March 27, 2018

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

March 27, 2018

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

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Bill Slinkard; Tim Sievers; Rick Wekenman; Mark Wilcomb; Bob Stout (7:10); Chris Cook (sworn in). Staff present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to excuse Councilmember Snyder’s absence. Councilmember Wilcomb seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

Chief Neumann swore in new Officer Joel M. Anderson to the Palouse Police Department.

Councilmember Sievers MOVED to appoint Chris Cook to city council. Councilmember Wilcomb seconded. Motion carried unanimously. Mayor Echanove swore in Chris Cook to Palouse City Council position #1.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of March 13, 2018. Councilmember Sievers seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Supt. Griffin submitted a written report.


New officer Anderson has begun training and Chief Neumann is very pleased so far.

Cascade Computing is going to get all three police vehicles set up for wi-fi, at no cost to city in exchange for setting up their equipment at City Hall.

PD personnel have been attending a number of trainings with more to come.

Chief Neumann wants to look into new hand-held radios for police dept.


Mark Wilcomb reported JFB finances look good.


Leonard Koepke, owner of the former Palouse Arms building was sent a certified letter last week informing him of what has to be done on the dilapidated portion of building, by when, and consequences if not.

Tracts of land just south of Palouse River and north of Shady Lane are being deeded to the city with the hope that a riverside trail can be developed to enhance the city’s parks and trail system. Whitman County Commissioners are taking applications for grants and CT Dixon will submit a proposal to them by the end of the week.

CT Dixon met with Apollo about phase 2 of solar project, adding 25 kW to existing solar site. They’re preparing their grant applications and we should have more information sometime later this summer.

City sold the dump truck for $1,500.00

The possible second site for WWTP is no longer an option as the property sold. CT Dixon has set up a meeting with Varela and the owner of the land by Well Pump #3.


Michelle Bly and Gwen Ellis of TD&H gave update on water tower: The cultural report from Plateau should be done any time and will then go to Rural Development to complete their environmental process so they can officially present a funding package to the city. Gwen explained the scientific reasons why a water tower is necessary over a concrete tower. Any storage area which is under existing water level is dead space and as a result won’t be contributing to the pressure in the system. If city decides to move forward with project they will do a more in-depth water evaluation. Discussion ensued.

Council decision on Palouse Builders preliminary proposal:

Palouse Planning Commission voted on March 7, 2018, to approve the preliminary proposal for the planned development. Neil O’Keefe, of Palouse Builders, LLC, and his realtor Connie Newman, answered questions for council. Lift station was evaluated by TD&H at Roy Druffel’s expense last fall. Results were 1) lift station was adequate as constructed and there are two pumps in it but no redundant pump; 2) TD&H recommends the purchase of a backup pump and retrofitting hour counters within the existing pump control panel. Can the current system handle all the existing development plus the 12 new lots being proposed? Answer was yes, and then some. Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Wekenman, to approve preliminary proposal. Motion carried unanimously.

Ordinance No. 969 changing Clerk-Treasurer job title & description:

Councilmember Wilcomb explained that current RCW definition of clerk-treasurer doesn’t outline what Kyle does. His role is more complex and more in line with the description of city administrator. Mayor read aloud the ordinance in its entirety. Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 969 as written. Councilmember Stout seconded. Motion carried unanimously.


Tyson & Elisha Palmer. Inquiring about solar panels being put up next to their property by Gary and Angie Cochrane. The Palmers plan on eventually developing their property and have an issue with those panels being put within the alley. Mayor explained that the city doesn’t own alleys; city just has right-of way. Alleys where city doesn’t exercise their right of way can be used by the property owner with the knowledge that if the city ever does need to use the alley, the property owner must remove any obstructions at their own expense. Three separate attorneys have verified this. Mr. Cochrane wants to put those solar panels behind his home on corner of alley, all in his half of the alley. Short of the city opening it, it’s a civil matter between Palmers and Cochranes. The Palmers are free to improve their half of the alley as they see fit.

Doug Wilcox spoke about Brownfields meeting. He suggested to council to remind ourselves of what Brownfields is about. Concept is a process that EPA and DOE have established for the cleanup of these environmentally-blighted sights and their eventual return to economic vitality in the community. There’s still one test well site that hasn’t cleared but Michael Stringer of MFA said its location will still allow for construction. MFA is currently researching whether or not the consent decree drawn up for the city can be transferrable to any potential developers for the site. This would be a big plus, as it would mitigate almost all liability for any future owners of the site.


AWC Conference is June 27-29 in Yakima. Mayor encourages any councilmembers to attend.

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

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid 3/27/18 Ck. #9065-9078 & EFT $5,681.05

ADJOURN: Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Wekenman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 9:00 PM.

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________