January 14, 2020

DRAFT ONLY.  Without council review or approval.

Palouse City Council

Public Hearing on sewer rate increase

followed by

Regular Council Meeting

January 14, 2020


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


SWEARING IN:  Mayor Cook swore in new councilmembers Mary Welcome and Steve Alred as well as reelected councilmembers Bill Slinkard and Katie Cooper.


ROLL CALL:  Council members present:  Mary Welcome; Bill Slinkard; Tim Sievers (7:10 pm); John Snyder; Steve Alred; Katie Cooper.  Staff present: Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Officer Joel Anderson; City Administrator Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.


PUBLIC HEARING: $5 Monthly sewer rate increase allocated to the Sewer Reserve Fund.

Opened the hearing at 7:07 pm.  Cheryl Johnson expressed her concerns that the rate increase may be difficult for the elderly on social security. CA Dixon explained that proposed rate increase is a continuation of the city’s effort to prepare for substantial wastewater facility upgrades required by the Dept of Ecology (ECY). Proposed increase also indicates to funding agencies that the city is acting in good faith to prepare and pay our fair share of upgrades which in turn will result in more favorable funding packages. Our current sewer rate of $39 is well below what state agencies consider a hardship rate, which is generally in the $70 and up range. If council approves this sewer rate increase of $5, we will be up to $44 for sewer. Mayor Cook closed the public hearing at 7:14 pm.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Cooper MOVED to approve the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of December 10, 2019.  Councilmember Alred seconded.  Motion carried.


PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Supt. Griffin submitted a written report.  There are some large expenditures coming in to repair the street sweeper. Well telemetry continues to be an issue and pump in Well #1 is being replaced.



Chief Neumann was assaulted by a female during her warrant arrest in Garfield in December.

ATF has assigned the Kimberling case to a federal prosecutor.

Received an application for the open police position.

Chief Neumann has requested a secured garbage can at the PD due to a person removing the police trash from the city dumpster.


JOINT FIRE BOARD REPORT:  Councilmember Cooper reported 2019 year-end financials look good. There were four fire calls in November, 31 YTD thru November.  Working on appropriate fire fighter training for all their staff. Repairs are needed on the attack engine.

EMS had 9 calls in November, no YTD numbers yet.



-Year-end financials look good. 4th Q Treasurers Report is with Councilmember Cooper for review. We’ll have to do a budget amendment on the Pump Maintenance Fund because we were unsure of when that invoice for well pump #1 would come in prior to 2020 budget adoption.

-CA Dixon has been in contact with the ECY Director of Eastern Region to begin a dialog with Mayor Cook regarding wastewater facility improvements. There is also a new director of ECY in Olympia. Michael Echanove and CA Dixon had met with previous director to bring our concerns to her attention, so it is a priority to do the same with the new director.

-Varela had submitted revised wastewater facility plan to ECY back in December, but we did not get responses back from ECY in time to make corrections and resubmit for final approval prior to funding application deadline. City and Varela will meet with ECY over the next couple of months to ensure our plan is finalized prior to the next round of funding for design.

-CA Dixon was appointed to the AWC’s Small City Advisory Committee in December.  It will be a fantastic opportunity for him to advocate for small cities on a statewide scale as well as specific needs for Palouse. First meeting is Jan 28 in Olympia, so he will not be at the next council meeting. He also has meetings with legislators and CERB.

-The guard rail at corner of H & Alder has been repaired and reinforced with deeper posts. Cost has been forwarded to the person responsible for the damage.

-2019 payroll taxes and W-2s should be done and sent out by end of next week.

-As most know Will Perry was elected to council seat #5, but he has since moved out of state. He has submitted his letter of resignation. Councilmember Sievers MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Welcome to accept Will Perry’s resignation.  Motion carried.  The city will now open up the vacancy. Those interested in service must submit a letter of interest either in person or via email to deputyclerk@palouse.com by Friday, February 14th. All those who submit letters will be invited to the council meeting on February 25th for a Q&A session with mayor and council.



Resolution No. 2020-01, 2020 fee schedule: Changes to the fee schedule are:

-raising the nightly RV rate from $27.83 + tax to $32.46 + tax;

-raising private pool party rental fee from $75 + tax to $100 + tax to absorb the increase of minimum wage.

Councilmember Sievers MOVED to adopt Resolution 2020-01. Councilmember Slinkard seconded. Motion carried.


Resolution No. 2020-02, 2020 salary schedule: Changes to the salary schedule are:

-a 3% raise for all city staff as discussed last year;

-state minimum wage increase from $12/ hour to $13.50/hr.

No other changes.  Councilmember Snyder MOVED to adopt Resolution 2020-02.  Councilmember Alred seconded.  Motion carried.


Ordinance No. 988 increase to monthly sewer rates for Sewer Reserve Fund PMC 13.40.015:  This ordinance increases the Sewer Reserve Fund by $5 as discussed in Public Hearing.  Councilmember Sievers MOVED to adopt ordinance No. 988 as written.  Councilmember Snyder seconded.  Motion carried.


Ordinance No. 989 amending council committees PMC 2.08.030: This ordinance refines, redefines, streamlines, and provides clarity to the various committees and which issues go before what committee.  Councilmember Cooper MOVED to adopt Ord. No. 989 as written. Seconded by Councilmember Welcome.  Motion carried.  Mayor Cook will be appointing councilmembers to the various committees by next meeting.



Mayor Cook, (former Personnel & Pool chair) has been in contact with Fast Signs regarding phase 2 of the wayfinding signage and graphics at the pool to spruce it up.



Councilmember Alred suggested the city work with county L&I on the Arms Building.


The plan and intent from the owner of the St. Elmo is to demo in mid-March.  An engineer will look at the shared wall between City Hall & St. Elmo before demo. The property owner is very accommodating.



There was a minor change made to the Building Inspector contract. Instead of having BI attend quarterly council meetings, he will come at the request of Mayor, council, or city staff.  DC Thompson does all the reports and can provide those to council at any time.


Mayor Cook will be having drop-in office hours for public, staff, & council, at City Hall from 5:30-7 pm on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of each month.


City of Palouse has a citizen’s Wastewater Advisory Committee consisting of various community members.  It’s instrumental in getting citizen feedback on this project.  Since former mayor Michael Echanove is a wealth of institutional & historical knowledge, CA Dixon would like to have Mayor Cook appoint him as the chair of the committee.  Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to ratify Mayor Cook’s appointment of Michael Echanove to chair of Wastewater Advisory Committee.  Councilmember Alred seconded.  Motion carried.


Mayor Cook will appoint a councilmember to Mayor-Pro-Tem at next council meeting.


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


The following checks are approved for payment:

Payroll Paid      12/30/2019        Ck. #10550 & 1055-10575 & EFT                       $49,874.15

Claims Paid      12/11-31/2019    Ck. #10551-10554, & 10576-10604 & EFT          $50,514.16

Claims Paid      01/14/2020        Ck. #10605-10616                                              $53,284.09


ADJOURN:  Councilmember Welcome MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded the motion and the motion carried.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:11 PM.




APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________