July 13, 2021

DRAFT (Not Adopted by Council)


Regular Council Meeting

July 13,2021, 2021 @ 7:00 pm

120 E. Main City Hall


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


Deputy Clerk La Follett took Roll Call

Council members present Mary Welcome, Bill Slinkard, John Snyder; Jim Fielder; Libby Akin; Katie Cooper.

Council members absent: Tim Sievers.

Councilmember Fielder introduced a MOTION to excuse Councilmember Sievers, MOTION seconded by: Councilmember Cooper. Council unanimously passed the MOTION.

City staff present: City Administrator (CA) Coughenour, Deputy Clerk (DC) Misty La Follett; Police Officer Joel Anderson; Public Works Supt. Mike Wolf.


Mayor Cook requested the “Open Forum” portion of the meeting be moved to the front of the agenda.


June 8th, 2021, minutes: Councilmember Welcome introduced a change to the June 8th, 2021 minutes. CA Coughenour will insert Councilmember Welcome’s requested language into the minutes.  Councilmember Akin introduced a MOTION to approve; Councilmember Slinkard seconded MOTION. Council unanimously approved.

June 22nd, 2021, minutes: Councilmember Welcome introduced a change to the minutes to clarify that Councilmember Slinkard could join the meeting via Zoom. CA Coughenour will correct the language in the minutes. Councilmember Cooper also introduced language to clarify that the Spillman police call report was omitted from the Council’s packet. CA Coughenour will correct the language in the minutes to reflect this request.  Councilmember Synder introduced a MOTION to approve the minutes; MOTION, seconded by Councilmember Slinkard, MOTION passed unanimously.


Three citizens registered to address the Council:

Angie Griner: Presented a question to the Council relating to civil service classifications within the Police Department. Mayor Cook responded that Council’s only action was acknowledging that the previous Civil Service Commission was not established correctly. Ms. Griner also emphasized her support for Chief Neumann and his 15 years of service and dedication to the city.

Brad Pearce: Requested information on Chief Neumann’s employment status, new chief search criteria plan, and city employees’ retention plan.

Ron Weller: Inquired about the city’s position on funding or defunding the police department. Mayor Cook emphasized that the city will fund the police department.

Audience: Numerous citizens in attendance questioned the councils’ actions on adopting or not adopting Civil Service Rules for employees. For reference, the previous discussion on civil service and steps taken by the Council regarding civil service were discussed in the minutes dated February 23rd, 2021.  Councilmember Synder provided a short history of the actions taken by the Civil Service Commission (CSC) and previous Council. Councilmember Synder informed the audience that the CSC was never adequately formed, nor did any appointed commissioners maintain the required meetings and minutes. The mayor did remark that the Council’s personnel committee serves in the role of personnel actions.

Other members of the community provided various comments and discussion points for the city council to consider.

Jill Weller volunteered to write the “For” statement for the pool and special streets levy.


 Supt. Wolf provided the city council with his written report. Supt Wolf verbally briefed the city council on the city facilities, roads, and the public work personnel. Supt Wolf also updated the city council about the potential chlorine shortage from June 22nd, 2021, and that the issue has been resolved. Supt Wolf also informed the Council that water consumption was up approximately 50% from last year. Mayor, Council, and city staff all recognized that the Pool staff was performing very well considering their experience level.

*Report attached to the minutes.


 Officer Anderson presented his report to the city council. There were 24 calls for service since the last council meeting.

*Report attached to the minutes.


CA Coughenour presented the City Administrator Report. The pool has received $800.00 in donations from patrons. The water Consumer Confidence Report was completed and published, continuing to work with the state on the Water Efficiency Report, 2nd quarter finance documents have been either sent or printed. CA is waiting on two state offices to confirm the change of administrators.

CA Coughenour and Deputy Clerk La Follett received partial training on the BIAS financial software. CA Coughenour has learned of some efficiencies that could be adopted. These changes would need to be confirmed with the state auditor’s office (SAO) and review internal policy and procedures.

Road oiling bid was published and will close on July 16th, 2021, at 5 PM.


 FY 22 Levy Process:

CA Coughenour explained the process to the city council for completing the Pool and Special Streets levy process and the action items the city staff and Council must complete before August 3rd and 17th, 2021. CA asked the city council to confirm the levy rate for each levy. Mayor Cook recommended that Streets, Property, Facilities Chair Sievers, the pool manager, and the public works superintendent provide funding recommendations based on operations and repairs identified to maintain and operate the pool. CA Coughenour will draft the levy resolutions for the July 27th, 2021, council meeting. Additionally, the city council needs volunteers to write the “For and Against” language for the November 2021 voters’ pamphlet or decide to take no action specifically for the “For and Against” language.

Cove Sidewalk Project Update:

CA Coughenour updated the Council on the project. At this time, the engineering firm of Munir Duad and Associates is developing the award bid and contract based on the city council’s approval on June 22nd, 2021. These changes are about asphalt versus concrete for the sidewalk and base rock that the city agreed to supply,

Meeting Minutes:

Councilmember Cooper opened the discussion about the drafting and timeline of the city council minutes and when draft minutes should be made public. The Council supported the idea of making the draft minutes available to the public in approximately one week or less. This allows council members the opportunity to receive feedback before the next council meeting. CA Coughenour was made aware that the city council generally reviews a draft of the minutes before posting the minutes. This process allows each council member the opportunity to correct, add, delete, or modify the draft version before the draft minutes being made public. Councilmember Akin wanted to ensure the minutes provided clarity and brevity, but at the same time, provided the citizens with enough information concerning actions taken by the Council. Mayor Cook also emphasized the need for the actions to be timely for the Council and citizens.


Mayor Cook requested the Council to confirm Jacob Billington as the city’s “Building Inspector.” Councilmember Welcome introduced the MOTION to confirm Jacob Billington and Councilmember Cooper seconded the MOTION. The Council unanimously passed the MOTION. Mayor Cook also informed the Council that Mr. Billington might need to take on additional responsibility as the building inspector and the building plan reviewer. The former plans reviewer has not shown an interest in the role of the plan’s inspector.

Safe Streets Grant Application: CA Coughenour informed the Council that the Safe Streets Grant application period was open. The general concept of the grant application is to expand the Cove Sidewalk to the Bridge St pedestrian crossing, install pedestrian crossing warning lights, and install steps into the Lion Parks.


 Budget, Finance, & Major Acquisitions, Chair Welcome

Chair Welcome presented the Council with a comprehensive plan from the finance committee, developed from past actions and identified needs. The whole Council commended Chair Welcome on the in-depth and comprehensive report.

Councilmember Cooper introduced a MOTION to adopt the plan; Councilmember Fielder Seconded the MOTION, Council passed the MOTION unanimously.

Overview of ARPA Funding:

Councilmember Welcome gave an overview of the Finance Committee’s budget recommendation regarding the funding coming to the City of Palouse from the American Rescue Plan Act (see the attached summary). Councilmember Welcome reviewed expenditures and community results from the 2020 CARES Act funding and summarized eligible uses of the incoming ARPA funding. The suggested allocation of the first and second payments is based on critical needs and community research. The recommendation prioritizes investment of the local recovery funds directly back into the community, business sector, and non-profits in the first deposit.

The Finance Committee recommends the following usage of the ARPA funding:

35% to support Community and Public Services, Non-Profits

– Joint Fire Board, Fire/EMS, Palouse Community Center, Palouse Print Museum, Palouse Library, Educational Programming, Gar-Pal Schools, Youth Advisory Board, downtown reader board

24% to support Business Relief and Recovery Efforts

– Chamber of Commerce business advocacy and redistribution of recovery funds directly to business owners

31% to support Infrastructure and Local Municipal Upgrades

– PPE stock for public and business use, support funding for Water/Sewer infrastructure projects, support funding for Palouse Cove Sidewalk Project, support funding for the Palouse Community Pool, support funding for research and development of community broadband or other communications technology infrastructure

10% in contingency, to be decided based on need

– For further support funding on eligible expenses, to address unforeseen impacts, and identify future needs.

Streets, Properties, & Facilities, Chair Sievers: No Report

 Personnel, Chair Snyder: No report

Water and Sewer, Chair Slinkard: No report. Chair Slinkard informed the Council of an upcoming meeting on July 14th, 2021, at 1 PM with the Department of Ecology about the 100K “forgivable loan /grant” for conducting a value study to confirm the city needs of our wastewater.

Policy & Administration, Chair Cooper; No Report

Joint Fire Board, Chair Fielder: Chair Fielder did not present a report since the board has not met. Councilman Fielder emphasized the Red Flag warning. He also asked the city to consider fronting the costs for the radios for the fire department in the amount of 8K with the intent to use the American Rescue Plan Act funds to reimburse. Councilmember Welcome and CA Coughenour advised that this would not be a normal process and could cause grant reporting issues but investigate the matter.

 EXECUTIVE SESSION: No session was held.


Mayor Cook informed the Council of the request from “The Congress” to renew their liquor license. No opposition from Council or city staff was made, Mayor Cook approved the license.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS: Councilmember Synder introduced a MOTION to allow payment of the bills listed on the check register; Councilmember Akin seconded the MOTION, MOTION unanimously passed.

ADJOURN: Councilmember Synder MOVED to adjourn; Councilmember Akin seconded the MOTION. The MOTION was carried. The council meeting adjourned at 9:07 PM.

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________


Public Works Superintendent Report


July 13th, 2021, WATER: June’s water usage was up 56% from June 2020, with a little more than *.5 million gallons pumped. May was up 44% from May 2020. Installed two new water meters for new builds in the city. Many locates Read water meter’ June 24th and 25th Chlorine shortages are solved as we are now getting the same product strength out of California. Booster Pump on north hill burned a connection on July 4th, so residents on the booster pump were under reduced pressure for about three hours that day. KME out of Troy ID came and fixed the problem. Sent out a request to reduce water by 20% but was not mandated a week ago. We have had a couple of complaints since then. STREETS: We got around 350 tons of gravel delivered to us in the last three weeks. $5000.00. Swept streets last week. I picked up a dead deer on Cove Road last week. PARKS: A phone line came down off the pole blocking the swimming pool parking lot entrance. Avista came and restrung the line to the pole. Parks are getting browner and will continue to do so as we conserve water. CEMETERY: Working on getting it cleaned up. I have got a 3–4-year plan in place to get it back into shape like it was. We have had some complaints about the appearance. We are also doing less watering. COMPOST: We have watered the pile to help the compost to mature faster. POOL: We have been working with the pool manager on daily issues. Things are getting better as time goes along.

Police Department Report