February 28, 2006


February 28, 2006

CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Michael Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:00PM

ROLL CALL: Council members present were: Council members present were: Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Andy O’Neill; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook; and Rick Wekenman. Also present were: Joyce Beeson, Clerk-Treasurer; Byron Hodges, Public Works Superintendent; Bev Pearce, Deputy Clerk; Police Chief Neumann; Officer Wright; Caitlyn McGehee; Sandra Schorzman; Melvin F Spencer; Thinh Nguyen.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Correction to the minutes: Committee Reports-Streets and Sidewalks: Council Member Bagott reported that the “committee” changed to “Chair Bagott, Mayor Echanove and Clerk-Treasurer Beeson met with”.  Second change: The “committee” change to “the group”. Norm Schorzman MOVED to approve the minutes as amended of the Regular Council Meeting of February 14, 2006. Jeff Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

  OPEN FORUM : No discussion

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT : written report submitted by Byron Hodges

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT: written report submitted by Chief Neumann

The chief added that he attended an L.E.O.P. meeting.  A wide range of topics covered including homeland security funding, and emergency management within the county.  Money is spent on infrastructure, towers, and radios.  Questions about how money is being spent were discussed.  The chief explained a proposition on the ballot for March 14th voting.  This is to increase sales tax within Whitman County by a one tenth of one percent levy. The hope is to generate about $300,000 per year, which would support the local public service communications.  The Mayor asked the council if they wished to write a letter of support for this tax levy.  Council Member Bailey MOVED to allow the council to write a letter of support to the county commissioners.  Council Member O’Neill seconded.  The motion carried unanimously. The chief has placed articles in the Boomerang about the new police department vehicles and informing citizens about cleaning up their properties this spring.  Officer Wright has a guaranteed position at the police academy in Seattle on April 12.  He is on stand by for a March date, if his doctor gives approval and there is still an opening.  The city received a nuisance complaint for 555 E Union Street .  The police department has acted upon the complaint and has spoken to the renter.  The police department has been working with the renter and spoken to the property owner about what would have to be done to answer this complaint.  Surrounding home owners are concerned and the police department is staying on top of this issue.

BUILDING INSPECTOR REPORT: Dan reported that he is working on several permits at this time.  He is keeping busy and continues with his certification process.  Last year he acquired 5 certifications.  The Mayor pointed out to council that the Building Department paid for itself with the income from fees.  Dan added that he hopes to continue with that progress.  Dan also reported that he informed the property owners who were working on a building demolition about asbestos abatement and the requirements. This process is to protect a contractor, property owner and anyone who may be working around potential asbestos materials.


JOINT FIRE BOARD AND EMS: Council Member Wekenman reported that a motion came before the JFB to name the Public Safety Building after William A. Wolf.  The naming of this building would not only honor Bill himself, but his family, who have given so much to the community.  Council Member Schorzman MOVED to ratify the JFB motion to rename the Public Safety Building .  Council Member Snook seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.

Fire Chief Bagott is working on a Homeland Security grant in the amount of $275,000 to purchase a new fire truck, replacing the 1974 Dodge.  Rick asked Clerk Beeson about a possible budget amendment for the DNR grant.  Beeson stated that the Joint Board Fund – Capital outlay, county share would need to be amended, while the cities equipment fund is good.  Chief Bagott is working with the surrounding communities on a mutual assistance program.  The JFB is supporting the March 14 levy.  On Friday, April 21 at the Moose Lodge in Pullman there will be a fund raising benefit for the son of Fire Chief Lester Erwin, who is battling cancer.  The community is helping the family by raising funds for medical costs.

OLD BUSINESS:           

A.     Brownfields Update

The Mayor reviewed for council that he and Clerk Beeson had met with a representative from the EPA at the IACC Conference last fall and discussed a possible Brownfield project in Palouse.  The EPA administers a 3 part program that can help communities and private property owners assess, clean-up and develop long-term goals of properties which potentially have had a history of use which may have contaminated the soils below the surface.  The mayor noted that the EPA is very goal oriented in helping communities with affected properties. It had also been explained to them that Brownfield properties are generally in good locations and considered prime real estate after restoration.  The mayor then asked council to authorize an application to the EPA for a site assessment of the property located at the corner of “J” and Main St. , also know as the old Conoco site. The Mayor confirmed that he has spoken to the property owner, Mr. John Sell, on two separate occasions and that he has no objections with city proceeding with an assessment and will coordinate with the EPA and the city should an application for assessment be accepted by the EPA.  Council Member Milano agrees that the clean up of this Brownfield will benefit the property owner and ultimately the community.  Council Member Wekenman MOVED to authorize the Mayor to sign the application for a Brownfields assessment.  Council Member Snook seconded the motion.  The motion carried.

B.     Conservation Planting Day

Council Member Milano reported that the tree planting is going to take place on Saturday April 15.  Local youth groups are being invited to help with this project.

C.     Chamber of Commerce Clean-up Event

Council Member Milano reported that the chamber has chosen Saturday, April 15 as the city wide clean up day.  Signup will be done at city hall.  There will be a nominal charge for hauling.  Scott Beeson and Annie Pillers will be coordinating for this project. 

D.     Cub Scouts Day Camp at City Park

The Mayor has been contacted by the Inland NW Boy Scouts Cub Scout group requesting possible to use the City park in the summer of 2007 as a day camp location.  There may be in excess of 150 scouts at such an event.  He stated that this is a good example of why the city needs an outdoor event policy in place. 

       E.  Preserve America

The Mayor received a letter from First Lady Laura Bush congratulating the city of Palouse on obtaining status as Preserve America community.  Sandy Schorzman, who spearheaded the project for the city, explained to council the process involved and the potential funding opportunities this designation offers.  When asked about local technical expertise Sandy indicated that Pat Flansburg and Janet Barstow can provide assistance through their work on the Whitman County Historical Society.


  1. Street opening request – I Street Extension

Fred Spencer has made a request for a street opening.  The reason is to provide access to property that has been sold.  The new property owners need to access their property to build on.  The application was filled out and all requirements have been met.  The Public Works Superintendent gave his approval.  The Mayor read the street building requirements to the council.  The building inspector asked if a fire hydrant was within 500 feet.  The answer was yes.  Council Member O’Neill MOVED to allow the street opening.  Council Member Snook seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.

  1. Whitman County .08 Funds

The Mayor read a letter from the Whitman County Commissioners Office stating that $100,000 is available in 2006 from .08 funds.  The application for funds included the criteria that the funds be used for a public facility that creates economic development.  Up to 75% of a project could be covered.  In 2003 the city received $11,500 for the Heritage Park project. A discussion followed as to whether the proposed RV Park on West Main St. would qualify for these funds.  The deadline for making an application is March 24.  The Mayor asked if any other projects would fit the requirements.  The council discussed other possibilities, but in the end concluded that the RV Park was the best fit.

  1. Review requirements to re-establish the Planning Commission

The Mayor indicated to council his desire to re-establish and fill vacant positions on the Planning Commission.

Upon review of the cities current code it was determined that the city needs to officially put into the code books an ordinance to establish and set forth a planning commission.  The city attorney is now working on the appropriate ordinance.



Council Member Milano reported his progress with the proposed RV park on West Main St and his now pending .08 application.  He is working with Tammy Lewis of the Palouse Economic Development Committee on RV Park planning and design.  There is interest from the Palouse Lions Club to partner with the city for this project.  Byron Hodges would like to see the site designed to accommodate a new city shop as well.  The current city shop has structural issues and needs to be replaced.  Council Member Bailey asked Byron about a location for a compost pile.  Byron said he would like to see concrete flooring and barriers to keep the pile in place.

PERSONNEL & POOL : Jeff Snook – No Report

FINANCE, PROPERTY & EQUIPMENT : Norm Schorzman – No Report

POLICE, FIRE & SAFETY : Rick Wekenman
Council Member Wekenman reported that the committee met last week.  The discussion was about the new vehicles and outfitting the vehicles.  Chief Neumann is working on buying gently used equipment to keep the costs low.  The committee and police officers have been studying the old fire stations for renovations for the new police department.

There is $15,000 available for the work and the hope is to have the police in the building by the end of summer 2006.  Discussion at council continued on the ADA requirements.  Chief Neumann said that police business can be conducted anywhere.  The Chief also told the council that he is continuing with his establishment of an Explorer Post in Palouse.  The age requirement is 14 to 21 years.  Exploring gets the youth of the city involved in law enforcement, fire departments or health care.  It gives the youth a sense of community.

Council Member Bailey is working on a research for a recycle program in Palouse.  Empire Disposal does not provide enough recycle choices to benefit the entire program at this time.  A drop off location needs to be determined and security of the site needs to be addressed. 


Council Member Bagott presented the council with a design board for the Whitman Street renovation.  There needs to be a public meeting to allow for public comment.  The Mayor indicated to council that the RR tracks are owned by WSDOT and that the city will be working closely in the coming year to have the tracks either repaired or removed.  The project will be based on the idea that the tracks will be repaired by the owners.  The proposed construction date is the summer of 2007.  More discussion continued on the project.

WATER & SEWER : Andy O’Neill
Council Member O’Neill wants to meet within two weeks with Public Works Superintendent Hodges, Council Member Bailey and Milano.  He wants to look at the new street opening site and discuss other water and sewer issues.

The Mayor reported on a conference taking place in Colfax on March 29.  The discussion will be about funding partners for wastewater projects. In addition, the Upper Columbia RC & D is a federal organization that helps find funding sources for projects and our yearly dues of $120 is due.  The council gave approval to pay the dues.

The next council meeting will be held at the high school library because of the March 14 voting.  Council Members Snook, Bagott, Mayor Echanove and Deputy Clerk Pearce will not be present.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:  Norm Schorzman MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed. 

Jeff Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURN Mike Milano MOVED to adjourn. Norm Schorzman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 9:30 PM

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:

Claims Paid                   Warrants:  #          through #                   Payment: 

Payroll Paid                   Warrants:  #          through #                   Payment:

APPROVED:________________________________   ATTEST:________________________________