November 12, 2013

PUBLIC HEARING on 2014 Preliminary Budget
Followed by
Regular Council Meeting
November 12, 2013

CALL TO ORDER: Mayor Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:02 PM.

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Senja Estes; Tim Jones; Connie Newman, Bo Ossinger; Norm Schorzman; Rick Wekenman. Absent: Alison Webb. Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Officer Joe Merry; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson (left at 7:10); & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Public present: Darcie Bagott; Tylor Wilson; Aaron Flansburg; Don Snekvik; Charlotte Snekvik; Debbie Goetz; Adam Barron; Ami Kramer; Kelsi Bakeman (left at 7:25); Kari Watkins; Nicole Flansburg. Councilmember Newman MOVED to excuse Councilmember Webb’s absence. Councilmember Schorzman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC HEARING: 2014 preliminary budget. Opened public Hearing at 7:04. No comments. Closed at 7:06.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Councilmember Newman amended the minutes to say under her water/sewer committee report “raise it [sewer rate] $1.00 before the end of the year”. Councilmember Jones MOVED to adopt the amended minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of October 22, 2013. Councilmember Ossinger seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

OPEN FORUM: Debbie Goetz, representing Palouse Chamber of Commerce, requested permission to use Heritage Park Nov. 30-Jan 4 for a lighted holiday display. They won’t use any religious decorations. The Chamber will pay some money toward the city’s electricity used at Heritage Park during that time frame. Councilmember Jones MOVED to authorize the chamber to use the area at Heritage Park as described. Councilmember Ossinger seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

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

POLICE REPORT: Officer Merry reported all is well in both Garfield and Palouse.

2014 Budget Discussions: No new information because we still don’t know the results of our levy lid lift. Results will be official November 26. Whether it passes or not, none of our expenditures change unless council chooses; the only difference will be on the revenue side.

Aaron Flansburg: Skate park update/location discussion – Aaron gave a slideshow presentation, outlining the results of a survey he took where signers could rank location preferences for a skate park. Location options he gave were: on private property; Whitman Street; Hayton Greene (city) Park; former trailer park; sewer plant area. Aaron reviewed the pros and cons of all the sights. The sewer plant option was by far everyone’s first choice and the park was the least favorite choice. Skatepark Committee raised $14,297 from Haunted Palouse bringing their account total to $20,500.

Councilmember Newman MOVED to approve the sewer plant site for the skatepark development. The skate park will be for use by skateboards, non-motorized scooters and skates only. Skate park to be incorporated into the city’s park system. Must abide by the following contingencies: 1) Design shall meet criteria for safety as approved by the city’s insurance carrier; 2) design shall maintain reasonable access to underground utilities by typical excavation machinery; 3) A council representative shall be on the Palouse Skate Park Association design committee and the design will be presented to council for approval before construction; 4) Palouse Skate Park Association shall maintain a reserve fund of $1,000 toward potential repairs; 5) Performance bond shall be in place before construction begins; 6) Contractor shall be bonded and licensed and carry appropriate liability insurance; 7) Palouse Skate Park Association will provide quarterly updates on the skate park development. Councilmember Jones seconded. Discussion continued. Councilmember Wekenman asked if Palouse Conservation District was contacted about this location since they were the ones who did all the native plantings. Aaron said he had not contacted PCD but in the location where he’s proposing the skatepark there are only native grasses growing. Councilmember Newman said there are no legal reasons it can’t be reused for other purposes. Councilmember Wekenman pointed out that the sewer plant area falls into our critical areas and Aaron needs to be sure Ecology will allow the build in the first place. Councilmember Newman said that if in this process Ecology tells Aaron no, council will revisit other locations.

Councilmember Newman reminded everyone that Aaron spoke with the city’s insurance carrier and they estimate a maximum increase of $100 a year to our insurance, provided it meets the criteria for safety as approved by our insurance carrier.

Councilmember Jones MOVED to call to question the prior motion. Councilmember Newman seconded. And the motion carried unanimously. Regarding Councilmember Newman’s earlier motion to approve the sewer plant site for the skate park and Councilmember Jones’ second, motion carried with one nay vote from Councilmember Wekenman. Councilmembers Estes and Ossinger will both be council representatives on the Palouse Skate Park Association design committee.

Resolution No. 2013-10: 2014 Fee Schedule – Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety. Fee changes included raises in the following: cost of gravel; cost of dig & cover (dirt & gravel); & cost of dig & cover (asphalt). Councilmember Jones MOVED to adopt Resolution No. 2013-10. Councilmember Wekenman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Resolution No. 2013-11: 2014 Salary Schedule – Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety. Joyce put back into the salaries the 3% cut that staff took in January 2011. Councilmember Newman wants to table this resolution until the results of the levy lid lift are in. She would like to consider COLA raises and make the staff whole if the lid lift passes. Councilmember Jones MOVED to table this resolution until next meeting. Councilmember Newman seconded. Motion carried unanimously.

Resolution No. 2013-12: establishing a volunteer student advisor position to council for GPHS senior project – Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety. Councilmember Newman explained that AWC encourages cities to offer this type of opportunity to students. There are only five or six cities in Washington who have a student advisor position. Councilmember Newman had Atty. Bishop write this resolution. A councilmember has to be willing to make the commitment if a student applies. Other than Connie, whose term expires in December, there were no other interested mentors. Council had Deputy Clerk revise the resolution to include that in the absence of a willing councilperson, council could select a community person to mentor the student advisor. The student will be non-voting and not allowed in executive sessions. Connie sees this as a long-term benefit to the city. Councilmember Newman MOVED to adopt Resolution No. 2013-12. Councilmember Jones seconded. Councilmember Wekenman questioned the title “student advisor” and the formality of this and if a resolution is really needed. Much discussion ensued. Motion carried. Councilmembers Wekenman and Ossinger voted nay.

Interview applicant for City Council student advisor position to council – Connie described the position more in-depth. She’ll work with applicants diligently. Tylor Wilson was the only applicant. He’s interested in business ethics, management, and finance. He’s looking forward to learning about Palouse city business and how council makes Palouse such a great place. Councilmember Newman interviewed him prior to tonight’s council meeting. Council had no additional questions for Tylor. Councilmember Jones MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Estes to appoint Connie Newman as the (citizen) mentor for this position through May 2014. Motion carried unanimously. Councilmember Jones MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Estes, to accept Tylor Wilson as our Student Advisor. Mayor Echanove swore Tylor Wilson in as Palouse’s Student Advisor to council.

Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair: Councilmember Newman had a printout of the last 10 years of water and sewer rates. Back in 2011, it was recommended that we look into implementing annual rate increases, either percentage increase or dollar amounts. That follows what some other communities do. We have not done that because we were so focused on the Water System Plan. Our sewer rate is $26 for the base which is not setting enough aside for future needs but rather just covering day-to-day expenses. Councilmember Newman MOVED to authorize Joyce to draw up an ordinance to raise the base rate by $1.00. Councilmember Jones seconded. Motion carried unanimously. With the current trends, we’re anticipating an additional $1.00 increase in 2014.

Policy & Administration-Bo Ossinger, Chair: no report
Personnel & Pool-Norm Schorzman, Chair: no report
Finance, Property, & Equipment-Tim Jones, Chair: no report
Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings-Alison Webb. Chair: no report
Police, Fire, & Safety-Rick Wekenman, Chair: no report
Streets & Sidewalks-Senja Estes, Chair: no report

The DOE extended the expiration date from 12/31/13 to 6/30/2015 for our Remedial Action Grant for toxic cleanup of the Brownfield site. These funds will be used for future testing.

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

ADJOURN: Councilmember Jones MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Estes seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 9:28 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:
Payroll Paid 10/31/13 Ck. #5243-5261 & EFT $34,786.00
Claims Paid 11/12/13 Ck. #5241, #5242 & #5262-5289 E EFT $40,403.90

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________