February 25, 2020

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

February 25, 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.


The city received two applicants for the vacancy: Jim Fielder and Andres Sena. Both applicants were asked a set of questions, separately. Council went into executive session at 7:31 pm. Council reconvened at 7:41 pm.  Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to appoint Jim Fielder to council position #5. Councilmember Alred seconded and the motion carried.

SWEARING IN OF NEW COUNCILPERSON: Mayor Cook swore in Jim Fielder to city council position #5.  This term ends Dec. 31, 2020.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to approve the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of February 11, 2020 as written. Councilmember Snyder seconded.  Motion carried.

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


-Chief Neumann reported there were 20 calls for service in last two weeks: 13 in Palouse and 7 in Garfield.

-Reserve Officer Snead is done at the end of March.


Councilmember Cooper reported. Finances are all good. The new JFB secretary is Susan Lopez. There were four fire calls in January and 3 trainings. There were 14 EMS calls in January (which is high); hoping that number goes back down.


-TD&H was initially scheduled to provide council an update on water system improvements at this meeting. They are still waiting to finalize their deliverable so they will instead be invited to our March 24th meeting.

-CA Dixon, Mayor Cook, & Councilmember Slinkard as well as our wastewater engineers will be attending a mtg with ECY in Spokane on Thursday to tidy up our wastewater facility plan. We are looking for concurrence that we have an approvable facility plan.

-CA Dixon is corresponding with ECY regarding compliance of our permit with having a Level 2 operator. We are doing everything in our power to get Walter Fealy trained up but it realistically takes about three years. We had zero interest from certified Level 2 operators when our longtime operator Don Myott retired last year. ECY said we need to contract with someone to satisfy that permit obligation. They’re comfortable with our education plan but are taking a firmer position on oversight of that position. Deadline to get Level 2 operator is August 20th. The Level 2 operator will have to be on-site “regularly scheduled” as per our permit states and that person will work directly with Walter to further his training and education.

-CA Dixon is working on a USDA application for pedestrian foot bridge as a secondary piece to the Complete Streets grant providing pedestrian access from south end to downtown and city park.

-Looking at fencing for Shady Lane improvements and further leveling pad nearest foot bridge. Will get some concrete footings for fencing. Should be done by end of March if weather holds. We have funds from Whitman Co to cover this.

-Public Works is proceeding with mower upgrade for the park and cemetery as discussed during budget season last year. Councilmember Cooper MOVED to surplus the 2016, 54” Badboy mower via sealed bid with a $3200 minimum bid. Councilmember Sievers seconded. Motion carried. Money from the sale of the mower will be applied to the purchase of new mower.


Ordinance No. 990 eliminating grave liner fees: The city does not sell grave liners thus that sentence was removed from PMC 2.48.050. Councilmember Sievers MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 990. Councilmember Cooper seconded.  Motion carried.

Ordinance No. 991 clarifying that 2.48.050 is for burial costs and 2.48.060 is for cemetery plot costs: This is just a housekeeping issue to fix an error from 2001 in which the fees for burials were erroneously put in PMC 2.48.060 instead of 2.48.050. This ordinance sets everything back to rights and keeps the burial costs in 2.48.050 and puts the cost for cemetery plots back in 2.48.060. Councilmember Sievers MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 991. Councilmember Snyder seconded.  Motion carried.


Streets, Properties, & Facilities, Chair Sievers-  Committee met to discuss various items:

-Committee would like to purchase City of Palouse flags to fly downtown (there is currently one flying outside of City Hall along with American flag). Councilmember Sievers thinks it will be about $500 for those flags. There was discussion about flag-flying etiquette/laws. Councilmember Snyder MOVED to purchase up to seven City of Palouse flags. Councilmember Fielder seconded. Motion carried.

-Met with FastSigns to finish signage for the pool.

-Committee is going to have our Fire Chief & Building Inspector do another assessment on the condition of the Palouse Arms Building. Another letter needs to then be sent to the owner because it seems to have stalled. If we’re consistent with our timeline given to owner, then we need to be prepared to take the next step. Our last letter didn’t accomplish its intended goal for the building.

Policy & Administration, Chair Cooper-

Councilmember Cooper has investigated what it takes to become a Certified Local Government (CLG). It is a lengthy process, beginning with an ordinance from the city establishing a historical preservation committee and their bylaws. If Palouse gets delegation as a CLG, then qualified owners are able to apply for funds for historic preservation, surveying, etc. The hope is to have this be an empowerment tool for private owners and give them more resources to preserve their historic buildings.


-Mayor Cook is optimistic that we will get good direction at the ECY meeting on proceeding with our WW Facility Plan.

-Had a staff meeting with city supervisors about the staff evaluation process. Evaluation form is now with the personnel committee for finalization.

-Garfield Police Contract. Garfield elected to not renew the contract for policing services with Palouse. The current contract ends February 29, 2020.  However, Garfield has requested a one-month contract extension through March while they get their own policing services set up. They would pay for the additional month.  Mayor Cook would like Chief Neumann and his department to put personal differences aside and aid Garfield and its citizens for this additional month.  Chief Neumann outlined his concerns and some reasons he doesn’t want to honor their request including cost and lack of personnel. He reminded council that in 2019 Garfield said they wouldn’t be renewing so they have had 6 months to find personnel. As Chief of Police, he requests council honor the contract end date. Much discussion ensued.

Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to extend the contract through March 15th for half of Garfield’s proposed dollar amount for the month, as a measure of good faith to Garfield. Councilmember Snyder seconded. 6 ayes, 1 nay vote from Councilmember Alred.  Motion carried.

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

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      2/25/20             Ck. #10676-10696         $52,139.71

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Welcome MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Fielder seconded the motion and the motion carried.  The council meeting adjourned at 9:08 PM


APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________