June 25, 2013

Palouse City Council
Regular Council Meeting
June 25, 2013

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

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Senja Estes; Tim Jones; Connie Newman, Bo Ossinger; Norm Schorzman and Rick Wekenman. Absent: Alison Webb. Also present: Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson. Public present: Aaron Flansburg and Sheri Glaesman.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Amendment requested for minutes of 6/11/2013-Under Policy & Administration insert Newman after Councilmember on first line. Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of June 11, 2013 as amended. Councilmember Estes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Superintendent Griffin submitted a written report.
Present and award bids for street oiling bid- Mayor Echanove read the three bids received for 2013 street oiling:
BST Surfacing, Inc $0.049 per square foot + Tax
Lyman Dust Control $0.062 per square foot + Tax
Mort’s Dust & Erosion $0.070 per square foot + Tax
Councilmember Wekenman commented that BST has changed the material they used last year for better coverage. Dwayne left a message that he was happy with their work last year and would recommend that council award the bid to BST Surfacing, Inc for 4.9 cents a square foot + tax. Councilmember Jones MOVED that the bid for 2013 street oiling be awarded to BST Surfacing, Inc. Councilmember Schorzman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

POLICE REPORT: Chief Neumann reported that things have been fairly quiet except for a few crimes of opportunity. He asked that the public be careful to not leave things like gas cans unattended and to lock your vehicles. Councilmember Newman commented that the all night grad party went well and thanked the PD for the entry screening. It was suggested that next year two officers be available for the entry checks.

JOINT BOARD FIRE & EMS: Councilmember Wekenman reported activity – Fire: No fire calls in May, training included a wildland fire refresher course and they are working with vendors fitting and purchasing equipment through the DNR grant. The JFB discussed how to best fill the open spots on the fire department since the cost to equip each firefighter is around $3,000. EMS: 4 calls in May bringing YTD to 12. They had valuable training at Palouse Grain Growers with realistic scenarios. Annie Pillers would like some work done at the south edge of the PSB parking lot to make parking much safer. There was discussion of funding needs for maintaining a safe and reliable fleet of vehicles and equipment.

Additional funding sources for 2014. Mayor Echanove the discussed options for revenue sources in 2014. At the last JFB meeting, Chief Bagott explained that he would like to keep the fleet of vehicles up to date, as in not more than about 30 years old. He also stressed that air packs expire after 15 years. He would like to have a total of $300,000 available in the next 8 years or so to meet these needs. That would be split with Rural Fire as $150,000 for each entity. It was determined that while the rural fire district is able to run multi-year levies, the city cannot. One funding option to meet these needs for the city, would be to put a Special Levy on the ballot every year or until the needs are met. As the Mayor explained, another funding option would be to ask the voters for a Levy Lid Lift. If passed by vote, it would reset the levy amount to the city’s current capacity share of $3.10 per thousand valuation. Currently the general levy is at $2.49/thousand. Council could then approve a Resolution which would dedicate a certain percentage of the general levy to the Fire Equipment Reserve fund for future needs. For instance, 10% of the general levy would bring in about $17,650 a year. The Mayor listed other city needs that would be met such as bringing the third officer back to 100%, regular salary increases to employees, maintaining the parks and cemetery, and reserving funds for both Public Works and Police vehicle & equipment needs.

Councilmember Wekenman questioned if funds would accumulate quick enough for the fire equipment needs as opposed to a series of Special Levies. Councilmember Ossinger felt that people may support a levy specific to fire equipment in much the same way they support the pool levy. He indicated that he likes the idea of the levy lid lift while maintaining the option of running a one year special levy in the future to help meet their funding needs. Councilmember Newman agreed and added that the pool may suffer with another issue on the ballot. Councilmember Jones voiced his support for putting the Levy Lid Lift on the ballot for the November elections. A public hearing for 2014 revenue sources is scheduled for the next meeting, July 9th. This will be discussed further then.

Police, Fire, & Safety-Rick Wekenman, Chair: Chief Newman was asked if there are any changes as to what is allowed as far as fireworks this year. The Chief explained that if they are labeled “Safe & Sane” they are legal, but be cautious. If there is a stick attached, it is not legal. Patrols will be out.

Parks, Cemetery and Buildings: In the absence of Councilmember Webb, Councilmember Newman asked Aaron to report on what has been accomplished on his skatepark initiative since the last meeting. Aaron reported that the committee is considering involvement in Haunted Palouse this year to raise funds for the skatepark. The next topic was again, desired location of the skatepark. The tennis court area turned out to be not a good option for various reasons – too close to residential, off the beaten path, no nearby restroom, and it would have to be a joint venture between both the school and the city. The next sites to consider are downtown and at the city park. A representative from the city’s insurance provider was contacted about issues they might have with liability and if it would increase rates for the city to own a skatepark. Aaron read the agents response which basically stated that if certain criteria
was met, the city would have minimal liability. The criteria listed were all within what Aaron expected and could be met. Between the options of downtown or the city park, Aaron said that the city park most fits their needs. He asked council for permission to place flags marking the area being considered which lies between the basketball court and the pool. By marking it off, people can visualize it better and begin discussions about how it would work there. Councilmember Estes asked about the other option of locating downtown. Some of the drawbacks there were, the cost of acquiring a lot downtown would be too great and the noise level too high for neighboring uses. Councilmember Newman suggested that in their discussions, they consider the traffic patterns at the park as it relates to the potential site. Councilmember Wekenman voiced concern in losing that space for future events such as the car show. The amount of land requested is around 5,000 sf. Councilmember Jones voiced his support for the skatepark rather than allowing more cars in the car show. Aaron would like to have a decision on the location so potential donors could be assured their funds will go toward making this happen. He will try for a meeting at the proposed site in the city park for consideration on Thursday, June 27th at 7:00 PM. Councilmember Newman stated that they are hoping for a decision about this location at the next council meeting.

OPEN FORUM: Sheri Glaesman said she came to the meeting in support of the skatepark.

MAYOR’S REPORT: The Mayor read a letter from Whitman County library reminding us of the annual closure of the library August 5 – 11 for routine maintenance. The letter also praised our librarian Bev Pearce for her great programs and a job well done.

The Mayor explained to council that he signed an amendment for the Ecology Brownfield grant in the event that the legislature does not pass a budget by July 1st.

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

ADJOURN: Councilmember Jones MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Schorzman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:40 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:
Claims Paid Ck. # 4944 – 4955 & EFT $6,313.82

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________