May 12, 2020

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

May 12, 2020

Via Zoom Videoconferencing


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


ROLL CALL:  Council members present:  Mary Welcome; Bill Slinkard; Tim Sievers; John Snyder; Jim Fielder; Steve Alred; Katie Cooper.  Staff present: Police Chief Jerry Neumann; City Administrator Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Cooper MOVED to approve the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of April 14, 2020 as written. Councilmember Slinkard seconded.  Motion carried.


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

-Thank you to the Rose Ladies for their work on Central Park at City Hall.

-New mower for Mike Wolf will be here soon; the mower we received was ordered wrong from factory.

-Fuel pump went out in Walter’s 2000 pickup. It has been replaced.  A replacement vehicle will be needed in near future.


POLICE REPORT:  Chief Neumann submitted a written report.

-Had to replace the battery in 2013 Dodge Journey vehicle #3; 2013 Dodge Journey vehicle #2 is having the same battery issue;

-Chief will be working with CA Dixon to finalize the purchase of a speed reader display sign for south Hwy 27 entrance into town.


JOINT FIRE BOARD REPORT: Councilmember Fielder reported.

FD had three meetings in March: two were trainings and one was a station night.

FD had three mutual aid calls in March, and two in-district calls.

EMS had 14 calls in March: 11 were city residents, 1 rural resident, and 2 non-residents.


CITY ADMINISTRATOR REPORT:  CA Dixon submitted a written report.

-Supt. Griffin has announced his retirement July 30th. He leaves enormous shoes to fill. We are incredibly fortunate to have had his work ethic and skill set for as long as we did. Palouse will immediately begin prep to find his replacement.

-No comments back from ECY on wastewater facility plan.

-Atty. Hanson is drafting an interlocal agreement for exchange of services between Palouse and Garfield’s respective Public Works departments on an hour-for-hour basis. This will allow for Palouse to utilize Garfield’s Level 2 Wastewater Operator to satisfy ECY requirements. CA Dixon will send the contract to council for review once completed.

-Washington State (and Whitman County) is currently in Phase 1 of reopening. Excerpts from Whitman County Commissioner Art Swannack: “Whitman County is planning to apply for a phase variance to go from the Governor’s phase 1 opening to phase 2 opening rules (currently scheduled for June 1st). The Whitman Co. Board of Health and Whitman Co. Commissioners have each scheduled a special meeting to consider the application package for the variance and vote on it. If/once approved by both entities, our Public Health Director will submit the plan that same day to the Washington State Dept of Health. If Whitman County has a Covid-19 case diagnosed before the afternoon of May 13th, we will not be able to submit the request.”  If approved, Whitman County will move to Phase 2 of the reopening.

-The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (“CARES Act”) has allocated up to $32,400 for the City of Palouse, provided that payments from the fund may only be used to cover costs that: 1) are necessary expenditures incurred due to the public health emergency with respect to the COVID-19; 2) were not accounted for in the budget most recently approved as of March 27, 2020; and 3) were incurred during the period that begins on March 1, 2020, and ends on December 30, 2020.  CA Dixon will consult with AWC and will solicit input from the Palouse Chamber of Commerce to identify all expenditures eligible for reimbursement.

-Palouse Pool is tentatively scheduled to open on June 20th. Governor Inslee’s phase 3 of reopening allows for public pools to open at 50% capacity. We will continue to monitor this timeline and adjust accordingly. Park restrooms will probably open at the same time.

-Streets Committee, Mayor Cook, and CA Dixon met with Palouse Cove Pathway engineers yesterday. They will provide updated plans to council prior to our next meeting and will be seeking final approval at our first meeting in June to proceed to construction;

-Benches and trash cans for Shady Lane improvements that were on back order have just shipped. In addition, we have minor excavating and a bollard to install to finish up this project. CA Dixon will consult with Palouse Boy Scouts to provide local historical and/or environmental information to display at each landing.



Luke Antonich from TD&H gave an update on Water System Improvements project:  Luke discussed the pros and cons and estimated costs of the four alternatives to address the city’s pressure, fire flow, and water storage.  Estimated costs ranged from $2.1 million to $4.1 million.  Council will review options and provide direction to TDH when appropriate to do so.



Viking Crew Booster Club requests for 2020 GPHS seniors: Due to the circumstances of the pandemic and the seniors having to forego their traditional celebrations, the Viking Crew has a couple requests. These are one-time only events due to the pandemic, not a yearly or recurring thing.

Request 1: they would like to honor the 2020 GP graduates with a kind of reverse parade on June 6. The idea is to space each senior along Main Street and allow community and family members to drive down the street honking, waving, etc. Social distancing will be practiced. The street will be closed off.

Request 2: the Viking Crew would like to put up banners for the month of June along Main Street to honor each graduate. They will be responsible for the purchase of the banners and will be happy to assist in the hanging up and taking down of the banners.

Councilmember Sievers MOVED to approve both requests as presented. Councilmember Alred seconded. Motion carried.



Streets, Properties, & Facilities, Chair Sievers- Hoping by the next meeting to have updates on the Palouse Cove Pathway project and on the new signage at the pool.


Personnel, Chair Snyder- Committee is taking significant steps in developing the annual staff evaluation and pay grade processes.


Water & Sewer, Chair Slinkard– Reiterated the need for council to thoroughly review options for water system improvements and solidify a direction for TDH.



-Reiterated thanks to the Rose Ladies for their work at Central Park and elsewhere downtown: Donna Thompson, Mary Estes, Jeanne Jeffers, & Janet Brantner

-Reiterated gratitude to Supt. Griffin and the challenges that will arise with his departure. Recruitment begins immediately.


ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:  Councilmember Sievers MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed.  Councilmember Snyder seconded the motion and the motion carried.


The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      4/28/2020          Ck. #10812-10826 & EFT           $27,733.20

Payroll Paid      4/30/2020          Ck. #10827-10842 & EFT           $41,194.32

Claims Paid      5/12/2020          Ck. #10843-10996 & EFT           $57,036.05


ADJOURN:  Councilmember Welcome MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Fielder seconded the motion and the motion carried.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:18 PM.




APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________