October 26, 2010

October 26, 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; Jeff Snook; Rick Wekenman; & Randy Zehm.  Absent:  Also present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson (7:30).  Public present:  Kathy Wilson; Karen Fealy; Pete Hertz; Jon Fleischman; Heather McGehee; Darrel Goertzen.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Zehm requested the following be inserted in front of the council motion under Phase 3 Brownsfield Agreement:  “Doug Willcox said that he thought DOH had already secured 90% of the funding for clean up and he thought that DOE would also cover the other 10%.  Councilmember Zehm asked if the specific type of clean up had been decided on because there were three different levels of clean up of the site described at a previous council meeting.  Mayor Echanove said this would cover the maximum amount of clean up.”  Councilmember Zehm MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of October 12, 2010 as amended.  Councilmember Schorzman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:    Well # 1 is back in operation.  Repairs to the booster pump should be done next week.  They are making repairs to and winterizing the pool this week.  They are insulating water meters and getting equipment ready for winter weather.   Mayor Echanove informed council that Superintendent Griffin would be having back surgery Nov. 1 and will be down for 4 to 6 weeks.  He asked council to keep in mind that depending on the need, additional staff may be needed.  Supt. Griffin stated they should be OK without extra help.

POLICE REPORT :  HP is going well with just one broken window which was a non-malicious act.  October is Red Ribbon Week – Educating school kids on the danger of drugs.  Officer Dentler is back to full time duty with a limit on lifting.  Chief Neumann read aloud the press release written on the death of a 16-year-old male.

Councilmember Zehm asked Chief Neumann a series of questions covering several topics:  Q:  Was a signed runaway form completed?  A: Yes, Mr. Mayhan signed it at your office; it was faxed to me and attached to my completed form.  Q: Have you had “Access” training?  A: Yes, am not current.  Q: Do you have cable TV at the PD and who pays for it? A:  Yes, it is at no cost, as is common for other Public Safety facilities.  Q: If the motorcycle program was brought in as a tool to reach out to kids, how was the motorcycle used to reach out to this kid?  Response: I can’t believe you are asking that.  Q: Do you play cards with city staff at city hall during the day?  A: On occasion during lunch break.  Clerk Beeson stated that this is not the proper venue for these types of questions.

Councilmember Newman asked what the process is for citizens wanting to file a complaint.  A form can be downloaded from the VisitPalouse website or obtained by contacting city hall or the police department.  Once received, the complaint first goes to the employee’s supervisor.  If deemed necessary, it would go on to the Mayor who may then pass it on for review at council committee level.

Councilmember Newman asked if it would be possible for Chief Neumann to put together a report which outlines what his department did toward the search following the runaway report.  Resident Darrel Goertzen asked Chief Neumann what was done.  Chief Neumann recapped the department’s activities.  It was mentioned that perhaps a community policing program such as Blockwatch or Community Oriented Policing could be activated.  Several questions and answers followed from the gallery and council. 

Karen Fealy spoke of her concern for the tragedy in the Mayhan family.
Kathy Wilson spoke to council of her concern for the safety of her son, daughter in law, and grandchildren living on Mohr Street.  They have endured a lot from the neighbors next door:  suspected drug sales; drug busts; thefts; “bad people” in and out.  She truly believes Dylan would not be where he is today if not for hanging out at that house everyday.  She believes the city and the Palouse Police have done everything they can do but even so, this needs to be resolved.  Kathy has called the prosecuting attorney Dennis Tracy, the sheriff, and even the Quad Cities Drug Task Force who said they too are doing everything they can but it’s a catch and release situation.  Kathy is asking council to help her figure out what else can be done to get rid of these people for the sake of the children in Palouse.  Chief Neumann said they made three arrests at that house again just this week.  Councilmember Floyd suggested working together with ALL the different agencies at one time.  Councilmember Zehm expressed dissatisfaction with how Chief Neumann works with other police agencies.  Councilmember Wekenman is having a Police, Fire & Safety committee meeting and they will discuss Councilmember Floyd’s idea and hope to have something for the next meeting

JFB REPORT:   EMS budget issues.  The ambulance contract has always been split at 70/30 between cities and rural.  The joint board has asked rural to consider changing the split to 50/50.  Pullman’s initial proposal is a 4% increase every year for 4 years.  Property tax revenues only increase at a rate of 1% a year.  They will be meeting with Pullman to talk about the need to maintain the ambulance service but available funds are dwindling.  It’s not a service issue, just a budget issue.

The bids for the new turnouts were all rejected.  Options are being considered to rewrite the specs and put it back out to bid.

3rd Q TREASURER’S REPORT :  Councilmember Milano presented the written report for the third quarter.  C-T Beeson said that so far all the funds are well within appropriations.

Cemetery Rates – Councilmember Zehm explained that the cemetery has in the past been supplemented by the interest we make off the cemetery endowment fund.  In the last 3 years the interest rates have fallen from 5% and now were down to about 1/3 of 1%.  The rate charged for Open & Closing grave has not been increased since 2001.  Public Works goes into overtime for closing after afternoon services.  Raising the rates of openings & closings will help the city recoup the costs of manpower and equipment.  Councilmember Zehm has spoken with Mark & Robert Kramer as well as several other cities.  Our open and close cost, even at the highest weekend rate of $370 is low, compared to $525 the cities pay who contract with a vault company.  For clarification, the Cemetery Endowment fund receipts only donations, the sale of graves goes into the Cemetery Reserve fund and open & close fees go into Cemetery Operating.  Councilmember Zehm said that his committee recommends an increase of $100 to all four rates listed for Open & Close of grave.   Councilmember Newman MOVED , seconded by Councilmember Zehm, authorizing an across the board rate increase of $100 to the open and close rates, effective Jan. 1, 2011.  Motion carried unanimously.  Mark Kramer suggested having a section at the cemetery for urn burials in the future.  Supt. Griffin will talk with Mark Kramer about that.   Kramer said we currently have room for approximately 500 more gravesites which at the current rate of sale, should hold for many years.


Finance, Property, & Equipment-Mike Milano, Chair :  Councilmember Milano spoke of how the EMS is working hard to tighten their budget and said that as part of the 2011 budget process, the finance committee recommends a $2,000 transfer from Current Expense to the EMS fund.

The water fund will start out 2011 with an estimated beginning balance of $49,000.  The current budget for 2011 shows an ending balance of $150.  The budget for this fund is still under construction since we are waiting for the recommendation from committee based on the water rate study RCAC is putting together.

Councilmember Milano reported that the finance committee met and there are several action items they recommend.  1)  A budget amendment is necessary to move the balance of the CDBG fund to Current Expense in order to zero out CDBG so it can close at the end of the year, as authorized by Ordinance No. 875.
2)  Line items must also be written and budgeted to administer the Brownfields ecology grant within Current Expense.  3)  A budget amendment is needed to make a principal payment to the AWB loan.  The principal balance is $52,000.
4)  Resolution No. 2010-17 authorized reducing the interest rate from 5% to 1% of the interfund loan from Water System Reserve to Sewer Capital Improvement.  The amount of interest that accrued at 5% is $4,750.  The finance committee recommends paying this amount of accrued interest to Water System Reserve.

Councilmember Milano MOVED , seconded by Councilmember Schorzman to have Clerk Beeson draft a budget amendment for the transfer from the CDBG fund to Current Expense; and line item budgets necessary to administer the Brownfields grant within Current Expense.  Motion carried unanimously.

Councilmember Milano MOVED , seconded by Councilmember Snook, to have Clerk Beeson draft a budget amendment allowing the transfer of $4,750 to WCI; amendments as needed to make the interfund interest payment; and authorize amendments to allow a principal payment to AWB of $40,000 on the Breeding Addition loan.  Motion carried unanimously.

Councilmember Milano explained that there are several funds that are either not necessary or have outlived their purpose.  The committee recommends that the following funds be closed and the balances be transferred as follows:  Cemetery Reserve 303 receipts fees for sale of graves and transfers these funds to Cemetery Operating; Contingency Reserve fund 312 receipts interest only with no expenditure lines; Public Safety fund 323 serves no purpose; Insurance Contingency 314 can be administered through Current Expense.  Councilmember Milano MOVED , seconded by Councilmember Schorzman, to draft an ordinance to allow us to close Cemetery Reserve fund 303 and transfer funds to Cemetery 103; Insurance Contingency 312, Public Safety Building 323, & Insurance Contingency 314 all of which any residual equity will be transferred to Current Expense.  C-T Beeson said there is one more fund to close, Public Safety fund 625, it has no money and does not appear on reports but has never been formally closed.  Councilmember Milano MOVED to amend his motion to include fund Public Safety fund 625.  Councilmember Schorzman seconded and the motion carried unanimously.

Police, Fire, & Safety-Rick Wekenman, Chair:
When the question arose of why people arrested in Palouse never go to jail, Clerk Beeson reminded council of the discontent felt by council years ago with the prosecutor’s handling of Palouse’s cases.  At that time, council drafted a letter to the prosecutor.  Councilmember Zehm asked if concern should be directed to the prosecutor or the judge.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS:   Councilmember Schorzman MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed.  Councilmember Zehm 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 9:07 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      Ck. No. 2665 – 2677       $60,561.48


APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________