October 12, 2010

October 12, 2010

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

ROLL CALL:   Council members present:  Cecil Floyd; Mike Milano; Connie Newman; Norm Schorzman; & Randy Zehm.  Absent: Jeff Snook and Rick Wekenman.  Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson.  Public present:  Pete Hertz, Sarah Morin, Heidi Reitmeier, Joanna Elder, Doug Willcox and Chris Ricketts.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Newman requested a change to the minutes of September 28, 2010.  Water & Sewer Report – Insert at the end of “Preliminary talk is of increasing water by no less than $4/month and no more than $7/month”  “… as one option.  Another option being explored is a tier system based on usage which would increase the rate for people who use more water.”  Councilmember Milano MOVED to adopt the minutes as amended.  Councilmember Floyd seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Superintendent Griffin reported various maintenance activities.  Maintenance and repairs are underway on a sewer lift pump, well #1 pump, and the water booster pump.

POLICE REPORT :  Chief Neumann reported that they have been busy with mostly juvenile and dog problems.  Officer Dentler may return for light duty before the end of the month.  The Garfield contract and Park Policy are still moving forward.  Haunted Palouse plans are coming together.  Extra duty police may be called in as needed.

NEW BUSINESS :   LCSC Nursing Students’ Presentation:   Three nursing students from LCSC presented surveys, hoping to get 30 or so filled out by Palouse citizens.  The survey may help to identify needs in the community.

Palouse Planning Commission Request:  Health & Safety Code/Ordinance Review :  Councilmember Milano outlined a planning commission request for a possible answer on defining acceptable levels of “odor” and “noise” in Title 17, zoning code.  The commission has asked for the Police Chief’s input on what might be enforceable.  Mayor Echanove assigned the task to Policy & Administration – leave the code as written or write new language.  Palouse resident Chris Ricketts asked council if “light” pollution could also be addressed.   The mayor handed this issue over to the policy committee as well.

Resolution No. 2010-17:  Changes to the terms of interfund loans – Mayor Echanove read Resolution No. 2010-17 in it’s entirety and gave the table to Councilmember Milano who recapped past council discussions of the interfund loans for sewer extension to Breedings Addition.  The resolution as presented would do the following –

  • Forgive the loans and accrued interest from Current Expense and CDBG to Sewer Capital Improvement (SCI) since the funds are not restricted.
  • Extend terms of the loan from Water System Reserve to SCI to May 30, 2014, three years from the original date of maturity and reduces the earnings interest rate from 5% to 1% from the date of this resolution.

Council discussion included a question as to where future Breedings Addn. sewer connections would be receipted.  All sewer connections would still be receipted to SCI.  Councilmember Milano MOVED to adopt Resolution No. 2010-17.  Councilmember Schorzman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Ordinance No. 875:  Closing CDBG Fund 198 –  Mayor Echanove read aloud Ordinance No. 875 in it’s entirety and again by title only.  Councilmember Milano recapped past council discussions on closing fund 198 CDBG.  The fund was opened in 1984 to administer two CDBG grants for homeowner loans for housing rehabilitation.  The grant closed in December 1987 and all program income as of that date was expended on various CDBG and council approved activities.  It was confirmed that all funds collected after the close out date may be used for any activity the city chooses.  This fund with the title CDBG creates confusion for our auditors, council and citizens.  Ordinance No. 875, if passed, would transfer the funds held in 198 CDBG to Current Expense and close CDBG effective 12/31/2010.  After discussion, Councilmember Milano MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 875.  Councilmember Schorzman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Phase 3 Brownfields Agreement with MFA  –  Mayor Echanove and Brownsfield committee chair Doug Willcox recapped the Brownfields project Integrated Planning Grant (IPG) and the additional funding from an Ecology grant that allowed further testing and assessment of the contamination on the site.  This added funding of $48,000 has made it possible to expand the feasibility study to include a more comprehensive clean up strategy.  A clearly defined clean up strategy will greatly increase the probability of being fully funded at that point.  The Phase 3 contract would increase the contract with MFA by $48,000 at no cost to the city.  It does not increase the IPG since the additional funding of $48k was not charged to it.  After further clarification and discussion, Councilmember Milano MOVED to authorize the mayor to sign the Phase 3 agreement with Maul Foster Alongi.  Councilmember Floyd seconded and the motion carried unanimously.


Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings-Randy Zehm, chair :  Councilmember Zehm reported that his committee continues to gather data on cemetery rates and will include talking to city staff and Mr. Kramer.

Policy & Administration-Norm Schorzman, Chair : Councilmember Schorzman reported that his committee is making progress with the Park Use Policy and will have something to present to council soon.

Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair :  Councilmember Newman met with Andy O’Neil, RCAC, in which he reported on his progress with the water rate study his agency agreed to do for us.  It is the goal to have 2011 water rates adopted no later than the second meeting in November.  Andy would like to present his analytical data and answer questions at a future meeting.  In recapping her meeting with Andy, Councilmember Newman outlined three basic issues that are considered in setting water rates –

  • Financial Viability – Are expenditures smaller than revenues?  No, a rough estimate shows that in 2010 approximately $36,000 more will be spent than received.
  • Reserve Balance – Are there at least 45 days in expenditures held in the reserve (beginning & ending) balance?  Yes, however the balance is dwindling.
  • Emergency Reserve – Are there adequate funds held in an emergency reserve fund to meet needs as they arise?  No, since we do not have an adequate inventory of assets we cannot determine the amount needed to be held in reserve.   

These and other factors will be considered in setting the water rate for 2011.  As Andy will point out at a future meeting, another issue to address is that our current low water users are subsidizing the higher water users.

Finance, Property, & Equipment-Mike Milano, Chair :  Councilmember Milano reported that they have been unable to have a committee meeting since last month.  They will be meeting to talk about the possibility of closing certain funds that seem to serve no purpose.  The funds being considered are Public Safety Building, Contingency Reserve, Insurance Contingency, and the Fire Safety Fund.

OPEN FORUM :  No topics

MAYOR’S REPORT :     USGS River Gauge Maintenance – With this contract, the total cost of maintaining the USGS rivergauge upstream is split 50/50 between the city and USGS.  The city share is $1,425.  It transmits real-time data on river flow and height.  After discussion, Councilmember Newman MOVED to authorize the Mayor to sign the funding agreement for maintenance of the rivergauge near Potlatch.  Councilmember Milano seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Mayor Echanove reported that three requests for public record were made by Jim Farr and one by Steve McGehee.  Councilmember Newman asked that the requests be read into record.  Councilmember Newman reminded council and staff that the questions within these requests be separated and documented differently than an actual request for public record.

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

ADJOURN:   Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Zehm seconded and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:42 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:
Payroll Paid      Ck. No. 2614 – 2634 & EFT     $42,331.16
Claims Paid      Ck. No. 2635 – 2664                $21,224.66


APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________