May 23, 2017

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

May 23, 2017

CALL TO ORDER:  Mayor Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:01 PM.

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of May 9, 2017.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

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

Had a water leak on South River Road, a galvanized piece of pipe that rotted out.  Public Works got it fixed in a couple hours.

West Whitman Street project has begun.


Chief Neumann reports that the Diane Main’s garage burglary case from last month is closed.  Our report has been forwarded to Boundary County where the suspect is in custody.  We still have one, ongoing, unrelated burglary case in Palouse.

Six security cameras have been installed: two at compost/sewer plant, one by park bathrooms, one by swim pool, and two at RV Park.  The cameras record 24/7.  City staff will be able to monitor from City Hall.

Garfield May Day was quiet, uneventful.  No issues.

Officer Handley attended training last week on Sector ticketing program.  Officer Merry and Chief Neumann will attend same training in August in Lewiston.  The program is cloud-based and uses very minimal data.  Tech stuff is ongoing via Whitcom.

The plan is still to begin the search for Officer Merry’s replacement in August and interview in September.

The spring Hot Rod Gathering is June 3.  Main Street will be partially closed and re-routed.


West Whitman Street construction is underway with a scheduled completion date of August 19.  Barring any setbacks, contractors believe it will be completed well before that date. When WSDOT is done with the rail on the West Whitman Street project, depending on how much money they have left in their pool, they’re going to repair the rail bump on Bridge street in front of the bank.

TD&H is going to proceed with the Rural Development application for a funding package to construct a water tower/reservoir on the south hill in Palouse.

The Palouse Library is replacing carpet and painting this summer.  Librarian Bev Pearce said the total cost will be roughly $3,200 and is asking council if the city can donate half of budgeted total.  CT Dixon said the $1,600 would come from current expense 001 fund.  Mayor explained years ago we went from Palouse City Library to a branch of the Whitman Co. Library.  It’s run by the county, but the city is still responsible for providing the facility: building, utilities, safe environment, etc.  Councilmember Wekenman suggested we look at getting an estimate for City Hall at the same time.  The City Hall carpet was replaced in 1996 after the flood, making it 20 years old.  Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Wekenman, to approve up to $1,600 for new carpet and paint for the library.  Motion carried unanimously.

The leftover sand pile has been surplussed.  The pile can be viewed at 200 E. Whitman (in front of the skatepark). Minimum bid of $25.  Sealed bids are due by 2 pm, May 31st.

JFB REPORT:  No JFB meeting because no quorum.

The pumper fire truck Chief Bagott has been searching for to replace the 1997 truck is available again at the same price as before.  Chief is taking measures to get Fire Lieutenant Bruce Beeson to Tennessee to look at it and perhaps purchase.  It will be right around $100,000, ½ coming from the city, the other ½ coming from rural.   A new one like this would cost between $300k-$350k.  The 1997 will be sold which Councilmember Wekenman thinks will get approximately $20,000.


Building Inspector contract amendment:  Up until 2012 our BI was paid $500/month plus a $30 monthly phone stipend.  In 2012 he voluntarily took a 20% pay-cut to help the city with its tight budget.  He has requested to have his pay increased to $600/month with no cell phone stipend.  CT Dixon cautions council that the city would be hard-pressed to replace a BI for that price. Councilmember Hicks MOVED to approve the BI pay increase to $600 a month with $0 for cell phone reimbursement, effective June 1, 2017.  Councilmember Wekenman seconded.  Mayor Echanove gave a building department revenue and expenditure report for years 2010-2016, outlining how much the city makes more or less than the BI, depending on the year.  Motion carried unanimously.


Apollo/PCI Renewables solar project extension:  The city came in under budget on our solar farm. Since part of our funding package included a loan that resulted from the sale of a bond, the IRS requires us to spend the entirety of the loan to avoid a penalty.  So that we don’t go down that road, we are going to expand our solar farm by adding one more row of solar panels to satisfy the requirements of the loan. Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to authorize the mayor to sign the agreement with Apollo/PCI Renewables to add another row of panels to our solar farm.  Councilmember Wilcomb seconded.  Motion carried unanimously.

The solar farm is already producing more than was guaranteed.  In May 2016, Avista’s bill for well pump #3 was $397; in May 2017, Avista’s bill for well pump #3 was $19.08.  We are also banking kWh each month that will be transferable to other city accounts to help further offset the city’s electricity costs.


Personnel & Pool, Chair Hanson-

Pool committee met last week along with pool manager Holly Leendertsen and Deputy Clerk Thompson.  Due to the shortage of staff this summer the pool will be closing at 7 pm instead of 8 pm.  If we get another lifeguard we may be able to revisit opening that last hour.

Streets & Sidewalks, Chair Hicks-  The city received a letter from Pamela and Nelson Duran regarding the alley issue.  They want the city to open the alley from street to street, east to west.  The Duran’s letter stated they will consider taking legal action against the city if not.  The City Attorney was given a copy of the letter   Atty. Hanson stressed that the city is under no obligation to open it and just because adjacent property owners are using it for their gain, it’s not “gifting”.  Public Works nor the Fire Chief want access to that alley, however it is city property and if the city ever decides they want access then they’ll take it and any obstructions or development in the alley will be removed.  Much discussion ensued.  The city attorney is drafting a response letter and CT Dixon is going to consult with city’s insurance carrier Clear Risk Solutions.

Regarding the sidewalk letter from 2016, only one property owner has not complied.  As was outlined in a letter to all parties, Supt. Griffin has contacted a concrete company and they are scheduling it for repair.  The property owners will be sent the bill.  If left unpaid a lien will be put on the property.


Three of the five council positions that will be on November’s ballot have been filed for.

West Whitman Street Consultant Agreement from TIB for Munir Daud & Associates is ready for signature. This agreement approves Munir Daud to be project engineer for construction phase of project. Councilmember Hicks MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Wilcomb, authorizing the mayor to sign the agreement.  Motion carried unanimously.

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

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      5/23/17             Ck. #8307-8324 & EFT                          $27,302.67

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Estes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:48 PM.

APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________