February 24, 2009

February 24, 2009

CALL TO ORDER:   Mayor Michael Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:03 PM.

ROLL CALL:   Council members present:  Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Andy O’Neill; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook.  Absent:  Rick Wekenman.  Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Building Inspector Dan Gladwill; and Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.  Public present: Pete Hertz; Jana Mathia; Steve McGehee; Dixie Reber (7:15).

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Milano MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of February 10, 2009.  Councilmember Bailey 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.
At the emailed request of Nicole Wood, Councilmember O’Neill read in its entirety an email from Nicole sent to Clerk Beeson.  To summarize, she wants to develop her lots without complying with the state and international fire codes as required by the city.  She goes on to say she will comply if the city buys her vacated portions of 7th, D, & C Streets for $42,000.00, otherwise the city gets no road or water easements from her.  Water & Sewer Committee Chair Andy O’Neill recommended not pursuing purchasing the property.  City staff has spent a great deal of time on this request over the past year.  Nicole’s proposal is to run a 2” line instead of 6” to this home.  That size of water line will not service a fire hydrant.  Code requirements are fire hydrant, easement issues, access issues, sewer hook-up, and other important issues.  Supt. Griffin stressed that it’s not the city’s code; this is a state fire-code and IFC.  This homesite is at least 1,000’ from the nearest hydrant and we have to abide by the law.  The committee isn’t opposed to developing; in fact we encourage it.  But in doing so we want to ensure that in 5, 10, or 20 years, whoever buys that property will have adequate water and sewer service.  Over the last 6 months it has been recommended to Nicole Wood and Jim Farr numerous times to hire an engineer.  They don’t want to do that.  Until the codes are followed, it is not in the city’s best interest to pursue this.  The mayor recommends following Councilmember & Water/Sewer Committee Chair O’Neill’s lead on this.  Councilmember Bailey pointed out that there are certain minimum standards that must be followed and we’ve been very clear on that since day one.  The request is denied as presented.  Steve McGehee asked how many potential sites are up there.  The land was platted over 100 years ago, so there are potentially 32, but the reality is 6-8 homes. Councilmember O’Neill encourages anyone who has questions about this issue to contact him and he’ll be happy to share his information.

BI REPORT:   Building Inspector Gladwill was glad to report that Palouse got a permit for a new stick built house and pole barn already this year.  He’s been busy following state legislature this year.  Otherwise, it’s normal work.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:   Superintendent Griffin reported on normal operations.  PW has been trimming trees for sight visibility at intersections.  They’re trying to clean up the sand on the streets.  The chipper was in Palouse two weeks ago and it’s now almost full again.  PW is attending a composting class tomorrow and they all attended a pesticide class last week to keep their education credits current.  The RV Park is still too wet to work on.  Palouse Conservation District (PCD) planted grass seed at the former mobile home park.  PCD board is purchasing another memorial bench for our use.  We need to decide if they’re going to be permanent or something that can be moved.  If they’re permanent, we’re not sure how they’ll hold up in a flood.

DOH is requiring us to come up with a water conservation plan to show how we’re going to save water; etc.  All of the water pumped vs. all the water sold has to be accounted for without a loss of more than 10%.  We have to be within that 10% and we’re right at that number.  Leaking pipes, fire hydrant use, non-metered water being used (swimming pool), are examples that account for the inconsistencies.  We had a 12% reduction in water use last year due to fixing the leak on the F Street Bridge, metering the PD, etc.  For the most part, as far as the lines in town, there are some old lines and there are leaks, but Palouse is really fortunate we had foresight of Neil Myott and Byron Hodges.  They spent a lot of time updating the lines.  When we get it finished we’ll have to have a public hearing.  It should be done within a month.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:   Chief Neumann reported they had a Civil Service Commission meeting on February 9th.  Anne Larison resigned.  We need to find a replacement.  Officer Merry is approaching his 1-year anniversary at which time he’ll fall under the civil service protection.

It has been brought to the PD’s attention concern over vehicles left parked in areas not adjacent to the automobile owner’s property or any easements/rights-of-ways they may have.  Chief Neumann explained that alleyways and non-improved right-of-ways can look and be maintained like someone’s yard but are actually city right-of-way whereas someone else can park their car.  The concern is that these cars don’t fall under nuisance codes or under abandoned vehicle codes.  Chief Neumann will continue to research this concern and report back to council.

JOINT BOARD FIRE & EMS UPDATE :  Jeff Snook reported we had no fire calls and 7 EMS calls in January.  We had one mutual aid call in February to Pullman in which we used our new pumper tank.  We were able to deliver 15,000 gallons of water to the fire.  We have 3 or 4 potential new firefighters; we’re currently down to about 18.  We try to run 23-25 on the force.  We have not heard any more on the $50,000 assistance to firefighters grant to help purchase new turnouts.  EMS is busy trying to get done the finishing touches on the PSB so we can have the formal dedication on May 21st.     


Discussion on proposed changes to PMC, Title 17 – Zoning: Councilmember Bailey outlined the proposed changes to the zoning by the Planning Commission.   1.  West side of Cove Road, between Union and Holyoke, changed from commercial to R2; 2.  West side of Hwy 27 south changed from Commercial/Light Industrial to Light Industrial; 3.  East side of HWY 27 South changed from Ag to R2; 4.  Designated Critical Areas and Parks as Open Space.  Changes were made to zoning definitions as well.  Councilmember Bailey thinks the biggest change is this definition does not allow for multi-family dwellings within an R1 area.  R1 would require a variance for new multiplexes; it’s a conditional use as opposed to an outright use.  Minimum new plat size will be 7,260 feet, basically 75’x100’.  Currently anything that’s already platted at 5,000’ (50×100) is still okay (grandfathered in).  Anything new has to be 7,260 or essentially 6 houses per block.  A public hearing will be scheduled soon.

Potential Brownfields Project Update :  John Means from DOE notified us our application is still in the process and he has no word for us yet.

April 11th is our tree planting date at the Palouse River Walk (MH park).


PARKS, CEMETERY, & BUILDINGS:  Councilmember Milano reported on the national scenic byway grant information.  He’d like to submit it with the council’s approval.  The byway grant is 80%, with a 20% match. The total cost is $612,900, with local match $122,580.  Of that, we’ve requested $119,080 from Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office, $1,000 from Little Peoples Park Project, and only $2,500 actually coming from the City of Palouse.  This is due March 2nd.  The fed grant application is due April 1st.

The bridges cost approximately $1,000/foot.  I padded our estimate.  FEMA is going to require certain elevations over floodwaters.  We’re going to have to do a lot of fill or buy some elevation so we have to have flexibility in the budget for that.  Lions club are the owners of that park.  We have a signed purchase agreement from the Lions Club to essentially purchase that or have the right-of-way.  DOT thought that would be acceptable.  Mike will talk with public works about this project.

Councilmember O’Neill MOVED and second by Councilmember Snook authorizing Councilmember Milano to submit this grant to multiple state agencies. Councilmember O’Neill amended his motion and Snook seconded to include Councilmember Milano as representative on this project.  Motion carried unanimously.

PERSONNEL & POOL:   Councilmember Snook reported he is going to be looking at our personnel leave policy.

Kasey Manning will NOT be able to be the pool manager again this summer so we’ll be working on that asap.  He asked her for recommendations.

STREETS & SIDEWALKS :  Councilmember Bagott asked where we’re at on the flags for the intersections.  Blockwatch has expressed interest in purchasing those.
We received 5 RFQ’s for H Street.  We’ve tentatively narrowed it down to three.  We want to hold some interviews with the engineering firms asap.

Reminded council and staff we need to watch our spending as state-shared revenues are much less than expected.  Last year we budgeted for $34,000 and actually only got $26,000.

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 O’Neill MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:33 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:

Claims Paid     1101-1118       $16,134.95