businesses will need to develop their own action plan.


  • Award bid for Variable Frequency Drive for booster pump .  PW Supt. Griffin reported that we received three bids:  Strom Electric $8,200; AES $13,886; and N.A. Degerstrom $8,408.40.  Strom Electric is the lowest bid.  Griffin explained that this will pay for itself within 18 months just in the electrical costs.  This drive is compatible with our old pump so if it fails we can put our old one back in while it is being repaired.  Councilmember O’Neill MOVED that we proceed with accepting the bid from Strom Electric for the Variable Frequency Drive for $8,200.  Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  • Update from County Commissioner Greg Partch :  The snow is a big issue for the county as well.  Things are going as well as can be expected.  Commissioner Partch attended the Legislature Rally last week and took a letter stating that the county spent $240,000 in December alone.  They’re estimating $500,000-$600,000 for January.  In prior years their annual budget was $250,000/year.  We’d like funding for the counties that are impacted.  The Governor’s declaration of emergency only allows us to bypass the bidding system for help.  But there’s no financial help available.  It does help the schools so they don’t have to make up the storm days.

    Commissioner Partch sits on the Transportation Improvement Board (TIB).  He presented a copy of Palouse’s Whitman Street final scored application.  TIB has a project book which includes all submitted projects which includes 500-600 applications.  TIB meets regionally every month.  We’re meeting in Pullman May 29 & 30th  and representative for the city are encouraged to attend to say thank you to TIB.

    Whitcom has stayed very busy in the last month.  In October the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) opened for the first time.  It performed an exercise on an epidemic influenza outbreak in which they were judged by the state.  They got one of the highest ratings of anyone in the whole state.  It is a great asset for Whitman County.  If Council would like to see it just request a tour.   We’re working on reverse 9-1-1.    Reverse 9-1-1 allows 10,000+ phone calls simultaneously.  Commissioner Partch added his thanks to all volunteers, including Pete Hertz who sits on the solid waste committee.

  • Cindi Lepper, Whitman County ?????? to discuss Ecology grants :  Cindi reported that our 2008 sub-grant application for recycling scored very high, however it was not awarded to Palouse this year, it was awarded to Oakesdale.  Cindi suggests resubmitting.  Councilmember Bailey asked if the additional funding is coming from Ecology.  No, there is supplemental funding from Ecology available in July.  Most of the awarded projects don’t look like they’re going to get spent out so some funding may still be available.  There was a press release from Ecology last week talking about air quality money separate from the funds available through her program.

    The inter-local agreement gave strength to the application for a county-wide chipper.  They were awarded the grant for a chipper and funding for a full-time employee to run the equipment.  This employee will maintain schedules, transport, and operate the chipper.  Each city will be asked to provide manpower on the days the chipper will be operating.    Superintendent Griffin stated that the city will be able to use all the chips produced.

    Cindi explained that they are advertising to see what kind of interest we can get from Whitman County residents for having a vehicle crusher come to area communities.  The goal is not to create work for community law enforcement; the only participation we need from law enforcement is to run the VIN numbers.  The Department of Health does the enforcements for solid waste violations.  We would need a city owned lot for the cars to be left on until the crusher comes in, which would be no more than 30 days.  The crusher will use their own tow trucks and trailers to haul the junk cars from people’s houses who have called in to participate.  The car crusher will handle all release forms.  Once the junk cars are on the city lot, they become abandoned vehicles.  Rural residents would be able to participate.  Ecology will do all the advertising.  The car crusher removes all the tires, glass and fluids.  The lot will be left perfectly clean.  Council agreed they would consider this request.

  • Award bid for lawnmower bid.   Marc Arrasmith has worked hard and done a lot of research on zero-turn mowers.  He received six bids.  _Fill in with names and bid amounts .    Griffin is hoping to be able to run this mower for three years before it is turned.  We will have to wait and see how many hours it will actually get in a year since the other mower will be kept for leaves, spraying and other duties.  Marc estimates this new mower will cut his mowing time by at least 1/3.  Councilmember O’Neill asked if the budget allows for the mower, the VFD, and the pickup?  Joyce budgeted for all three.  Mayor stated we keep increasing the amount of grass we maintain and with the RV Park coming, there will be even more.  Councilmember Snook asked about the smaller deck size.  Marc prefers the 48” deck for maneuvering in the cemetery.  Marc thinks Guy’s Outdoor Equipment has the best bid.  Guy’s Outdoor bid is for a Toro.  Councilmember Bailey MOVED to accept Guy’s Outdoor Equipment bid for the Z453 for $6,880.77.  Councilmember Schorzman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
  • 2007 Year End Treasurer Report .  Mayor is pleased with the year end number.  Nothing went over budget and we’re not overspending.  Clerk-Treasurer Beeson always budgets the revenues low and the expenditures high; it helps in maintaining a healthy ending balance.


Councilmember Milano stated the park equipment fundraising leader, Shelley Goertzen, said their group would like to have pour-in-place ground cover under the new playground equipment.  The cost of the material is estimated at $10,000.  We’ll look for sources of funding to help the group pay for that material if possible.  Thankfully, the group has done a great job of fundraising so they may already have a good source for match monies if needed.  Wood chips and peas gravel aren’t preferred because of the maintenance issues and they wash away when the park is flooded.

PERSONNEL & POOL :  We met last night and have been discussing a replacement for our second officer.  We talked with Joe Merry from Garfield.  He expressed interest in joining our force and moving to Palouse.  He’s looking at a 4 or 5 year commitment.  He’s academy trained and has a full background in police work.  There was a follow-up interview with the Mayor.  The committee unanimously agreed Joe Merry was a good hire.  Mayor said he met with Marshall Joe Merry this evening.  He’s a very good candidate.  The Mayor stated his concern for hiring someone away from our sister-city, Garfield, but this opportunity has come up.  Mayor told Marshall Merry that pending background checks and an internal investigation of his application, the Mayor would entertain a motion hiring Marshall Merry as Palouse’s second officer.  Councilmember Snook MOVED to hire Joe Merry as Palouse’s second officer.  Councilmember Bagott seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  Mayor reminded Council of all the challenges they’ve had in the past finding willing, qualified officers to commit.
POLICY & ADMINISTRATION:  Planning commission is in favor of reimbursing the UI Landscape Architecture Department $125 to cover supplies for their mobile home park landscaping proposals.

STREETS & SIDEWALKS :  Munir and Paul Weber have just a few things to iron out before the Whitman Street construction phase is ready to go out to bid. We’re almost there.

The Mayor and Councilmember Snook missed the AWC conference due to the storms.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:  Councilmember Snook MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed.  Councilmember Bagott seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURN:  Councilmember O’Neill MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Bagott seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:26 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:
Claims Paid      Warrant # 12875                                    $5,220.00
Claims Paid      Warrant # 12876-12915                           $30,048.61
Payroll Paid      Warrant #6748-6769                               $30,702,03

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________