September 28, 2010

September 28, 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; Jeff Snook; & Randy Zehm.  Absent:  Rick Wekenman and Norm Schorzman.  Also present:  Public Works Superintendent Dwayne Griffin; Police Chief Jerry Neumann; Clerk-Treasurer Joyce Beeson; & Officer Joe Merry.  Public present:  Tracy Milano and Steve McGehee.  Councilmember Zehm stated that Norm told him he would be absent due to work.  Councilmember Snook MOVED to excuse the councilmembers’ absences.  Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:   Councilmember Zehm requested that under Old Business-RV Park “compared to the rest of the state” be amended to “in researching some RV park websites”.  Councilmember Floyd requested that in the same section, “[Trees have been planted, fire pit is being constructed]” be stricken.  Mayor Echanove pointed out the correct spelling of Lynne Nelson.  Councilmember Newman requested, under Mayor’s report-Timeline of Wood/Farr requests for access, to include the date Nicole Wood declined the easement for private driveway.  Councilmember Milano MOVED to adopt the minutes of the Regular Council Meeting of September 14, 2010 as amended.  Councilmember Snook seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

PUBLIC WORKS REPORT:   Supt. Griffin reported the “Stop” and “Stop Ahead” signs were installed on South River Rd at Union St.
Union St. will be getting one more lift of asphalt.  The fill removed from Union St. has been put on Park St. as it enters the cemetery to make the approach smoother.
With the paint finally available, they will be painting crosswalks.
Mayor Echanove informed council due to a diesel spill from a farm truck driven through town, the public works, police department and fire department all responded.  Mayor thanked all involved.  While the diesel leak was not a negligible act, the owner could be held liable for the clean-up costs.  The Mayor asked for council direction.  Councilmember Snook MOVED to authorize Chief Neumann to submit costs to the vehicle owner’s insurance carrier.  Councilmember Milano seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

POLICE REPORT :  Chief Neumann reported that Palouse Day had a good crowd with no issues.  Officer Snead worked for a few paid hours.
The park rules are still being developed for both Palouse and Garfield.
The police contract is still moving forward.
Regarding the new stop sign on Union Street; the community seems to support it.
Officer Dentler is recovering well but not released by doctor yet.  He will go on ½ day in 3 or 4 weeks.

JFB REPORT :  Jeff Snook reported there have been 20 fire calls YTD.  The August wildfire was managed well due to good training and planning.  31 EMS calls YTD, 5 in August.  The ambulance contract is in works for next year and the FF turnout equipment specs are out to bid.

Ordinance No. 874 – 2010 Budget Amendment :  Mayor Echanove read aloud Ordinance No. 874 in its entirety.  Councilmember Milano explained the ordinance, transferring $5,000 from Fund 322 Sewer Facility Reserve into Fund 321 Sewer Capital Improvement.  Expenditures did not exceed appropriations, however, revenues did not come in as estimated to meet budgeted expenditures.  Mayor read aloud the Ordinance by title only.  Councilmember Milano MOVED , seconded by Councilmember Newman to adopt Ordinance No. 874.  Motion carried unanimously.


Parks, Cemetery, & Buildings-Randy Zehm, chair :  Committee will meet to discuss cemetery rates.  They will come back with a recommendation.  The times of the closings at the cemetery are still an issue with public works when they are scheduled during off hours.

Streets & Sidewalks-Cecil Floyd, Chair :  Regarding the street opening requested by Mr. Farr:  After researching, platting a city street would be the responsibility of the owner.  As owner of the property, the city has no interest in opening a street there.  The easement is Farr’s/Wood’s to use and file.  Councilmember Floyd is researching various funding sources and priorities for street and sidewalk improvements.

Water & Sewer-Connie Newman, Chair :  Mayor Echanove, Councilmember Newman and Doug Willcox attended a DOH meeting.  We are collaborating with them to develop a water system plan.  The estimated costs are at $50,000.  PWB would offer 20-year loan on the costs, but the city does not qualify for the CDBG Planning Grant because the median income in Palouse is above the threshold.  The water sewer committee will be working with info we have to put together a summary for the Water System Plan.  DOH indicated that our rates are too low and can assist us with educating the community.  City staff will be meeting 9/30/10 with Andy O’Neill of RCAC to discuss his water rate study findings.  Preliminary talk is of increasing water by no less than $4/month and no more than $7/month.  Sewer has also been spending into its reserve balance for 8 of past 11 years.  We are anticipating an increase in sewer as well.  Steve McGehee questioned sewer fund spending and receipting.

Police, Fire, & Safety-Rick Wekenman, Chair :  The PFS Committee met regarding Mr. Jim Farr’s official complaint against Chief Neumann.  They found no basis for his complaints.  Mayor Echanove concurred with the PFS committee’s opinion.  Councilmember Newman requested Mr. Farr’s letter be read aloud for the record.  Mayor Echanove read aloud the letter, the basis of which Mr. Farr claims his civil rights were violated when Chief Neumann ran a background check on him.  Councilmember Newman asked why Chief Neumann ran a background check.  Chief Neumann explained that Mr. Farr stated he would be coming to council meetings with a gun so Chief Neumann followed up with a background check and informed the sheriff’s office and Mr. Farr of his findings.  Mayor Echanove also read aloud the PFS Committee’s response letter.

Finance, Property, & Equipment-Mike Milano, Chair :  Councilmember Milano explained that he will be talking budget at each meeting through year’s end.  Closing 198 CDBG Fund – Keeping with past council discussion, an ordinance is currently being drafted to close Fund 198 CDBG, transferring residual equity into the general fund.  It is best for closing funds to be effective at year end.  Residual balance in CDBG is estimated to be $45,000 at year end.  Councilmember Zehm spoke in favor of moving ahead with this.  Council directed Clerk Beeson to proceed with an ordinance to close CDBG.  Interfund Loan s – Councilmember Milano reminded council of the three interfund loans for Breeding’s sewer extension that will come due in 2011.  The loans from both Current Expense and CDBG could be a permanent diversion if council chooses.  The loan from the Water System Reserve fund must be paid back, however the sewer connections have not come in as anticipated.  The interest rate set by the original resolution is 5%.  Currently interest earnings are at less that 1%.  The recommendation is to draft a resolution that would make the Current Expense and CDBG interfund loans a permanent diversion, extend the term of the Water System Reserve loan to 2014 and lower the interest rate to 1%.  RV Park –  The approximately $3,000 residual money left unspent in the RV Park fund should be spent on the RV park as previously designated rather than moving to general fund.  Perhaps picnic tables or privacy screening could be considered.

EMS asked permission to use the city gator for emergency stand-by on Shady Lane during Haunted Palouse.  Griffin said he would work with them.
Mayor Echanove explained that he and Doug Willcox would both be going to the Brownsfield conference.  The travel costs are expected to be around $500.  The costs may be covered by the integrated planning grant but that is not confirmed.  Councilmember Milano MOVED to authorize up to $500 in travel cost reimbursements if these costs are not eligible through the Ecology planning grant.  Councilmember Floyd seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.

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

ADJOURN:   Councilmember Milano MOVED to adjourn.  Councilmember Zehm seconded the motion and the motion carried unanimously.  The council meeting adjourned at 8:13 PM.

The following checks are approved for payment:

Claims Paid      Ck. No. 2599 – 2613       $11,998.00


APPROVED: ________________________________   ATTEST: ________________________________