REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING – DRAFT ONLY
January 9, 2007
CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Michael Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:03PM
ROLL CALL: Council members present were: Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Andy O’Neill; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook; and Rick Wekenman. Also present were: Joyce Beeson, Clerk-Treasurer; Byron Hodges, Public Works Superintendent; Bev Pearce, Deputy-Clerk; Jerry Neumann, Police Chief; Cory Bakeman; Caitlyn McGehee; Iva Lee Bricker; Bill Cooper; Doreen Hanson; Cristina Hanson; Dale Tronsen; David Mayhan; Gloria Hodges; Mark Kramer.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Norm Schorzman MOVED to approve the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of December 12, 2006. Mark Bailey seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.
OPEN FORUM :
Iva Lee Bricker resident on West Whitman Street stated that her end of Whitman Street needs to be repaired too. The warehouse across the street from her house puts out a lot of dust. The Mayor explained to the council that funding is available to reconstruct the East end of Whitman Street because the street is used as an arterial between two state highways and TIB will allow funding this project. Council Member Wekenman agreed that West Whitman is in bad shape as well. He encouraged Iva Lee to contact the manager of the warehouse at Wallace Pea and Grain to address the dust issue. She also voiced concern that people drive too fast down the hill past her house. She would like to see the street made into a one-way and she said there were weeds that had not been addressed as well.
David Mayhan asked the council when the handicap signs were going to be put up on the sidewalks. The Mayor told council that the signs need to be purchased and put up to solve this issue.
Mark Kramer added that West Whitman is broken down and he would have to think about how a one-way street would affect his business.
There was discussion on how the police department could aid in traffic control during a funeral service if the street was made one-way.
PUBLIC WORKS REPORT : Byron Hodges submitted a written report and added that he was unable to place a “no compression brake” sign on the west highway coming from Colfax because the proper placement would put the sign too far into town and past the point that a sign like that would be useful.
Council Member Schorzman asked Byron about the water run off at the intersection of Church and Division. Byron said that is just ground water runoff, not a leak.
Council Member Milano thanked the city crew and police department for the hard work during the snow storms, keeping the roads clear and addressing minor accidents.
POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT: Chief Neumann reported that the holidays were quiet. He escorted Santa Claus into town, using the motorcycle for the Lions Club Christmas party in December. He worked a traffic accident involving a semi-truck on Echanove Avenue at the fire station last Thursday. The personnel committee met and approved the hiring of Terry Snead as the second officer for the city. The committee requires that Terry live in Palouse during his working hours. Terry will take up residence here in Palouse, while maintaining a second home in Malden , where his wife will continue to live. The Chief will have a swearing in ceremony at the next council meeting. The Mayor asked the chief how “on call” hours worked. The Chief said that when an officer is on duty his actual working time is typically a 40 hour work week. But he is “on call” for a full 24 hours during his scheduled shift hours. This is why the requirement to have officers living in town is necessary. The chief announced that the new police department is up and running, with minor details to be addressed, but it is a functioning station now. The Mayor asked the chief about reports of loose dogs on West Church . The chief said that two citations were handed out and it will proceed to the courts.
A. Palouse River Walk Project: The Mayor introduced to the public an opportunity for the city to purchase the trailer park property at 200 W Almota Road . There is funding available through the Department of Ecology (DOE) to purchase the property, relocate the owners living in the space and developing a green space in that area. The owner of the property is selling and willing to work with the city on this purchase. The land would be purchased at fair market value and a program developed to relocate the owners and tenants who live in the park now. The DOE has a flood control program that would grant 70 % of the funds, with the city matching 30%. The 30% match can be in the form of volunteer and city time and labor. The funding process starts in February and the application would need to be started then. This is a joint venture between the City of Palouse and the Planning Commission. Washington State laws would be observed in regards to relocating any of the trailers in Palouse. A question to the Mayor was asked about the car wash and including it in this project. The Mayor felt that because the building is constructed of cement brick, it could not be included in the grant process.
OLD BUSNIESS: Dale Tronsen asked the city what the decision was on the sewer project for Fishers Addition. He volunteered to work with the city on this issue and help make a decision. He stated that the city is missing an opportunity for growth, if they don’t pursue this project. Council Member O’Neill told Dale that there are simply no funds available to pay for this project. He said that Pullman is working on a project similar and the millions of dollars it will take to fund it have not come from any grants, only loans and the citizens footing the bill. He does not see any funds available for Palouse in the next 3 years. He said he does not see the city pursuing this. The Mayor told the council that he, Joyce and Council Member Schorzman have been at numerous meetings talking to potential funding partners and no one has the funds and the DOE is not pressing the issue. The Mayor invited Dale to put together a property owners group to discuss the issue. The city estimates the cost of engineering the project to be between $50,000 and $60,000. The ultimate cost for each property owner to hook up to sewer could cost $10,000 per property. Dale said that is a number that property owners will not approve of.
PARKS, CEMETERY & BUILDINGS : Mike Milano reported that he will be pursuing funding again this year for the RV Park project. He would also like to develop a Parks and Recreation program, which would open up funding possibilities. The RV Park is listed on the Scenic By-Way wish list for funding. A visitor information area needs to be decided on for the Scenic By-Way project.
PERSONNEL & POOL : Jeff Snook reported they will begin work next week on the replacement for Byron. He also reported that the Joint Fire Board met and elected new officers, with Council Member O’Neill elected as Chairperson.
FINANCE, PROPERTY & EQUIPMENT : Norm Schorzman-No Report
POLICE, FIRE & SAFETY : Rick Wekenman reported that the committee supported the hiring of Officer Snead.
POLICY & ADMINISTRATION : Mark Bailey reported that a meeting has been arranged with the DOE in regards to the compost facility grant. The one issue that is difficult to address is the location of the site. There doesn’t seem to be an appropriate location within city limits.
STREETS AND SIDEWALKS: Darcie Bagott reported that she is waiting for the paperwork to come from TIB and then a meeting will be set up to proceed with the Whitman Street Project.
WATER & SEWER : Andy O’Neill reported to council that he would like to see an increase of late fees paid to the city for water and sewer delinquent bills. The increase would be from $5.00 to $10.00. He would also recommend that the city ordinance be changed so that only property owners pay for the water and sewer bills. The current ordinance allows renters, with the owner’s permission, to pay the bill. These changes are proposed for 2008, giving landlords time to adjust their rental agreements.
Byron stated that the Public Works department supports these proposed changes. Council Member O’Neill said that the city staff is committed to providing consistent procedures for all citizens who purchase city services. The Mayor thanked Andy for following up on a water and sewer billing issue and handling the situation.
MAYOR’S REPORT : The Mayor reported that a liquor license renewal request for Thurman’s Market is due. There were no objections and the license is renewed by default. Time Warner, who purchased Adelphia Cable Company, provided a list of stations it will not provide. The Mayor has given this list to the Boomerang for publishing.
Whitman County has decided to enforce a law, whereas cities are responsible for election costs. The first bill for the city came to $770, which the county lowered to $268.78 for this time. The Mayor attended a Pullman City Council meeting. He commented that the Mayor in Pullman starts the meetings with the Mayor’s report. The one item that the Mayor of Pullman reported on was also important to Palouse was that all citizens with adjacent property to city sidewalks are responsible for snow and ice removal. The Mayor asked Byron about mailboxes located on the corner of Bridge and Cannon. The property owner in that location is planning on replacing his mobile home and needs to have the boxes moved to access his property. The issue has been discussed with the property owner and Byron already.
The Mayor congratulated Joyce on beginning her 14th year as a city employee. He listed Byron as starting July 1989, Don in March1985, and Marc in1986.
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 Norm Schorzman MOVED to adjourn. Jeff Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 9:15PM.
The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:
Claims Paid 12/01-21 Warrants: # 12070 through # 12132 Payment: $26,595.56
Claims Paid 12/31 Warrants: # 12151 through # 12173 Payment: $7,403.15
Payroll Paid 12/29 Warrants: # 6396 through # 6419 Payment: $27,961.63
Claims Paid 01/10/07 Warrants: # 12133 through # 12150 Payment: $6,788.79