CITY OF PALOUSE
REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING-DRAFT ONLY
January 11, 2005
CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Michael Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:00 PM
ROLL CALL: Council members present were: Norm Schorzman, John Sell, Jeff Snook, Linda Dillard, Dave Willmore, Steve McGehee, and Rick Wekenman. Also present were: Joyce Beeson, Clerk-Treasurer; Bev Pearce, Deputy City Clerk; Byron Hodges, Public Works Superintendent; Randy Zehm, Police Chief; Greg Pearce; Linda Snook; David Caudle; Doug Willcox; Thinh Nguyen; Janet Barstow; Marc Van Harn.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Rick Wekenman MOVED to approve the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of December 14, 2004. Jeff Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
OPEN FORUM :
- MARC VAN HARN-spring car show
Marc introduced himself and explained his current business involvements. He wishes to put together a car show on June 4, 2005. He asks for the city’s help in providing information as to permits and such to use the downtown streets to stage this event. He requested that two blocks be blocked off for this event, from highway 272 to Hall Street. He is organizing a beer garden and dance; this would be a one day event.
Council member Willmore asked Marc if the streets he was requesting to be blocked have been blocked for other events. Marc answered yes, Haunted Palouse, Palouse Days and Pedal Power Day. Marc also asked if the green strip across the street from the city park, where the old flat house used to be, could be used as a camping site. Council Member Willmore asks if more restrooms would be needed. Marc answered no; the event would not be big enough to bring in additional restrooms. The Mayor asks Byron Hodges and Chief Zehm if they had any concerns over this event. Both answered no. The Mayor then asked the council if there were any concerns from them, the answer was no.
- DAVID CAUDLE- report on men’s shelter
Pastor Caudle reported that the shelter currently has 3 men in residents at the Palouse Community Church’s shelter. These men have gone through the usual legal checks the shelter requires. The mayor thanked Pastor Caudle for his voluntary report.
- MARC VAN HARN – concern about activity on the street behind the bar
Marc has noticed an increase of people activity on the street behind the bar in the late evenings. He has been awoken by his dog barking at people on the street, this is more then usual and Marc stated that his dog general does not bark unless there is something going on. Chief Zehm stated that this area is patrolled, but the Police Department will step up there effort in that area.
PUBLIC WORKS REPORT : Written Report Submitted By Byron Hodges
Byron did not have to much more to add to his written report. He did state that the cherry deodorizer that the crew used in the sewer line that runs across the Bridge Street Bridge, cost $170 for a 5 gallon can. He continued to mention that the real solution was a new pump station on that line sometime in the future.
Council Member Schorzman asks Byron if a pump station would get rid of the odor. Byron replied that yes, sometime in the future a pump station would be needed.
POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT: Written report submitted by Chief Zehm
Chief Zehm added to his report, he stated that with the colder weather approaching pet owners need to take extra measures to protect their animals. Owners should add extra blankets to the shelters outside for their pets; make sure a water supply is available and not frozen. The mayor asked the chief about the water leak above his desk. The chief said he tried to pinpoint where the water was coming from but as it does leak all the time, it’s hard to identify the location. Byron stated that he was not aware of this problem. Council Member Schorzman asked the chief about how to report on barking dogs. The chief stated that there is no written report. When a dog barks the complainant needs to call the police department right away. The police department actually has to catch a dog barking before any action can be taken. The chief stated that people should call any of the following numbers to report barking dogs: police department-878-1611; Whitcom-332-2521; 911. The chief also stressed that people should not wait until 1PM to report a dog that has been barking since 10PM.
JOINT FIRE BOARD UPDATE:
Doug Willcox provided the council with a status report on the Public Safety Building (PSB). Electrical, heating and plumbing is near completion. The building should be ready within the next few weeks to house the Fire and EMS vehicles. Volunteers will be working on the finish work on the inside of the building. The state electrical inspector required the project to put in electrical work in the meeting room area. This work was not going to be done until a later time. But due to the requirement this work was authorized by the facility committee. The budget was projected at $189,000. The current budget is at $194,202. There is discussion about putting on various fund raisers to cover the additional costs that have incurred on this project. There are plans to have an open house as soon as the building is finished. The mayor asked Doug about the status of the new fire vehicles. Doug said one vehicle is in the process of being modified and the second is on its way from Utah and should be in Palouse by the end of the month.
- 2005 PROJECTS
The Mayor began to read a list of items for prospective project in 2005.
- West Main Street Property: complete purchase transaction from the railroad and define development plans for this property.
- Heritage Park: this project is near completion. The owner of Paulson Plumbing will be completing his work, Ackerman Heating will follow within 2 weeks, and Gropp Electric is on tap to finish up. Sheet rock will need to be put in place when the other work is done.
- Fisher’s Addition Sewer Collection System: There is support out there for this project.
- Fire Department: Completion of the Public Safety Building
- Improvement to sidewalks on Main Street from Mary Street down to the City Park
- The Palouse Police Department: The department is interested in moving to their own facilities, a possibility is one half of the old city hall/fire station location.
- Policy Issues: Open Burning Ordinance, Motorized Scooters, and Public Facilities, Council Member McGehee is chair for this committee.
- Main Street Lots: The city owns a lot on North Main Street, possible development ideas.
- New City Water Reservoir: This could be a ½ million dollar project.
This list provided by the mayor, Council Member Snook commented that item number 1, should be seriously considered. Marc Van Harn stated that perhaps the renovation of that property could be a community project, getting volunteers to do prep work on the land. Council Member Sell mentioned the sludge storage facility should be added to the list, as well a new restroom facility at the cemetery. Byron Hodges stated that the Public Works Department needs a new building. Council Member Willmore agreed. Joyce Beeson mentioned that there needs to continue maintenance on the City Hall Building. Marc Van Harn suggested some type of pathway that runs along Hwy 27 to Spokane Street, down past the grain elevators to Main Street. The Mayor stated that he has called the state several times about fixing the Bridge on Bridge Street, but no one has returned his calls. Council Member Wekenman mentions the deterioration of the river banks in a few places. The Mayor said that since the city is now a partner in the Hazard Mitigation program and Council Member is part of that process, his recommendation would be appropriate to the program. Council Member Willmore asked Deputy Clerk Pearce about the West side of the community center building, if any thought had gone into some type of improvement. Clerk Pearce stated that there have been meetings and a report given to her about the current condition of the building, but that the appearance of that side of the wall had not been discussed. She would bring up this issue with the structural engineer. The Mayor was asking if there was any updated information about the skate park, no one answered, he said he would touch base with the kids. The mayor reminded the council that the city has $25,000 from the sale of the Mary Street house; this fund can be used for any community development initiative.
- Wage freeze secret ballot-RCW 42.30.060
The Mayor began this discussion by reading from a letter sent to council from city attorney Stephen Bishop. The letter states that the secret balloting that was done at the last council meeting was improper and the passage of the motion was invalid. The attorney further stated that the council may re-vote on the issue or motion to withdraw that was voted secretly. The Mayor asked Council Member McGehee, since he made the original motion, if it is the intention of the council to withdraw the original motion. Council Member Willmore agreed to a re-vote. The restated the options for the council: either they can withdraw the original motion or they can re-vote. Council Member McGehee MOVED to withdraw the original motion to vote by secret ballot on the Wage Freeze issue. Council Member Willmore seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. Council Member McGehee then asked for a public vote on freezing wages. Council Member Schorzman MOVED to freeze wages for the 2005 year. Council Member McGehee seconded the motion. The mayor asked for discussion. Council Member Willmore stated that the personnel committee was 100% against the wage freeze and the majority of the finance committee was for the wage freeze. The committee meetings don’t seem to be of value. Council Member Wekenman asked the council members, what was the reason for the wage freeze. Council Member Schorzman, chair of the finance committee, stated that with the proposed projects the mayor stated earlier the city cannot afford any wage increases. He stated that even though the city has the funds, it continues to spend more money then it takes in. Dave Caudle asked if the personnel committee is against the wage freeze then why vote. Council Member Schorzman stated that there were several committee meetings and the votes kept changing. Council Member McGehee said that the motions do not have to come from the committees. Dave Caudle stated that if the personnel committee is against the wage freeze and offered a solution the to funding and the majority of the finance committee was against the wage freeze, it is hard to understand the issue. Linda Snook commented that as a Washington State employee she has not received a pay raise in four years. She takes offense at the city putting their projects before their employees. The mayor stated again that he supports the selective wage increases for 2005. Byron stated that he disagrees with Council Member McGehee, if the mayor appoints committees to research the issues, then the council, as it has done in the past 15 years he has worked for the city, should do the committees the courtesy of agreement. Dave Caudle asked the question, how can the committee chair speak against the entire committee he is on. Linda Snook asked for an answer to this question. Council Member Schorzman stated that he could not answer that question because it could implicate someone. Linda Snook ask for an answer and Council Member Schorzman said he could not answer the question. Discussion ended that the mayor asked for a vote, after the verbal vote was taken, Deputy Clerk asked for a show of hands, For the wage freeze: Council Members Sell, Schorzman, Willmore and McGehee. Against the wage freeze Council Members Snook, Wekenman and Dillard. The motion carried.
- Motorized Foot Scooters Ordinance
Chief Zehm reviewed a couple of points of the ordinance. There was a general discussion, about , age, location of riding the scooters. The ordinance will be put on the agenda for adoption at the next council meeting.
STREETS & SIDEWALKS: Linda Dillard
FINANCE, PROPERTY & EQUIPMENT : Norm Schorzman
PARKS, CEMETERY & BUILDINGS : John Sell
PERSONNEL & POOL : Jeff Snook
POLICY & ADMINISTRATION : Steve McGehee
Council Member McGehee stated that the committee has 2 issues to address. But prior to giving his report he would like to clarify what he stated earlier in the council meeting in regards to Dave Caudles question. He said that understood Dave’s question in regards to how a motion comes before the council floor. He further explained his answer that he explained how motions were moved through council.
- Open Burn Ordinance: It was unanimous in the committee meeting that the City of Pullman’s current burning ordinance is too severe to be applied to Palouse. The committee agreed that some type of action does need to be taken. McGehee would like council to agree, that when we go forward with this ordinance, and six months down that road that council changes their minds on the ordinance. All council members agreed to some type of open burning ordinance. Council Member Sell agreed but wants all items to be considered before passing the ordinance.
- Restriction of Council Wages
Chair McGehee contacted former Mayor Robert Kramer to discuss past council members payment. At the time Kramer was mayor the council was paid on the basis of attendance. It was decided in committee that the state has in place remedies for council members. He continued to state that it is obvious if someone chooses to become a council member they are doing as part of their civic responsibility. Council Member Wekenman stated that council members are willing to cash their council checks, but not willing to give a 50 cent raise to the city staff. Council Member Wekenman MOVED to pay council members based on their attendance at council meetings. The mayor asked for a second. There was no second and the motion failed.
WATER & SEWER : David Willmore
POLICE, FIRE & SAFETY : Rick Wekenman
MAYOR’S REPORT :
The mayor was contacted by Mike Milano about the signs for the Scenic By-Way. They are ready to be put up and the mayor suggested that Mike speak to Byron about the locations of the signs. The mayor thanked Mike Milano for his hard work on the Scenic Byway Committee.
The Mayor received a letter from Whitman County Admin. Services in regards to the Criminal Justice Service contract. Because of an office delay the contract fees will be the same as 2004.
ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS: Jeff Snook MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed.
Norm Schorzman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
ADJOURN: John Sell MOVED to adjourn. Jeff Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:53 PM
The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:
Claims Paid 12/29/04 Warrants: # 10822 through # 10831 Payment: $2,219.18
Claims Paid 12/30/04 Warrants: # 10834 through # 10851 Payment: $6,299.44
Claims Paid 01/12/05 Warrants: # 10852 through # 10884 Payment: $30,937.79
Payroll Paid Warrants: #5666 through # 5691 Payment: $27,005.45
Claims VOID Warrrants: #10832 through # 10833