October 13, 2009

October 13, 2009

CALL TO ORDER:   Mayor Pro Tem Rick Wekenman called the Council Meeting to order at 7:00 PM.

ROLL CALL:   Council members present:  Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Norm Schorzman; & Jeff Snook..  Absent:  Mayor Echanove (out of town) and Councilmember Andy O’Neill.  Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; City Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.  Public present:  John Eastburn; Jon Fleischman; Randy Zehm; Dixie Reber; Chris Lowe; Steve McGehee.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Snook MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of September 22, 2009.  Councilmember Schorzman seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:   Supt. Griffin reported they finished installing new w/s service to the new build on Union Street (Habitat for Humanity home).  The chipper was here last week and is coming again on the 20th.  The unstable city siren has been repaired.  The crew has been repairing water leaks.  The city water reservoir on the North hill is leaking and they are in the process of determining what needs to be done.  The reservoir is very old but it is steel lined.

POLICE REPORT :  Chief Neumann reported he is participating in a training which will allow him to give instruction to Boy Scouts and 4-H kids who are interested in learning firearm safety.  Councilmember Bailey asked whether this training will substitute for hunter safety for those kids who aren’t interested in hunting, just in shooting trap.  Chief Neumann will look into that.

There have been a number of complaints recently about signs being posted on power poles.  Chief reminds residents that it is actually a misdemeanor to put anything on power poles.

Chief Neumann did a Haunted Shady Lane dry run with the Lions Club and it went really well.

JFB REPORT:   Rick Wekenman reported there have been 20 YTD fire calls compared to 15 last year at this time.  Total EMS calls YTD 46, up a few from last year.  EMS is going to probably spend about $1,800 in “abnormal” purchases before the end of the year.  The FD isn’t projecting any unusual expenses thru the end of the year.  The training trailer was at the school teaching kids what to do in case there is a house fire.

Regarding water service in Breeding’s Addition, Mark Bailey reported we need to give permission to Jack Nagle to work in the right of ways of 8th and D Streets to provide 2” water service to the NE corner of 8th and D.  Councilmember Bailey MOVED to allow Jack Nagle to excavate and install a 2” water line to the NE corner of D & 8th.  Councilmember Schorzman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Councilmember Bailey reported that the Mayor would like MD&A to develop an engineered plan for 6” water distribution system for the area being developed in Breeding’s Addition.  The engineer will work with the Dept. of Health (DOH) for approval.  Munir thinks he can have that engineering done in less than two weeks at an estimated cost of $1,500 – $2,000.  It is unknown how long DOH approval will take, but in the meantime estimates can be put together for individual properties.  The city cannot approve 2” single service lines anywhere and everywhere leaving other lots with no route for getting water.  Clerk Beeson stated that MDA is so familiar with the rock and the elevations in this area.  We don’t have to go to bid if it’s under $7,500.  Councilmember Bailey MOVED to approve MDA to develop an engineered plan for a 6” water distribution system, not to exceed $2,000.  Councilmember Schorzman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

John Eastburn asked what it would take to get a work order to get the process moving along to hook into the city 6” line on 9th Street.  Supt. Griffin will meet with John this week to discuss the specifics.  John’s project will be a ½ day project for public works.

Steve McGehee asked if the city is no longer liable to bring water to the property.  Councilmember Bailey clarified that we are only having the engineering done.  It will still be up to the property owners to get the work done.  Right now the city is just trying to get a consistent plan.  The work Jack Nagle will be doing is a 2” line which will only serve one home.  There are three issues in developing that property:  water service, fire hydrant, and right-of-way issues.


FINANCE, PROPERTY & EQUIPMENT :  The biggest change in the general fund will be adding the 6% w/s utility tax.  The 6% applies to the $21 sewer charge which amounts to $1.26, plus 6% on water usage including overage.  The ordinance is already in Palouse’s code from the year 2000, but it has never been implemented.  City hall will put together some numbers on what the charges will be on an average water/sewer bill and email it to the city’s listserve and also put it in the Boomerang.  Mayor Echanove recommends a public hearing on the issue.  Councilmember Bailey suggested the hearing be held the same night as the preliminary budget meeting (Nov. 10) so that people can hear/learn the reasons why the city needs to implement the tax.  Mark explained “if inflation goes up 3% a year and property taxes can only go up 1%, we need to offset those revenue losses.”  Steve McGehee commented that the city could spend less.  Councilmember Bailey responded that the city has been very slim since 2000 and there’s not a lot of fat there.

Preliminary budget hearing will be Nov. 10 and the public hearing for the final budget will be Nov. 24th.  The final budget will be presented to adopt on December 8th.  The only request to the budget is to replace the one-ton pick-up (city’s snow plow) in 2010.  Councilmember Schorzman brought up having a snow plow policy which would set a minimum accumulation of snow required before public works plows.  Supt. Griffin agreed that a policy for plowing is a good idea.

The John Deere needs to be replaced in 2011 (it has over 1,000 hours on it already).

There was discussion on raising the costs for dog licenses from $5 to $10 for spayed/neutered, and from $10 to $20 for not spayed/neutered.  It would help offset the cost of the contract with the Whitman Co. Humane Society to allow us to take loose dogs over there.  John Fleischman disagrees with raising the fees and basically subsidizing those who don’t pay to license their dogs.  He argued that our fees would be higher than Pullman’s.  Councilmember Bailey explained that we need to compare everything and that Pullman can charge less for pet licenses because their property tax is MUCH higher than Palouse’s.

POLICY & ADMINISTRATION:  Councilmember Bailey has no news on the Red Flag policy regarding Identity Theft.  It will be reviewed and emailed out to council.

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

ADJOURN:   Councilmember Schorzman MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 7:56 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:
Payroll Paid     1695-1713 & 1726-1731         $41,924.35
Voided             1714-1725
Claims Paid     1732-1774                               $83,506.73