March 14, 2017

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

March 14, 2017

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

ROLL CALL:  Council members present: Bill Slinkard; Mike Hicks; Senja Estes; Rick Wekenman; Mark Wilcomb; Bob Stout. Councilmember Estes MOVED to excuse Councilmember Hanson’s absence. Councilmember Slinkard seconded and the motion carried unanimously. Staff present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Officer Joe Handley; Clerk-Treasurer Kyle Dixon.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of February 28, 2017. Councilmember Wilcomb seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Supt. Griffin submitted a written report. Supt. Griffin and Chief Neumann discussed the potential for the Palouse river to flood this week.

POLICE REPORT:  Possible flooding on Wednesday and Thursday was discussed along with some historic figures. Residents may see flooding in basements along Main St. The city has sand and sand bags ready. The city is also preparing a volunteer list. Projections of the water level reaching 19.3’ have dropped to 17.5’. If projections rise again to anything over 19’, we may see some water in businesses on Main St. If this occurs, the city may need to pass a resolution declaring a state of emergency that could help us get support from the county and possible reimbursement for dollars spent and damages. Councilmember Hicks MOVED to authorize the Mayor to sign an emergency declaration in the form of a resolution should it be needed. Councilmember Wekenman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

CLERK-TREASURER REPORT: The Utilities and Transportation Commission (UTC) has approved both petitions made by the city for the railroad crossings at Mill and Mary Street for the West Whitman street project. Bids for construction of the West Whitman street project will be accepted until Wednesday, March 29th. The funding agreement with WSDOT has also been finalized for this project.


PCI Solar Project update: CT Dixon has approval from council to authorize PCI to install a communication device that will monitor the solar farm’s energy production. We were informed on March 9th that our PCI rep Sean Nordhagen no longer works for the company and a new rep has yet to be assigned to our project. CT Dixon has calls to PCI and Contract head Apollo Solutions to get this device installed and monitoring ASAP.

Wastewater Treatment Facility Update: The Palouse Wastewater Advisory Committee met with Varela on March 7th to discuss plans to update/upgrade the sewer system and treatment plant. By December 31st, 2017 the city must present plans for upgrades that meet standards acceptable to the Department of Ecology. Varela presented the city with 3 options:

#1. Seasonal storage and land treatment for nonfood crop (irrigation) during summer months. Discharge to river in winter.

Capital Cost $5 million

#2. Summer storage in lagoon and seasonal discharge to river in winter.

Capital Cost $6.5 million

#3. AKART(all known, available and reasonable methods of prevention, control and treatment) – Reasonable alternative for upgrading existing treatment plant if other options are not feasible.

Capital Cost unknown

Council discussed pros and cons of each option.




Personnel & Pool, Chair Hanson- No report.

Water & Sewer, Chair Slinkard- Discussed letter to be sent to all city residents on sewer system addressing what can and cannot be flushed or otherwise enter the sewer system. Among many other items, “flushable” wipes are causing very costly and time consuming problems with the sewer system as they do not break down like toilet paper does. If the city continues to incur costly repair bills and extra hours unclogging pipes as a result of these items, the financial burden will be passed on to the customers in the form of higher monthly sewer rates. By comparison, Palouse has very reasonable sewer rates and it is the City’s intention to keep it that way.

Streets & Sidewalks, Chair Hicks- Met with Supt. Griffin to discuss the construction of a new city shop up by well pump #3. Just looking to price out construction of a “shell” structure at this time. The Special Capital Projects Fund currently has $80,000 for the construction of a new city shop.

Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings, Chair Estes- No report.

Police, Fire, & Safety, Chair Wekenman- Had a meeting with Officer Handley to discuss the possibility of choosing a different health care option that may allow him to “opt out” if our current plan will not allow any other FTE’s to do so without penalty. CT Dixon is meeting with the City’s insurance broker in May to discuss different options and will encourage all FTE’s as well as councilmembers to attend. Discussed Officer Merry’s upcoming retirement, including a possible end date of November 30th. Committee and PD would like to have a new hire on board by October 1st to train with Officer Merry before his departure. Discussed different advertising options for position. The Garfield contract to provide LE services is coming up for renewal at the end of the year.

Policy & Administration, Chair Wilcomb- No report.

Finance, Property, & Equipment, Chair Stout- No report.


MAYOR’S REPORT:  Mayor is meeting with Cascade Services regarding fiber optic infrastructure for the city.

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

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      3/14/17 Ck. #8163-8183 & EFT                          $9,963.73

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Estes seconded and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:55 PM.


APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________