October 10, 2017

DRAFT ONLY.  Without council review or approval.

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

October 10, 2017


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


ROLL CALL:  Council members present:  Doreen Hanson; Bill Slinkard; Mike Hicks; Senja Estes; Rick Wekenman; Mark Wilcomb; Bob Stout.  Staff present:  Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Police Officer Joe Handley; Clerk-Treasurer Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson.


APPROVAL OF MINUTES:  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of September 26, 2017.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.


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



Chief Neumann got commitments from three reserve officers to work Haunted Palouse in addition to the 3-man Palouse PD.

Garfield approved the 3% increase to PD contract for 2019-2021. It is a 4-year contract with no increase for 2018.



BI Gladwill is anticipating a couple more houses to be constructed in Palouse still this year.

Regarding the dilapidated portion of the Palouse Arms building, Dan will ask him to barricade it for Haunted Palouse.  Councilmember Wekenman wants a deadline given to the owner to complete the project. Council sentiment is they want to see noticeable clean-up/progress by the end of May. Dan will discuss with owner. Owner does have a permit; he’s just making slow progress.



Tax revenues look good, 85-90% of budgeted revenue to date for most. Property taxes collected are a little behind but the city always gets two big payments prior to the end of the year. Things are financially sound, no red flags.

Munir Daud is still working to get ML Albright (and subs) to complete the last 5% of West Whitman Street:  a concrete curb cutout, ADA-conforming curbs, and traffic signs.  And Avista still needs to install the street lights which they are projecting to be done by end of October.


CT Dixon is still working on Rural Development app with TD&H for water tower on south hill in Palouse. No update yet.


CT Dixon reached out to two other companies in an attempt to get additional bids for the well telemetry.  One was out of Boise and that’s not viable to work remotely.  The other was Inland NW ATS out of Spokane, and they partner with AES (who we received the first quote from). Most companies that perform this service have staff who provide telemetry in conjunction with much larger projects and are not necessarily interested in taking on a project of our size.  So the city is going to go with AES’s bid for $14,200 + tax.


Varela & DOE update:  Spokane’s Mayor David Condon flew to DC to meet with the EPA to discuss the same problem facing Palouse right now with wastewater effluent regulations.  EPA ignored Washington State Dept of Ecology’s recommendation of allowing 170 pcb’s and instead lowered it to 7 parts per quadrillion.  Mayor Condon wanted to discuss the merits of EPA’s decision given that they are forcing a regulation that is not measurable with current technology. This decision will have a big effect on large and small cities alike, driving up sewer rates substantially to upgrade and reconstruct wastewater treatment facilities to meet these unattainable regulations, or explore other, very costly alternatives.


Michael and Kyle will be at IACC infrastructure funding conference in Wenatchee October 24-26.


Annie Pillers would like council thoughts and approval regarding an informational mailer for the upcoming EMS levy. No objections. City will distribute a mailer to the voters to inform them of the upcoming levy.


CT Dixon met with Apollo today about other possible projects for the city that could potentially save money like the solar project is doing for the well pump.


City received our first marijuana excise tax revenue of approximately $125.


Ongoing wage discussion.  Council was presented with a variety of spreadsheets outlining various wage increases and the effects on budget including Mayor’s proposal and various employee proposals.  Also included was a 10-year employee wage history.  Council is to study and bring their recommendations to CT Dixon.



Kevin Gardes (and others) of Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee (PBAC) to discuss water supply alternative study:  Palouse’s water system is part of the basin.  We pump less water now than in 1992 even though population has increased by 25%.  But aquifer is still declining at about .6 feet a year.  Much discussion ensued.  PBAC looks at solutions to the water situation and through years of research they have whittled it down to four promising options all of which can be found and studied on their website.  They encourage public participation and welcome them to their meetings.


Resolution No. 2017-10 adding Mike Wolf to salary schedule:  This just adds new employee Mike Wolf to the salary schedule.  Councilmember Slinkard MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Wekenman to adopt Resolution No. 2017-10.  Motion carried unanimously.


Resolution No. 2017-11 setting the date for street vacation public hearing:  Mayor read aloud the resolution in its entirety.  Councilmember Wilcomb MOVED, seconded by Councilmember Hanson to approve Resolution No. 2017-11 setting a date for a street vacation public hearing.  Motion carried unanimously.



No reports.



Palouse residents Nancy & Nick Whitesell are very concerned with the property condition of two of their abutting property owners.  They submitted numerous photos of the two properties showing various issues such as overgrown weeds, disrepair, concerning electric pole, property encroachment, etc.  They haven’t been able to sell their house and believe it is because of these properties.  They offered to clean up one of the properties at their own expense and labor to no avail.  BI Gladwill suggested contacting L&I regarding the electrical pole issue because if it’s a safety hazard L&I will intervene.  Some of the other issues are enforceable by code and council instructed Chief Neumann to  contact both owners.



We have not yet received the deadline extension from DOE to submit our wastewater discharge plan.  If they don’t answer us and our deadline passes, what happens?  Mayor will ask Diana Washington, our North Fork Palouse River NPDES permit manager at DOE.  The city is holding off paying the latest Varela bill pending their response to that big EPA oversight. Council wants Varela present at council to answer questions and make this right.


Nicole Flansburg has resigned her seat on the Palouse Planning Commission.  We are sorry to see her go.  We now have two vacancies on the PC to fill.


Mayor and CT Dixon are attending the IACC conference Oct. 24-26.


Liquor license renewal for Bank Left Bistro.  No objections.


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


The following checks are approved for payment:

Payroll Paid      9/30/17             Ck. #8624-8641, 8643 & EFT                 $48,450.48

Claims Paid      10/10/17            Ck. #8642, 8644-8674 & EFT                 $30,154.18

VOID:               Ck. Nos. 8619-8623


ADJOURN:  Councilmember Hicks MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Slinkard seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 9:20 PM.




APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________