October 28, 2008

October 28, 2008

CALL TO ORDER:   Mayor Michael Echanove called the Council Meeting to order at 7:03 PM.

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

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Bailey MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of October 14, 2008.  Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

OPEN FORUM The Mayor states that the council will not entertain any comments regarding personnel issues of city staff.
Steve McGehee asked if the Mayor’s policy about not entertaining comments regarding personnel has changed because at previous council meetings the Mayor would verbalize the policy in addition to it being stated in writing.  No, the policy has not changed.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:   Superintendent Dwayne Griffin reported that nine of the overgrown trees were trimmed at the park.

They’ve been working on the sprinklers at the RV Park; once the main trunk line is in they will start on the roads.  There is a small amount of excavating left to do at the RV Park which they will do this fall if the weather holds.

They’re finishing up on Whitman Street, replacing a manhole and clay pipe.

The chipper pile is full again.  The county will be here Nov. 7th to chip.  The city will try and get the word out to residents that they are welcome to take the chipped material; it makes great mulch.

Poe Asphalt allowed us only 18 tons of asphalt mix for patching on Fairview and C streets.  We need a few more loads just to finish off but with the shortage of asphalt we won’t be able to finish this year.  They will do some shoulder work on Fairview.  Poe charged us $65/ton which is the same price we paid last year.

In regards to trailer #3 at the mobile home park:  We’ve gone down all the appropriate paths to sell it as surplus.  The city received an offer from a man who would like the trailer.  He will do all the removal and clean-up.  Councilmember Snook MOVED to sell trailer #3 for $1.00.  Councilmember Wekenman seconded, provided the home is moved on or before November 8th.  Motion carried unanimously.  Otherwise, the city’s cost to remove and dispose of it would be $2,400.

Spokane Rock applied a test seal between the railroad track rubber interface and the rail to seal it up. Indications look to be that the process will work.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT:   Chief Neumann reported no police issues during Haunted Palouse.
Chief Neumann gave an anti-drug presentation to the Palouse grade school for Red Ribbon Week.  He also gave a Halloween safety talk and handed out candy bags.
Chief Neumann spoke with some people who continue to illegally park on the north side of Church, Alder, and Mohr streets.
There have been no burn complaints.

JFB Update :  The meeting focused mainly on the new fire truck.  The truck is ours and will be delivered around mid-November.  It will undergo a few modifications and be in service after the first of the year.  There have been only a few fire calls; mostly mutual aid for grass fires.

3rd Quarter Treasurer’s Report: The arterial street fund is in the red because we’re awaiting TIB money.  The final numbers are being developed by Munir Daud so the project can be closed out.  Our expenditures are in line except for the budget amendment for parks.  Once we convert to our new software, hopefully we’ll be able to get rid of some of our old funds in a more streamlined process.  Councilmember Wekenman inquired about our CDBG fund.  It was a fund developed years ago for home improvement grants.  There are still a few homes out there that don’t pay off until ownership changes.  The program income is unencumbered.  There will be some finish-up work at the RV Park and the mobile home park where that money could be used.

Ordinance No. 848:  Budget Amendment .  Mayor read the ordinance.  The ordinance increases the Current Expense-General Parks fund by from $30,400 to $38,400.  The bulk of the $8,000 increase was tree-trimming (unforeseen safety issue) and high fuel costs.  Councilmember Bailey MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 848.  Councilmember Milano seconded.  Councilmember Wekenman asked if there is a little bit built in for contingency?  Yes.  Motion passed unanimously.


PARKS, CEMETERY & BUILDINGS:   Councilmember Milano met with USDA Rural Development grant managers.  They’re interested in ADA access projects, public works equipment, fire and police equipment.  Chief Neumann got an application for 35% for a new police vehicle.

Greg’s electric is still working to fix the light on Whitman Street.

Carrie Sundstrom from WSDOT sent a recommendation to the Palouse Scenic Byway committee on our behalf for trail improvements.

Mike met with Recreation and Conservation Office (RCO).  They talked about trail improvements and future projects.  RCO showed interest in our trail and bridge project.  The federal byway grant money would probably be 80% and the RCO money would be the 20%.

The RV Park driving areas will be gravel.  They would like a recycling area near the RV Park for city residents and park users.

POLICE, FIRE, & SAFETY:  Councilmember Wekenman reported they had a civil service board meeting.  They completed the policy and procedures manual and discussed their roles and obligations.  They passed a motion to not meet until January unless business comes before the commission.  Members were made aware of the police procedures and manual.  The state obligation to create this board has been fulfilled.

POLICY & ADMINISTRATION :  Councilmember Bailey and Supt. Griffin discussed ideas for the $13,000 grant money from DOE, possibly getting a bobcat tractor for the compost facility.  In a follow-up with Glen Curtis, Councilmember Bailey told Glen the city’s concerns and options, possibly selling him that stretch of road.  We first must confirm that the city owns it.  Attorney Bishop is investigating that and our options.  There is still no update on the car crushing.

PERSONNEL & POOL :  The personnel committee met again for further consideration of staff salary increases.  They took into consideration the Cost of Living Allocation (COLA), AWC salary survey, and additional workload.  The salary increases range from 4%-8%.  Police Chief and Police Officer – 4%, Clerk-Treasurer, WWTP operator, and Public Works Assistant – 5%; Deputy Clerk, Public Works Superintendent, and Police Officer in Charge – 8%.  They tried to at least cover the COLA for everyone.  There’s going to be added work for staff this coming year with the RV Park.  The city isn’t growing much population-wise but the workload is increasing as we improve our infrastructure and programs.  There’s a much bigger daily workload for the staff at City Hall and the city crew.

Councilmember Wekenman asked if the contract amount from Garfield covers the increases for the officer’s salary.  Increases were built into the existing contract so the contract amount is not going to be raised in 2009.  There are industry standards for the different categories of jobs and we want to get it on an even keel.  With the exception of the PW Supt, we’re getting close to meeting the industry standards for the staff positions.  We’re in the middle range on most of the positions.  COLA was used as a baseline with added percentages to the positions that come in low.

WATER & SEWER:   In regards to Ordinance No. 847, amending the Breeding’s Addition hook-up requirements, Councilmember O’Neill stated the state law is mandatory at 200’ and we’re at 210’.  The Whitman County Public Health Safety Office has the authority to ultimately make the decision should a system fail.  We’re following the same path as the county and the state.  They are pushing to get away from septic systems where ever possible.

MAYOR’S REPORT :  Mayor reported he traveled to Tacoma last week to attend the 2008 Brownfields and Land Revitalization Conference and is ready to explore with the citizens of Palouse the possibilities of developing a Brownfields project within Palouse at the old Palouse Producers site.

Community input is the first step in developing a successful project and the mayor would like to schedule a Town Hall meeting at 7:00 pm, November 10th at City Hall to begin.

Due to Veteran’s Day, the next council meeting will be on Wednesday, November 12th.

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

ADJOURN:   Councilmember O’Neill MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:24 PM.

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:
Claims Paid     Warrant #13441 – #13464       $9,331.13