February 28, 2017

DRAFT ONLY.  Without council review or approval.

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

February 28, 2017

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

ROLL CALL:  Council members present:  Doreen Hanson; Bill Slinkard; Mike Hicks; Rick Wekenman; Mark Wilcomb; Bob Stout.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to excuse Councilmember Estes’ absence.  Councilmember Hanson seconded and the motion carried unanimously.  Staff present:  Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Officer Joe Handley; Clerk-Treasurer Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of February 14, 2017.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Supt. Griffin submitted a written report.  Dwayne, Don, and Marc had to clean out the sewer lift station at the sewer plant because it was clogged with things that should not be flushed.  We’re going to have a major catastrophe down there if people don’t stop flushing certain items.  Council discussed how we can make people understand the seriousness of this issue.  We’ve sent multiple notices on the list serve, put messages on the utility bills, and put signs about town.  Palouse has been very lucky so far that our sewer plant hasn’t had a major malfunction due to these things.  Last fall non-flushable items burnt up the motor at the lift station by the F Street bridge.  That was a $4,800 fix.  At that time public works put signs on the doors in that neighborhood. Council asked DC Thompson to draft a notice to be posted on every household on the sewer system about what not to flush and the problems being caused.  People CANNOT flush wipes of ANY kind (even if they say “flushable”), condoms, feminine hygiene products, diapers, hair, and more; please put those things in the trash not the toilet.

Marc Arrasmith is working on repairing the clock tower downtown.  It needs a special part.

Dwayne ordered a new blade for plowing snow.  This winter we’ve logged over 1600 miles plowing snow.  We may keep the old blade as a backup for the other pickup in a pinch.

City received a call Sunday about a smell of burning wires at Heritage Park.  Dwayne went down to check two times on his day off and couldn’t find anything.

There has been some misuse of the Heritage Park bathrooms.  Supt. Griffin will report to police every time so they can help.



Officer Handley works in a few different jurisdictions and Palouse streets are great comparatively.  He attributes our lack of weather-related accidents to Supt. Griffin and public works for their great job keeping all our roads clear of snow and ice.


There was one fire call in January, 1 YTD.  There were two crew meetings in February.

The radio simulcast that has been promised for years is up and running.  It works well and Whitcom is largely happy with it.  It will really help us in any large fire situations.

Air packs will need to be replaced over the next couple of years.  The tanks will be 15 years old mid-2018 and 15 years is the upper limit; after 15 years it’s pushing major liability and reliability issues.  They’re expensive, approximately $2500 each.

There were five EMS calls in January.

EMS has started using Washington state electronic reporting systems.  It’s mandatory state-wide and very time-consuming.  One option is to subscribe to additional software to report in the field and then upload but that will require a tablet.

EMS had an advanced airway class here recently to comply with the latest state standards.

We received approval for our $1,200 pre-hospital grant for cones, vests, etc.

The Palouse Planning Commission is still working on whether or not to allow First Step to put in a 40’ radio communications tower by the fire station.  There are many factors to consider and if allowed it will require changes to Palouse Municipal Code.  The Planning Commission will report back to the city what they want/decide.


Our snow removal salary budget has maxed out.

The advertising for a call for contractors for the West Whitman Street project opens March 1st.  Bids close on March 29th.

CT Dixon has been trying to gather additional information for our reserve fund balance ordinance that the auditors requested we implement.  He has spoken with other city clerks and they’re all in the same boat.

PCI was the subcontractor for our solar panels.  We can’t gauge the solar panels energy output until either a radio tower is installed, or PCI installs a separate device for roughly $500 if we don’t want to wait for a tower.  They have contracted with us to monitor the solar panels for five years; they offered to extend this service another 5 years for $300. CT Dixon will gather more information as to what exactly is being provided for this fee.  They guarantee a minimum energy output for 25 years.  If we don’t hit that mark they pay the difference.  Based on how long it may take to get a communications tower installed, if at all, Councilmember HICKS MOVED to authorize PCI to install their communication device, provided that a one-time fee of roughly $500 is all that is required.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.  CT Dixon will talk to PCI tomorrow.

CT Dixon attended a SEWEDA meeting last week.  Their Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (CEDS) document is scheduled to be released at the end of March. When local cities/jurisdictions apply for grants and loans for various projects, state agencies review this document to verify the entity’s prior intent to update/improve said project. Our portion of this document was outdated so CT Dixon is updating it and will send it to SEWEDA once all suggestions have been brought to his attention. Examples include: The city’s intent to update our water system plan to include reservoir (5-year goal) as well as a new sports complex for football, baseball, softball, soccer (20-year goal).

CT Dixon will be attending a Complete Streets workshop put on by the Palouse Regional Transportation Planning Organization (PRTPO). TIB, who administers the Complete Streets grants, will be there along with WSDOT.  They give out grants to small cities who have a Complete Streets ordinance, which is a policy that states the city intends to integrate all modes of transportation and aesthetics into city streets.  He will attend the workshop to develop that ordinance to hopefully get more funding for our streets.

CT Dixon is also attending an annual report workshop in April. Annual reports are due to the auditor’s office May 31st.



Ordinance No. 952 – Fire Equipment Reserve Fund budget amendment: 

Councilmember Wekenman reported.  Council established a reserve fund for fire equipment (10% of the property tax collected or just under about $20,000 a year).  There is $67,000 in that fund currently.  This is a potential year to upgrade the 1987 tanker which is the oldest vehicle in the fleet. The current 30-year mark is a good time to start looking at replacing vehicles so that we don’t fall behind as trucks age.  Chief Bagott is asking for an additional $50,000 from the reserve fund for a total of $52,000.  Rural will match that so we will have as much as $104,000 to purchase a new truck.  There will need to be in place a budget amendment to allow expenditures from the reserve fund so the money is available in case a truck becomes available.  The 1987 one will be sold once a replacement is purchased.  Mayor read aloud the ordinance in its entirety.  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 952 as written.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.


League of Women Voters (LWV) of Pullman reporting on their study of poverty in Whitman County.  Mary Collins from LWV reported on their findings.  Their study looked at 8 areas:  Food security, housing, healthcare, transportation, education, eldercare, legal services, & childcare.  Some of these issues are concerns in Palouse.  Mary Collins touched on some of the many great programs available to people.  Discussion ensued.  Please see the results of their survey and important information at www.LWVpullman.org.  There is also a copy available to read at City Hall.

Aaron Flansburg reporting on the skatepark.  In 2016 they saved and collected donations through fundraisers.  Since February 2016 we’ve spent about $4,400 and taken in about $51,000.  That includes a $15,000 grant from the Tony Hawk Foundation.  We’re trying to finish the skatepark portion by mid to late summer.  Last year we hired no labor, it was all done by volunteers: three from Palouse and the rest from surrounding areas.  We’ve partnered with the Palouse Arts Council to paint a mural at the skatepark.  The skatepark committee wants to establish handicap access on the lower level of the skatepark and the upper garden area to comply with ADA.  Once the skatepark is completed the next phase will be the 12’ x 80’ gardens overlooking the skatepark and Palouse.  There will be a 52” fence between the garden and the skatepark to keep people safe.  There will be six benches going in the gardens as well.  Aaron thanked the police for keeping an eye on things at the construction site.


Mayor appointed Councilmember Stout to the Joint Fire Board along with Councilmembers Wekenman and Wilcomb.

Michelle Bly (TD&H Engineering) has applied for a pre-construction grant on the city’s behalf for a proposed water tank/reservoir on the city’s south hill.

MFA came last week to conduct their testing at the Brownfields site. If test comes back clean, only two more are required by the Dept of Ecology to greenlight area for future development.

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

The following checks are approved for payment:

Payroll Paid      2/28/17 Ck. #8132-8147 & EFT              $41,083.67

Claims Paid      2/28/17 Ck. #8148-8162 & EFT              $  2,163.40

VOID lost check #8029.  Replaced with check # 8148

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:51 PM.




APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________