January 14, 2014

Palouse City Council
Regular Council Meeting
January 14, 2014

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

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Doreen Hanson; Bo Ossinger; Mike Hicks; Senja Estes; Rick Wekenman. Absent: Norm Schorzman (resigned, see below) & Chris Langsett. Councilmember Langsett is sick. Councilmember Ossinger MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Estes, to excuse Councilmember Langsett’s absence. Motion carried unanimously. Councilmember Schorzman submitted by mail his resignation. Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Officer Joe Merry; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Public present: student liaison Tylor Wilson.

2014 NEW COUNCIL OATHS OF OFFICE: Mayor read aloud the oaths of office for new Councilmembers Doreen Hanson & Mike Hicks, and incumbent Councilmember Senja Estes. They are now sworn in. Mayor will swear in Councilmember Langsett in the near future.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of December 10, 2013. Councilmember Ossinger seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. Councilmember Wekenman MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Estes, to approve the Special Council Meeting of December 16, 2013. Motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Supt. Griffin submitted a written report.
Supt. Griffin would like council blessing to start advertising for bids for new basic backhoe with a thumb. Our backhoe is 15 years old right now with 6100 hours on it. The city has had no major repairs on it so it would be a good time to trade it in while there’s still good value in it. The used backhoe is estimated to be worth approximate $20,000 for trade-in. The only thing we’ve had to do to this one is a new starter, new battery, and new tires. The City uses the backhoe constantly. Supt. Griffin can get a new backhoe for $30,000 less than a used one if we piggyback on another government bid which is what we’re hoping to do. With a new one we also get a warranty. Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to authorize Supt. Griffin to develop specs and go out for backhoe bids and/or use GSA (Govt. Services Administration). Senja seconded. Is there any advantage to leasing one? If we’re able to do this via piggyback with GSA, new is the way to go. If that doesn’t work out for some reason we may need to look at used and or leasing prices. Motion carried unanimously.

There is $63,000 allocated for this purchase in the 2014 budget so that probably won’t be quite enough. With the available funds for 2014, the street fund will not be able to pay its share. If we move forward with the backhoe purchase, C-T Beeson would like council to consider an interfund loan which will amortize over three years, and include an interest rate comparable to current rates. Water has reserves available as we are saving for future projects. Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to authorize C-T Beeson to put together the details of an interfund loan from the water fund to the street fund to help fund the potential new backhoe. Senja seconded. Discussion: It’s a win-win when you have the cash available since we are paying the interest to ourselves. We will try to work first through GSA piggy backing on a state contract. If that doesn’t work out, it will go out to bid. Motion carried unanimously.

POLICE REPORT: Extra patrol in both towns. Found a little more foot traffic between 11pm and 2 am. We’ve got a couple criminal investigations going on in both cities. We’re reviewing grants available in 2014. In the last month or so there have been some reports of gas being stolen from vehicles in Palouse. Please report thefts of any amount to the police, even a few gallons.

MFA 2014 & 2014 Groundwater Monitoring Contract: The consent decree requires that the city continue to monitor groundwater until cleanup levels are met for four consecutive sampling events. Ecology has approved that the frequency of groundwater samples can be reduced to semi-annually in 2014 & 2015. The estimated cost to perform the proposed work is $32,000 and is within the remaining grant funds. Councilmember Hanson MOVED to authorize the Mayor to sign the Groundwater Monitoring Contract with MFA for 2014 & 2015. Councilmember Wekenman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

In regards to Resolution 2013-12, which established a student advisor position, Councilmember Hanson volunteered to be the councilmember mentor. Student liaison Tylor Wilson thinks it is a good idea to be mentored by an active council member. Councilmember Hanson MOVED that she be appointed as Tylor’s council mentor until his position ends May 2014. Councilmember Estes seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

JFB REPORT: meeting was held on Dec. 16th. We finished the year financially okay, no red flags. Two fire calls in November, 24 YTD. We’re still awaiting grant money. One of the trucks has a serious problem in the water pump and they are still looking into options. It will be very expensive to fix and may not be replaced depending on the costs.

On the EMS end, 11 calls in November, mid 70’s YTD. Obtained new stretcher for one of the EMS vehicles, and a new to us, used defibrillator. Typically a used one is over $20,000, but they got one for $5,200. They are now compatible with Pullman. These are all volunteers with 1000’s of hours of training and experience among them. They also have one of the best reputations among the county.

No committee reports yet in the new year.

GPHS student liaison Tylor Wilson – looking at ways to interest GPHS students in what’s going on in the city.

Committee Report assignments. Mayor asked council to look over the committees. It is the Mayor’s discretion as to who is on which committee but he’s looking for input from council.

Mayor is looking for another councilperson to serve on the Joint Fire Board.

When there is a councilmember resignation, the remaining council has 90 days to appoint someone. After 90 days, Mayor can appoint someone to fill it. If he can’t, the county commissioner does, and so on. Historically, we begin an advertising process to fill the position. Council advised staff to post announcements and send an email. Posting will say “open until filled”.

Street lighting project update: The city-owned street lights downtown will go from approximately $4/month per light to $.85/month per light. This is a TIB pilot project and there will be no cost to the city. The ad for bids goes out this week. It is scheduled for council award on February 11, 2014.

We’re having a council training from our insurance carrier on January 28th.

We’ve had an issue arise just today with the location of the skatepark. The city has an agreement with the Palouse Conservation District regarding the land surrounding the sewer plant. Information will be disseminated to council and will be discussed

Levy Lid Lift failed by one vote in November which would have raised the current levy amount to the maximum amount allowable of $3.10 per thousand. Currently we tax at about $2.49. The money was going to generate approximately $40,000 more for the city. Currently 65% goes into general fund, 35% goes into street. Had the levy passed, we were going to use 60% in the general fund, 30% to the street fund and 10% to the fire equipment fund. Chief Bagott has asked that over the next ten years, the city set aside $300,000 for its share of costs to keep the fleet of vehicles and equipment current. The levy lid lift was the method chosen to make this happen as well as to maintain basic city services. Pullman ran one and it passed. The county is going to run one. The library district is going to run one this spring. The initiative limiting 1% isn’t keeping up with inflation. Should the city attempt to run one again? They cost a lot of money when they’re not part of a standard election date. Councilmember Ossinger questioned whether a special levy just for the FD would be better. He also thinks it’s too soon to run one.

By law, whenever there is a significant change on council, the council has to select a Mayor Pro-tem. Mayor pro-tem takes over when the Mayor isn’t available. Mayor pro-tem also has signing authority. Councilmember Wekenman is our current mayor pro-tem. Councilmember Hanson MOVED to keep Councilmember Wekenman as mayor pro-tem. Councilmember Estes seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

Brew-Fest special event liquor permit. It was already approved by the council in November. No objections.

Mayor Echanove passed the discussion to Councilmember Wekenman for the renewal of the Green Frog Café’s beer and wine license. No objections.

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

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

The following checks are approved for payment:
Claims Paid 12/31/13 Ck. #5388-5393 & 5414-5442 $16,070.39
Voided: Ck. #5413
Payroll Paid 12/31/13 Ck. #5394-5412 & EFT $40,081.86
Claims Paid 1/15/14 Ck. #5443-5458 $20,197.41

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________