March 11, 2014

Palouse City Council
Regular Council Meeting
March 11, 2014

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

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Bo Ossinger; Mike Hicks; Senja Estes; Rick Wekenman; Bev Pearce; Christopher Langsett. Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Absent: Councilmember Doreen Hanson is ill. Councilmember Pearce MOVED to excuse her absence. Councilmember Estes seconded. Motion carried unanimously. Public present: Donna Langsett; Heather McGehee; Sharon Tharp (open forum only).

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of February 25, 2014. Councilmember Ossinger seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Supt. Griffin submitted a written report. The new lube lines on the pumps are now wired in and they seem to be working fine. This should save millions of gallons of water each year. The materials should be paid for within the year just in what it cost to pump that water.

New grader is approximately 50 days out.

POLICE REPORT: Everything is going well. Reported on ATV ordinance (below).

Police Department staffing update: Possibly bringing 3rd police officer from ¾ time back to full-time – Councilmember Wekenman would like to get our third officer back on full-time. He’s a reliable officer and likes his job. It’s tough finding good police officers. Councilmember Hicks asked Chief Neumann how it hurts the city not employing the third officer those 10 extra hours each week? Chief Neumann said it’s more that we’re going to lose a good police officer to a job that can pay him full time with full benefits. With three of us, we’re spread pretty thin sometimes. It takes creative scheduling. If we put him back on full time effective Sept. 1, the salary increase for Sept. – Dec. would be $2,925, plus some money for benefits, fuel and other costs. Councilmember Hicks is concerned that the council will make a decision based on emotion instead of on good financial sense. Clerk-Treasurer Beeson explained that increases in income from the levy lid lift will start coming in April when people pay their property taxes. She is predicting the street fund will get between $5,000-$6,000 more with the levy lid lift. Plus, when the LED project is in effect, the street fund will retain that money normally spent on the lights. No action tonight; will continue looking at it.

Resoluton No. 2014-02 authorizing portion of general levy distribution to street fund and fire fund – Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety. 30% of the general levy will be receipted into the city Street Fund 101, and 10% will be receipted in the Fire Equipment Reserve Fund 308. Councilmember Langsett MOVED to adopt Resolution No. 2014-02. Councilmember Ossinger seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

Update on ATV ordinance – Chief Neumann and Councilmember Hanson met last week with county commissioner Art Swannick and county public works manager Mark Storey to discuss the ORV ordinance and how opening up the county roads could increase tourism to Palouse. Until the county sees the potential, we’re going to be stuck on an island, with no way to access Palouse via ORV’s on the county roads. We asked for the potential for Palouse to be a test city. Pomeroy has done this and has put out a brochure. All gravel county roads are now potentially open. If we move forward with our ordinance we can periodically update it. Have to be 16 and a licensed driver; have headlights, taillights; turn signals. Committee is still working on the ordinance. Legislation is in place removing the restrictions of the use of 35 mph roads only. Councilmember Pearce inquired about having a public meeting for this ordinance. Councilmember Pearce MOVED to send this proposed ordinance to Atty. Bishop for his review and codification. Councilmember Estes seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

Water & Sewer- Councilmember Ossinger will be having his first w/s committee this Friday, open to the public. March 14, 6 pm, at City Hall.

Streets & Sidewalks- Councilmember Hicks watched a webinar on pedestrian bicycle program through the state and the Safe Routes to School Program. He’s having his first committee meeting this week. Applications for the Safe Routes to School Program are due by first week of May. Property owners are responsible for the condition of the sidewalk in front of their house(s), but that doesn’t prohibit the city from applying for grants.

Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings- Councilmember Estes had a committee meeting March 3rd. She wants to meet with PW Supt. Griffin to discuss building and cemetery needs.

Personnel & Pool- Councilmember Pearce is gathering information about the hiring practices for the pool employees. She spoke with the City of Pullman to gather more information. Bev is having a committee meeting tomorrow night. Wants to get things solidified so can get going on the hiring of 2014 staff.

Finance, Property, & Equipment- no report. Councilmember Langsett will be meeting with Joyce to learn financial end of things.

Sharon Tharp: She lives on NE hillside of town and can hear everything from their house. She is very concerned about ATV’s going through town and the noise they will cause, which in turn will cause barking dogs, traffic concerns, etc. They appreciate the peacefulness of Palouse and don’t want the ATV ordinance.

DOE is meeting this week with public works and the Mayor regarding the sewer plant. Aaron Flansburg has been invited due to his skatepark plans at that location.

Mayor Echanove, Councilmembers Wekenman & Pearce, and Deputy Clerk Thompson attended the Mayor’s Roundtable March 6 in Albion. Keynote speaker was Terry Lawhead from Department of Commerce.

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

ADJOURN: Councilmember Estes MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 7:58 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:
Payroll Paid 2/28/14 Ck. #5534-#5550 & EFT $36,451.19
Claims Paid Ck. #5551-#5573 & EFT $12,253.80

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________