September 12, 2006


September 12, 2006

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

ROLL CALL: Council members present were: Darcie Bagott; Mark Bailey; Mike Milano; Andy O’Neill; Norm Schorzman; Jeff Snook; and Rick Wekenman. Also present were: Joyce Beeson, Clerk-Treasurer; Byron Hodges, Public Works Superintendent; Bev Pearce, Deputy Clerk; Jerry Neumann, Police Chief ; Patty Rippee; Caitlyn McGehee; Dave Tharp; Dale Tronsen; Jonathan Yoder; Tony Wright.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Mark Bailey MOVED to approve the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of August 22, 2006.  Jeff Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.


Alder Street Patty Rippee asked council when the Alder Street project would be completed.  Byron said that the crew will be laying more rock and it will be paved shortly.  He thanked Patty and the other residents for their patience during this project.  Patty was also concerned about increased traffic driving down the alley way behind her house. 

Unmuffled Compression Brakes Dave Tharp told the council that he is bothered by the trucks that use unmuffled compression brakes coming into town.  Tony Wright said that many small towns have signage, such as “no unmuffled compression brakes” and thinks they help.  He is not asking the city to purchase the decibel reading equipment.  Chief Neumann said that using signage in lieu of a city ordinance that notes the State RCW would be possible; he reminded the council that if the signage is placed outside city limits, the Palouse Police Department would have no jurisdiction for enforcement of the law.  Council Member Bailey agreed that enforcement is a problem.  Council Member Schorzman MOVED to adopt an ordinance banning the use of unmuffled compression brakes. Motion failed for lack of second.  Discussion followed.  The Mayor recommended we put up signs referencing the RCW.  Council Member Snook agreed it would be a good start.  If signs have no effects then at that time consider other options.  Council Member Snook MOVED to purchase 5 signs – “No Unmuffled Compression Brakes” referencing the State RCW and placing them within the city limits.  Council Member Bailey seconded the motion.  Chief Neumann said that the signs may cost about $100 each.  The Mayor said the funds would come from the street fund.  Superintendent Hodges stated that the State would determine the placement of the signs since they are on State Highways.  The motion carried unanimously.

Breeding’s Addition Sewer Extension Dale Tronsen asked the council where they were at with the Breeding’s Addition sewer project.  The Mayor had no update for Dale.  Council Member O’Neill said that there are no funds available for this project.  He told Dale that Department of Health official John Skyles has not pushed Ecology on upgrading the sewer system in that area.  How to financing the engineering costs are currently being explored. Council Member O’Neill hopes to have a town hall meeting in November, with the Department of Health and Ecology present as well. 

Pit Bull Ordinance :  Council Member Bagott asked about the possible change in dog ordinances regarding Pit Bulls.  Council Member Wekenman stated support for this type of ordinance which would not allow new Pit Bulls into the city limits.  He said that he is very concerned about the safety of children and other dogs in the community.  There was discussion about other breeds also being dangerous. 

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT : Byron Hodges submitted written report and added that the crew has begun painting the crosswalks.  They will be patching the road across Bridge Street to Alder and wash the streets in preparation for Palouse Day.  Byron requested that cars not be parked on Main Street Thursday morning.  In an effort to conserve water and fuel, the Fire Department will not be washing the sidewalks as in years past, but sweeping the sidewalks instead.

POLICE DEPARTMENT REPORT: Chief Jerry Neumann reported that for the most part things have been quiet.  He has completed his first aid certification update.  Palouse Days seems to be in order with extra patrol on Friday and Saturday.  He said he is working with Adult Protective Services and Building Inspector Gladwill on an on-going case with a resident of Palouse.  They are moving forward with enforcement of city and state codes.  The owner has no interest in either fixing up the home or selling it.  The Chief and the other agencies involved are working to ensure that the home owner is treated fairly and ultimately has a safe home to live in.  Council Member Schorzman asked the chief about the status of hiring a second officer.  The chief reported that he is still awaiting the return of Officer Snead in November before moving forward. 


Ordinance No. 821 – Adopting 1% Property Tax Increase for the General Levy for 2007

The Mayor read the ordinance through once in it’s entirety, a second time by title and ordinance number, then a third time by ordinance number only.  Council Member Schorzman MOVED to adopt Ordinance Number 821.  Council Member Snook seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.

Ordinance No. 822 – Adopting 1% Property Tax increase for Emergency Medical Services for 2007

The Mayor read the ordinance through once in it’s entirety, a second time by title and ordinance number, then a third time by ordinance number only.  Council Member Schorzman MOVED to adopt Ordinance Number 822.

Council Member Bailey seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously

Resolution No. 2006-05 – Setting one year excess levy for street oiling and improvements

The Mayor read the resolution through in its entirety.  Council Member Snook MOVED to approve Resolution No. 2006-05.  Council Member Bagott seconded the motion.  Council Member Schorzman complimented Superintendent Hodges on a job well done.  The city has good streets and that is part of what makes people want to move to Palouse.  Byron commented that this levy has been at $35,000 for 16-17 years.  The council should consider raising the levy next time around, as rising costs make the projects harder to complete.  The Mayor pointed out that the city works hard to augment the levy with State and County grants as well. The motion carried unanimously.

Resolution No. 2006-06 – Setting one year excess levy for operation and maintenance of the swimming pool

The Mayor read the resolution through in its entirety.  Council Member Schorzman MOVED to approve Resolution No. 2006-06.  Council Member Snook seconded the motion.  Byron reminded council that the cost of maintenance for the pool increases each year.  The motion carried unanimously

Ordinance No. 823 – Setting the Regular and Special amounts for the year 2007

The Mayor read the Ordinance through one time in its entirety, a second time by Title and Ordinance number only and a third time by Ordinance number only.   Council Member Bailey MOVED to adopt Ordinance No. 823.  Council Member Snook seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.


Budget Discussions :  The Mayor began discussions about the expenditure budget for 2007.  He reported that Council Member Schorzman and his committee met with Joyce to begin budget discussions.  Joyce reported that the requests include a 2% salary increase for administration and public works.  There is a request for a parity increase for Marc as his wages are not at the level for his current position.  The Public Works Superintendent’s position will be altered as Byron retires next August and has requested that the position be filled by April to allow training time for his replacement.  The city would not hire for the summer help next year as it has done in the past.  Upon council approval, the administrative budget will also include the hire of a half time employee for city hall.  The Mayor requested a new line item in General Government for expenditures for the Palouse Basin Aquifer Committee.  The amount requested is $1,500 that would be paid to the committee.  The law enforcement will be supporting its own office in the new building and that required a few additional line items.  Animal Control is budgeted for only the $900/ per year contract with Whitman County for dogs at large.  The Feral Cat program will not be included in the budget since the program has dissolved.  Council Member Milano would like to budget $15,000 in Park Improvement as a transfer from the HUD house initiative in the CDBG fund.  Fire Chief Bagott requested a $5,000 transfer from Current Expense to Fire Equipment Reserve.  In the past 3 or 4 years there have been no transfers from the general fund for fire equipment and would like to see the reserves built back up for future needs.  The Mayor asked that law enforcement review their bottom line and would like to see it reduced if possible. 


PARKS, CEMETERY & BUILDINGS : Mike Milano submitted to the council the Palouse RV Park Feasibility and Need Assessment Study report.  He would like to hold a public meeting to show findings to the citizens and receive their input.  Mike reminded council about Palouse Days and street closures.

PERSONNEL & POOL : Jeff Snook presented to the council a request for a half time clerical assistant for city hall.  The position would pay $11.00 per hour for 20 hours a week.  Council Member Snook MOVED  to approve the position of Clerical Assistant for 20 hours per week at $11.00 per hour.  Council Member Bagott seconded the motion.  The motion carried unanimously.

FINANCE, PROPERTY & EQUIPMENT : Norm Schorzman reported that he had a short meeting with Joyce and encourages all committees to continue budget meetings.  He commended Joyce on her hard work on the budget.

POLICE, FIRE & SAFETY : Rick Wekenman- No Report

POLICY & ADMINISTRATION : Mark Bailey reported that he has a rough draft for the compost facility grant to the county.  It will be submitted by September 29th in the amount of $2,850.  He has requested the city attorney to amend the sign ordinance to remove material restrictions.  Mark reminded council about Commissioner Partch’s request for a letter of support of I-747.  This initiative requests removing the 1% levy limit.  The Mayor reminded council that the city work for 5 years to mitigate the loss of funding through tough and wise budget decisions.  Council Member Bailey said that the city needs to look to the future and with only 1% tax increases, it may be hard to keep up with inflation.  The mayor and council stated support for putting the decision of tax increases back to the public instead being mandated to an increase limit of 1%.    

STREETS AND SIDEWALKS: Darcie Bagott – no report

Byron commented on the West Main Street sidewalk repair and said a job well done by ACE Elliott.  Council Member Wekenman said that the job cost $4,000 to complete.

WATER & SEWER : Andy O’Neill reported that he will hold a town hall meeting in November to report his findings on where our water and sewer rate money is being spent and the status of Breeding’s Addition sewer extension.
MAYOR’S REPORT : The Mayor reminded council of the September 19th Town Hall Meeting for B Street .  It will be held at 7:00 PM at city hall.  Notices will be delivered and posted.  The city received notice from Whitman County about the Fall Clean Up Week.  $20.00 per ton Monday October 2 – Saturday October 7.  The fire hydrants have been painted as part of an Eagle Scout project.  The paint was donated by Columbia Paint.  The city received Thank you cards from Habitat for Humanity and CIAW.  The Mayor and Council Member Schorzman attended the Governor’s Conference in Vancouver last week.  The trip was successful with the Mayor giving a presentation on Palouse.

ALLOW PAYMENT OF BILLS: Norm Schorzman MOVED that the bills against the city be allowed. 

Mark Bailey seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

ADJOURN Norm Schorzman MOVED to adjourn. Jeff Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously. The council meeting adjourned at 9:04PM

The following vouchers/warrants are approved for payment:

Claims Paid 08/28/06     Warrants:  # 11905        through # 11914           Payment:  $14,134.84

Claims Paid 09/13/06     Warrants: # 11915         through # 11945           Payment:  $53,024.20     

Payroll Paid 08/31/06     Warrants: # 6255           through # 6320              Payment:  $34,180.79

APPROVED:________________________________   ATTEST:________________________________