January 8, 2019

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

January 8, 2019

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

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Chris Cook; Bill Slinkard; Tim Sievers; John Snyder; Rick Wekenman; Mark Wilcomb; Katie Cooper. Staff present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Police Officer Joel Anderson; City Administrator Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Council Meeting of December 11, 2018 as written. Councilmember Wilcomb seconded the motion and the motion carried.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Supt. Griffin submitted a written report. There’s a power issue going on with the well telemetry. We’re still working on diagnosing it and repairing it.

POLICE REPORT: Chief Neumann reported all is going well.

  • School patrols continue. Issuance of gun permits are up. Two domestic disputes in Garfield. Two warrant arrests: one in Palouse, one in Garfield. Two mental health calls. One DUI arrest. Ongoing dog issues.
  • We are still seeking bids in regards to the repair of Dodge Journey. We’re hoping to get a few more years out of it.
  • Special thanks to Avista for the donation of two laptops.
  • Reserve Officer Snead has given notice that he will be leaving around the 15th of April. We haven’t received any applicants yet for his position. Competition is steep as there are a lot of police vacancies all over. They will continue to advertise.
  • Prescription drop box is being used well. No needles, liquids, or illegal drugs allowed. Illegal drugs may be disposed of without recourse by contacting the police department.

JOINT FIRE BOARD REPORT: Councilmember Wekenman reported.

  • We were sad to lose long-time county member of JFB, Ben Perkins. With his passing, we are looking for a county resident to refill his position.
  • We have purchased a used ambulance from the City of Pullman for $1,200. This will be used as a toolbox for FD and EMS for small tools and equipment that EMS wants to move out of their regular ambulance but still have on hand if needed.
  • Things are good on the financial side. We need to keep an eye on insurance and pension fund for 2019. No problems anticipated but increase anticipated.
  • We took the 1970 Dodge fire truck out of commission so will save on insurance and storage fees.
  • We had an electrical fire on our 1997 pumper tanker while it was parked in the station. We can’t find anyone to work on it because the wiring goes from front to back, hydraulic lines, air lines, water lines, etc. Canfield is sending insurance adjuster to take a look. We may get a new, used truck out of it if it can’t be fixed.
  • Small capital improvements to be done in 2019: carpet in meeting room, more cabinets, drywall repair.
  • As of mid-December, EMS had 90 calls in 2019.


4TH Quarter Treasurer’s Report: CA Dixon presented the report. He budgeted to end the year at $201,000 in current expense and we came in at $213,000 so that’s encouraging. We will need to continue to keep an eye on street budget because now that the Avista Street Light grant is over, our street light bill is approximately an additional $1,800 a month. Once the 13th month closes, CA Dixon will present the official ending 2018 and beginning 2019 balances.

Brownfields site update. Met with committee to tweak the Request for Proposals (RFP). We’re removing the ongoing testing requirements so potential developers don’t have to worry about that; city will take on that test. RFP will also include a minimum price but there are some legalities about what is considered Fair Market Value (FMV). One way to do that is to get a commercial appraiser but pitfalls go with that if they appraise it too high. Environmental Engineers advised city that responses from RFP can determine FMV. We are going to expand our marketing outside the local area into some larger markets. We are hoping to put out RFP end of January. Consensus is to stay the course and the city is confident that interested parties will come forward.

CA Dixon And Councilmembers Slinkard, Cook and Sievers are meeting tomorrow with wastewater engineers and landowners about possibility of acquiring land to accommodate our preferred facility plan. The city is looking at the long-term solution to solving our wastewater disposal issues. Since this is an unfunded mandate by DOE/EPA, much of the financial burden falls on the city and utility customers. Last meeting council voted to raise Sewer Reserve $5 a month. That amount will continue to rise. The completed facility plan in April 2019 will give us a better picture of financial impacts to city and a roadmap to complete updated wastewater facility.

The city received no bids for the 1970 Dodge fire truck. After bid closed, we received an offer of $240. Fire Chief Beeson approved of the offer. Councilmember Sievers MOVED to accept the offer of $240 for the fire truck. Councilmember Snyder seconded. Motion carried.

CA Dixon submitted a Complete Streets grant application to numerous entities for nominations. The Dept. of Commerce nominated us and sent it to Transportation Improvement Board (TIB). TIB will evaluate all those nominations. We are one step closer to a potentially large grant to improve multi modal access in town.

We’re gaining ground on the retrofits for our water meters for automatic meter reading. We’re trying to tag team this project with the Port of Whitman’s fiber build-out in Palouse. Paul Kimmel of Avista also touched on their advanced infrastructure across Washington. Avista is looking at Smart Water Meters as well and may be able to work with the city on our retrofitting and going to automatic meter reads.


Review quotes for proposed Avista electric vehicle charging station;

Council has been in ongoing discussions about the need, costs, logistics, etc. for an EV charging station as part of Avista’s pilot program. City got bids from Avista’s third party contractor for three potential locations of Level 2 charging station. Bids after Avista’s 50% constribution are as follows: Parking space on Whitman Street in front of skatepark for $1,612; Community Center parking lot $1,168; Heritage Park parking space $4,218. These three locations are most centrally located in the downtown corridor. Pros and cons of locations were discussed. Parking is already in short supply. Idea is to get these spots in the downtown corridor to promote business. Paul Kimmel, regional business manager with Avista, was present at tonight’s meeting and gave some background into the program. Mr. Kimmel offered an additional $500 out of his community contribution fund towards the city’s above-mentioned costs. The electricity costs for charging a vehicle are minimal but council explained that even if it’s a penny, it’s considered gifting of city funds so there needs to be a means for the user to pay for the charging. There are “pay per use” charging stations but they rely on reliable cell phone service which is hit and miss but if it’s Verizon Wireless there shouldn’t be a problem. Rendall Farley at Avista relayed to CA Dixon that there are no fees associated with credit card charging station. CA Dixon will continue to gather more information. Paul Kimmel will look into it in more depth and confer with CA Dixon. EV charging stations are 100% owned, run, maintained, etc. by Avista and they monitor usage as part of their pilot program.

TD&H Professional Services Agreement for Water System Improvements:

Standard professional services agreement to allow TD&H to come in and use the Public Works Board loan to design and implement water system improvements. Contract is at the attorney’s office for review. Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED to authorize Mayor to sign the agreement pending legal review. Councilmember Slinkard seconded. Motion carried.


Resolution 2019-01 fee schedule: Only changes were adding a flat fee for non-structural remodel permit, and adding a $20 per sq. ft valuation for pole building permits. Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt Resolution 2019-01 as written. Councilmember Cook seconded. Motion carried. DC Thompson will investigate rates for commercial builds.

Resolution 2019-02 salary schedule: Changes include the 5% increase for city staff, increasing reserve officer to $22/hour, and reflecting the minimum wage increase for lifeguards and potential public works assistant. Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to adopt Resolution No. 2019-02. Councilmember Cooper seconded and the motion carried.


Personnel & Pool, Chair Cook– Still getting quotes for painting interior and exterior of pool building. First bid obtained came in too high. We will also look at alternate strategies, perhaps local volunteers, to get it painted. Also looking into getting quotes from Fast Signs for new signage at the pool.


City received two applicants for the two vacancies on the Planning Commission: Mike Jones and Chuck Stemke. There was council discussion about allowing the same people to serve on both the Planning Commission and on the Board of Adjustment because of the conflict of interest and also keeping the entities completely separate. There is already one person who serves on both and council wants that to be maximum. As a result, Mayor Echanove is going to offer Chuck Stemke the option of remaining on the BOA or being appointed to the PC. Mayor Echanove then appointed Mike Jones to the Planning Commission. Councilmember Sievers MOVED to ratify the mayor’s appointment of Mike Jones to the Planning Commission. Councilmember Snyder seconded and the motion carried. Council wants to eventually eliminate any overlap so Councilmember Wilcomb will work on policy.

Mayor read aloud a resident’s thank you note to the city’s snow plowing staff.

Mayor Echanove began his 25th consecutive year in City Hall this week, 18th as Mayor. He officially announced he will not seek reelection when his term expires at the end of 2019.

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

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid 12/27/18 Ck. #9727-9733 $ 1,811.28

Payroll Paid 12/31/18 Ck. #9734-9753 & EFT $46,011.02

Claims Paid 01/08/19 Ck. #9754-9764 & EFT $16,602.07

Claims Paid 12/31/19 Ck. #9765-9780 & EFT $ 4,771.20

ADJOURN: Councilmember Cook MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Sievers seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 9:02 PM.

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________