October 9, 2018

Palouse City Council

Regular Council Meeting

October 9, 2018

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

ROLL CALL: Council members present: Chris Cook; Bill Slinkard; Tim Sievers; John Snyder; Mark Wilcomb; Katie Cooper. Staff present: Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Police Officer Joe Handley; City Administrator Kyle Dixon; & Deputy Clerk Ann Thompson. Councilmember Sievers MOVED to excuse absence of councilmember Wekenman. Councilmember Slinkard seconded and the motion carried.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES: Under “Mayor’s Report”, amend the minutes to say “The ISP will be Noel Communications” not Noah Net. Councilmember Cook MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Public Hearing and Regular Council Meeting of September 25, 2018, as amended. Councilmember Snyder seconded the motion and the motion carried.

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

Public Works staff are working on plans to upgrade sprinklers at park. All the sprinklers there are currently manual. Hoping to put in a full, regular automatic system.


Will continue ongoing school patrols. Trying to be more consistent with Garfield school patrol.

There has been some illegal removal of campaign signs from yards.

Neighborhood patrols continue.


3rd Q Treasurer’s Report – CA Dixon is pleased with our budget figures.

Streets budget will be affected by fact that the $80,000 credit from Avista LED Streetlight project back in 2011 has run out. Rather than going to the public utilities commission for a rate change, Avista issued Palouse the credit about 5 years ago for being a trial for the LED street light program. Avista has since set the rate as many other cities have since switched to LED. That was an approximate $1,800 credit a month. It was a great opportunity that Palouse was able to take advantage of. There will be 2 budget amendments in the last quarter of this year to account for added street light costs and PD staff turnover from earlier in the year.

Met with both department heads to discuss 2019 budget. No surprises. Public Works has the sprinkler replacement project and purchase of a pool filter and possible extra seasonal worker, among other smaller items for next year. PD needs to replace a police vehicle early next year; looking at approximately $37,000 for that.

Preliminary 2019 budget will be presented at first meeting in November. This will be second year of the employee raise format approved by council last year.

CA Dixon heard back from Public Works Trust Fund. City was approved for $250,000 pre-construction loan for proposed water system upgrades. CA Dixon will present loan paperwork and terms for council approval once available.

Mayor and CA Dixon met with some private landowners last week to discuss city purchasing land for wastewater facility plan. It was a positive meeting. Mayor explained city is going to arrange a meeting with engineers and landowners to meet onsite. Engineer will then do some scientific work to see if site(s) would work for sewer discharge.

Last council meeting we had a public hearing to vacate an alley/easement which was approved. However, circumstances related to the vacation changed shortly afterward and as a result the applicants have withdrawn their request. Approval of alley/easement vacation is null and void as Ordinance wasn’t yet passed and payment for vacated area was not collected.

CA Dixon will be attending auditor’s roundtable next week and regional finance meeting later this week. Mayor and CA Dixon will be attending IACC (annual infrastructure funding conference) meeting in a couple weeks; as a result they won’t be at next council meeting. CA Dixon will confirm that Mayor Pro-Tem Wekenman can attend in Mayor Echanove’s absence.

Palouse is facing a monumental burden in the coming years regarding our wastewater treatment facility and what the Department of Ecology is requiring of us. The city will do everything it can to mitigate the extraordinary costs of updating the facility to maintain compliance. DOE has a loan/grant program for these projects, but to qualify for grants, city must have sewer rates at or above $80/month JUST for sewer (determined as a “hardship” rate). Those rates are absurd, especially considering the condition of our existing facilities and what Ecology is demanding of us. Our current monthly rate for sewer is $34. By comparison, Garfield’s sewer rate is $52/month and Rosalia’s is $50/month. We have to be proactive and build our sewer reserve fund as much as possible so we don’t blindside our utility customers with exorbitant rate increases. With our current rates, other state agencies will also require increases to qualify for any grants. CA Dixon is proposing a monthly sewer rate increase of $3 (to $37/month), all of which will be applied to our sewer reserve fund. Preparing financially for this project now will show DOE and other agencies that we’re taking measures to comply with their demands. Proposed increase would take effect in January of 2019. There will be two public hearings in November to discuss the 2019 annual budget.


Ordinance No. 975 repealing PMC chapter 5.04 – Mayor read aloud the ordinance in its entirety. Chapter 5.04 is an outdated code on alcohol sales in Palouse. This ordinance does away with the city code and city will just follow state law on alcohol sales and consumption. Councilmember Sievers MOVED to adopt as written. Councilmember Cooper seconded. Motion carried.


Finance, Property, & Equipment, Chair Cooper– Had a committee meeting with CA Dixon.


John-Mark Mahnkey, candidate for Whitman County Commissioner, gave a brief introduction.

Chief Neumann requested to discuss personnel/policy matters. At 7:45 pm Councilmember Cook MOVED to adjourn to executive session. Councilmember Sievers seconded. Motion carried. Council resumed at 8:32 pm.

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

The following checks are approved for payment:

Payroll Paid 9/30/18 Ck. #9516-9535 & EFT $58,486.87

Claims Paid 10/09/18 Ck. #9536-9557 & EFT $ 7,800.24

ADJOURN: Councilmember Sievers MOVED to adjourn. Councilmember Slinkard seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 8:39 PM.

APPROVED: ________________________________ ATTEST: ________________________________