October 14, 2008

October 14, 2008

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

ROLL CALL:  Council members present were:  Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Andy O’Neill; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook; Rick Wekenman.  Absent were:  Darcie Bagott.  Also present were: Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; City Attorney Stephen Bishop; and Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.  Public present were Jana Mathia; and Steve McGehee.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Amend the minutes as follows:  Under PD Report, the Bridge Street had damage caused to the pavement not the actual bridge, and it was caused not by a wide truck but by a wheel and tire.  Councilmember Wekenman MOVED to adopt the minutes as amended of the Regular Council Meeting of September 23, 2008.  Councilmember Bailey seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:  Superintendent Dwayne Griffin reported they have been working steadily on the RV Park; Marc is working on getting costs for the sprinkler system because they’d like to get that done before putting in the roads (at the RV park).

The first experience with the chipper went really well.  The chipper operator is available to come any time.  The city asks that if someone has a large amount of chippable waste, to please call City Hall so we can be prepared.  The chippable waste needs to be clean, with the least amount of dirt and no rocks.

They will begin patching on North River Road; we won’t get the whole thing done this year.  They put in another sewer extension at Breeding’s and will be putting in another one this week.  There have been inquiries on water hook-ups also.

They’re trying to expand the holding area for sand because the county only wants us to buy sand from them once a year.  Last year we didn’t have enough sand and we had to beg for more.

They are concerned with some trees at the park, particularly near where the gazebo will go in.  Marc got a couple bids to trim the dead out.  R-C Tree Service bid $3,500 + tax; Wilson’s bid $165/hour based on 2-4 hours per tree (8 trees).  Joyce said she will have to do a budget amendment out of parks general maintenance.  It wouldn’t change our ending balance since Marc would hold off spending more this year on the sprinkler program.  Councilmember Snook MOVED to accept the bid from R-C Tree Service for $3,500 + tax.  Councilmember Milano seconded.  Councilmember Wekenman wondered if we should remove a tree or two, instead of just trimming, if they’re going to have to be removed within 4 or 5 years anyway.  It was decided to leave the dollar amount and if public works work can come up with a better maintenance plan, go for it.  Motion carried unanimously.

Councilmember Milano reported that the Lions club is helping with the kiosk roof at the RV Park.  With $3,500 budgeted for sprinklers, materials and installation, we’re currently at $3,000 so we have a little wiggle room.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:  Chief Neumann reported the training they signed up for is $15.00 per video course, which is an excellent price.

He reminds people that from Division Street all the way to H Street, there is NO Parking on the north sides of Church, Alder, and Mohr Streets.  He’d like to look at possible solutions to make those streets flow better and safer.

There have been a number of dog issues for which citations were issued.

PPD made two arrests of juveniles in Garfield for defacing political signs.

The Civil Service Board met for the first time.  They were able to go through the entire policy manual.  They’ll have a special meeting on Monday Oct. 20, with regular meetings beginning the first Monday in November.  Meetings are public and held upstairs of the PD at 6:00 pm.  Minutes will be available to the public.  We will try and get them posted online.

JFB :  Chief Bagott and fireman Bruce Beeson went to NY to inspect the potential new fire truck.  All reports so far are the truck exceeded expectations and it will be purchased.

Ordinance No. 847:  Amendment to Ordinance No. 839, Breeding’s Addition:  Mayor read the ordinance.  There are certain homes within the 210’ requirement that are not even feasible to hook-up to sewer.  In particular, Kirk Burnham would have to add a culvert and cut through private property.  Councilmember O’Neill MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 847, seconded by Councilmember Milano.  Discussion: Supt. Griffin asked if there will be interest accruing.  At the time we can extend that sewer pipe, he’ll pay his $7,000 plus his share of the extension cost, plus the hook-up charge, which is currently $250.  He will not be paying interest on the $7,000 initial cost.  What if his system fails tomorrow?  It’s still within the ordinance that if it fails he’ll have to do whatever needs to be done to connect to the city sewer.  His property will no longer be exempt and he understands that.  Motion carried unanimously.

River Gauge Monitoring Contract:  authorize Mayor to sign:  This is our annual maintenance that we share with the USGS for our rivergauge monitoring system at Kennedy Ford.  It has gone up its usual amount, 6%.  Our share for 2009 will be $1,420 if we sign this contract.  This provides an excellent service for our community.  Councilmember Snook MOVED , and Councilmember O’Neill seconded to allow the mayor to sign the agreement for continued usage of the monitoring gauge at Kennedy Ford.  Motion carried unanimously.

2009 Budget Discussion:  See committee reports below.


PARKS, CEMETERY & BUILDINGS:  Councilmember Milano reported that we had $900 for some updated wiring at the park, which may increase to $1,800 to also feed power to the gazebo and update the existing wiring at the shelters.  He would like to try soliciting some outside donations from event organizers.  Supt. Griffin thinks it will be money well spent.  It’s also a real safety issue.  It was agreed to include $2,000 in park improvements for ‘09 budget for electrical work at the park.  Clerk Beeson reported that we have set aside $50,000 for a public works building.  That is not enough, but with the higher costs and effects to the general fund, the transfer out to Building Reserve fund could go down from $12K to $2K.

POLICE, FIRE, & SAFETY :   Councilmember Snook had a personnel committee meeting to discuss salary changes for next year.  Chief Neumann brought up the purchase of the third police vehicle.  No extra money will be required for the third officer equipment because they were able to use their surplus.  The PD would like to include Garfield on the dog contract with Whitman County.  We probably need to amend our contract with them but hopefully, not the dollar amount.

POLICY & ADMINISTRATION Councilmember Bailey reported that we were awarded a grant from DOE for $13,000 total, with the city share of 25% or $3,250 for construction and improvements to the compost facility.  The problem is we’ve already completed those in-house so we’re looking at where we could best use the grant.  They are considering a capital purchase for equipment.

FINANCE, PROPERTY & EQUIPMENT :  Clerk Beeson brought up the need for new software for the city.  We’ve been operating with an old DOS system.  Councilmember Bailey concurred that what the city is using is almost obsolete and needs to be updated to keep up with the new state requirements.  We’ve received two proposals for new software.  Basically, it would cost about $5,000/year for 5 years, and an additional $3,000/year for support.     

PERSONNEL & POOL:  Councilmember Snook reported the personnel committee met to discuss salaries for the 2009 budget.  They used the AWC’s (Association of Washington Cities) annual Salary & Benefit guide, using cities with populations of 500-1500.  Regarding salaries we propose the following:  City Clerk- 5% increase to $3,587; Deputy Clerk- 5% increase to $2,100; Police Chief- 3% increase to $4,017; Police Officer in Charge- 5% increase to $3,360; Police Officer- 2% increase to $3,264 upon completion of his probation; PW Supt- 5% increase to $3,638; WWTP Operator- 3% increase to $3,640; Public Works Assistant- 3% increase to $3,189.  Lifeguards minimum wage goes to $8.55/hour.  These figures will increase our budget by $11,807.  In general, all these salaries fall just below or right at the average.  One considerable exception was the PW Supt. which is much lower than the average.  That range was $59,000 – $75,000.  Councilmember’s Bailey and O’Neill are concerned with our PW Supt. making significantly less than the state average.  Clerk Beeson also explained that the Deputy Clerk is at the same time frame as Dwayne and is working into her position also.  Mayor stated that when we’re talking about a 5% increase for the Deputy Clerk, we’re talking only $100/month.  Councilmember Wekenman expressed concern about the amount of money spent over the last few years.  Councilmember Bailey realizes it’s going to be a tight budget next year, but he doesn’t think salaries are where we should skimp.  Mayor said our personnel are our biggest single asset to the city.  We’re trying to keep up with cost-of-living.  The increases for insurance are:  8.2% for medical, 0 for dental.  Mayor requested the personnel committee put these numbers into the budget and the committee can fine-tune it and instruct the mayor how to proceed.

STREETS & SIDEWALKS :  Clerk Beeson submitted her third billing to TIB for Whitman Street.  After this third reimbursement, all that will be left is the retainage plus about $4,000 for Spokane Rock.  The only request for the 2009 budget is the H Street sidewalk project.  The city’s share is $10,000 so we need to make sure we have that money in our arterial street fund.

WATER & SEWER:   Councilmember O’Neill reported that the Finance Committee made a recommendation to increase the water/sewer rates by $1.00 each, increase the NSF check fee (bounced check) from $10 to $25 and increase the late fee from $5 to $10.  Councilmember O’Neill presented a report from AWC comparing water/sewer rates.  We’re well under the average for other cities.  Councilmember O’Neill MOVED , and Councilmember Milano seconded instructing Clerk Beeson to draft an ordinance raising the water and sewer $1 each, increasing NSF fee to $25 and the late fee to $10.  Councilmember Snook talked with cities our size at the AWC conference and their rates were out of sight compared to Palouse’s.  Clerk Beeson pointed out that of the $26 for sewer, only $20 goes into operating.  The balance is going to loan payments for the new sewer plant and belt press system.  When you consider we’re actually operating at $20, it’s on the really low end.  Motion carried unanimously.

MAYOR’S REPORT:   Our insurance carriers indicated a 6-8% increase.  Our employee health care coverage will be an 8% increase; we’ll make it 10% in our budget to cover our bases.  Councilmember’s Snook and Milano attended an AWC conference last week; apparently we’re really fortunate we got our big projects done when we did because the money from the state isn’t going to be trickling down to the cities.

The mayor received a scholarship to attend a Brownfields conference in Tacoma next week.

Regarding trailer #3 at the MH Park, the surplus to the person in Garfield fell through.  However City Hall was contacted last week by a man in Genesee who wants to purchase it for $300 plus he’ll pay for all the moving expenses.  As soon as everything is all clear, we’ll move forward on that.

In regards to the car-crushing extravaganza, the county contractor will no longer tow the cars from personal property, only from one central location.  We’ve had an offer from Bud Bagott to tow vehicles to the central location.  At this time, we still don’t have a concrete date.  Once we know more, we will be notifying those people signed up.  People can still call City Hall to sign up.

We’ve had a request from Glenn Curtis who wants to use the old city dump road as a driveway.  He’s asking the city for permission to use it, make improvements to it.  According to Don, the city actually owns the road.  It’s currently a fair-weather road only.  Councilmember Bailey would rather sell it to him than give him the right of way.  Attorney Bishop’s concern was if we allow him to improve it, that the city isn’t liable for any accidents, plowing, up keep.  There are a few different options:  sell the road and retain the easement, sell it as a cooperative.  We will investigate further.

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

ADJOURN:  Councilmember Snook MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:47 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:
Claims VOID:  #13392
Claims Paid     #13393 – #13440         $193,821.63

Payroll Paid     #6968 – #6990             $  35,794.98