Regular Palouse City Council Meeting via ZOOM teleconferencing
May 25, 2021
CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Cook called the Council Meeting to order at 7:00 PM.
ROLL CALL: Council members present: Mary Welcome; Tim Sievers; John Snyder; Jim Fielder; Libby Akin; Katie Cooper; Bill Slinkard (7:17 pm). Staff present: Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Public Works Supt. Mike Wolf; incoming City Administrator Brad Coughenour; incoming Deputy Clerk Misty La Follett.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Sievers MOVED to approve the minutes of the Public Hearing and Regular Council Meeting of May 11, 2021. Councilmember Fielder seconded. Motion carried.
PUBLIC WORKS REPORT: Supt. Wolf submitted a written report.
We have enough chlorine to get us through the season (during this current national chlorine shortage).
Councilmember Welcome praised Public Works for the condition of the cemetery.
PW Supt. Wolf will discuss with Mayor Cook next week the possibility of hiring a seasonal helper.
Thanks to resident Monty Nearing for all his volunteer work caring for the nature walk.
PW Supt. Wolf thanked Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson for everything all these years.
POLICE REPORT: Chief Neumann submitted the police log.
DEPUTY CLERK REPORT:
-DC Thompson submitted the April 2021 Treasurer’s Report. Everything is balanced. No red flags at this time.
-The reservations are really starting to pick up at the RV Park for the upcoming summer.
-DC Thompson began training her replacement (Misty La Follett) yesterday (5/24). Ann is optimistic and confident that Misty’s skills will prove beneficial to the city.
-This is DC Thompson’s 277th and final council meeting as an employee of Palouse. Her last day is Thursday.
Michelle Bly of TD&H gave an update on Water System Improvements: Luke and Morgan from TD&H met with PW staff and went through the project with them and after that submitted the report and plans to DOH for review. We’re hoping to get comments back soon so we can address them before our contract expires. The PWTF loan expires June 30, 2021. The city needs to submit requests for reimbursement before this deadline. TD&H did not use the full amount of the contract. Moving forward from there it has been TD&H’s intent to help Palouse find funding for construction for the Church Street, Culton Street, and H Street looping main. Costs are escalating for materials. When pursuing construction funding it would be the recommendation of TD&H to pursue funds where the construction funds requested are in excess of 40% greater than the construction estimates. Michelle doesn’t believe Palouse will need all that funding but it’s a placeholder so the city isn’t put in a cash-poor position if the city wants TD&H to find funding for city. There is an opportunity with PW Board for construction funding. Councilmembers Sievers and Slinkard think the time is right to move forward to get an application in and see what happens. Michelle will proceed with application with the PW Board and should come before council at second meeting in June. In meantime she will be working with PW Board on city’s behalf to work toward closing out the preconstruction loan city has.
Ordinance No. 1007 – adopting K Street vacation: This is the formal adoption of the K Street vacation previously discussed at the May 11, 2021 public hearing. Councilmember Fielder MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 1007. Councilmember Slinkard seconded. Motion carried.
Ordinance No. 1008 – Budget Amendment to Water System Reserve Fund 412: Councilmember Welcome MOVED to adopt Ord. No. 1008. Councilmember Snyder seconded. Motion carried.
Resolution No. 2021-06 – New salary schedule to add the salaries for the new City Administrator and the new Deputy Clerk. Councilmember Sievers MOVED to adopt Resolution No. 2021-06. Councilmember Welcome seconded. Motion carried.
Executive Session – Council adjourned at 7:28 pm to go into Executive Session to discuss Building Inspector position. Council reconvened at 7:41 pm.
Budget, Finance, & Major Acquisitions, Chair Welcome–
-We have ready our recommendations for the allocation of our Cares Act funding. We’re anticipating the arrival of those funds mid-June and when they’re distributed there will be a new set of guidelines. Councilmember Welcome will ensure that the spending will be in compliance with Dept of Commerce and that the expenditures are a sound use of the funds.
-At the request of outgoing Deputy Clerk Thompson, Councilmember Welcome will be doing an exit accounting of the city’s petty cash funds.
Streets, Properties, & Facilities, Chair Sievers-
-DC Thompson met last week with Councilmember Sievers and pool manager Beck Meisel to try, before her departure, to go over everything pool-related. Councilmember Sievers took a lot of notes in hopes of moving forward.
Personnel, Chair Snyder– *See Mayor’s report.
Policy & Administration, Chair Cooper-
-Committee met to continue discussion about ways to address the feral cat problem in Palouse. The committee is toying with idea of putting into city code a requirement that outdoor cats have to be spayed or neutered. There is still a lot of discussion to be had.
Council took a moment of silence in recognition of former councilmember Steve Alred who passed away earlier this month.
Appointment of Mayor Pro-Tem: Councilmember Cooper is stepping down from the position effective May 27. Councilmember Welcome MOVED to nominate Councilmember Sievers. Councilmember Fielder seconded. Motion carried.
Hiring of new City Administrator and new Deputy Clerk: Misty La Follett was hired as the new Deputy Clerk and began training yesterday (5/24/21) with outgoing DC Thompson. Councilmember Sievers MOVED to confirm the hiring of Misty La Follett as DC. Councilmember Snyder seconded. Motion carried. Brad Coughenour was hired as the new City Administrator to begin work tomorrow (5/26/21). Councilmember Slinkard MOVED to confirm the hiring of Brad Coughenour as City Administrator. Councilmember Akin seconded. Motion carried.
Mayor Cook thanked Deputy Clerk Thompson for her service to Palouse. Mayor Cook has requested to retroactively increase DC Thompson’s salary to that of the City Administrator salary effective from date of CA Dixon’s departure until her departure because she has been fulfilling the role of both positions by herself. Councilmember Sievers MOVED to retroactively increase the salary of DC Thompson to the salary of City Administrator from the time of CA Dixon’s departure date until her departure date. Councilmember Slinkard seconded. Motion carried. Councilmembers thanked DC Thompson for her years of service to Palouse.
The only bid received for the Palouse Cove sidewalk project came in high. Mayor Cook spoke with TIB to see about getting some additional funds for this project. He also spoke with the bidder, White Diamond Concrete, to see if they could cut back on their bid. There was a $40,000 increase in this bid from previous bid. Engineer MD&A isn’t happy with the bid and how this is unfolding. He is of the opinion that unless TIB and White Diamond Concrete pick up those costs, the city should consider a different project. Discussion will continue. Mayor Cook will notify council when he hears a response.
Youth Advisory Board update. Councilmember Akin and Mayor Cook held an informational meeting last week with interested students in the Youth Advisory Board. They have received four applications so far. Other teens in the Palouse area are still welcome to apply. Councilmember Akin will keep council informed of the progress.
ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS: There was some concern over an invoice from Hemphill Electric for $850 to install a 20-amp circuit so the vending machine could be relocated from inside the pool house to outside the pool house (check #11626). Discussion ensued about the project. Councilmember Slinkard MOVED that, with the exception of check #11626 for Hemphill Electric, the remaining bills against the city be allowed. Councilmember Fielder seconded. City staff will hold check #11626 until Mayor Cook discusses the cost with Hemphill Electric and advises staff how to proceed. The motion carried.
The following checks are approved for payment:
Claims Paid 5/25/2021 Ck# 11622-11632 & EFT $53,820.01
ADJOURN: Councilmember Akin MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Welcome seconded. The motion carried. The council meeting adjourned at 8:24 PM.
APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________