2020 Legislative Priorities

Adopted by City Council: 12/10/2019

Capital Funding Request: Pullman-Moscow Regional Airport Projects

The city is grateful for a recent $1.6 million dollar grant from the State of Washington and Senator Mark Schoesler’s office that will enable completion of Phase 1 of utility improvements by extending gravity sewer to the site of a new terminal in 2020.The runway portion of this massive project is complete bringing additional safety and reliability to the airport. The next phase of taxiway construction and stormwater improvements are underway.

Economic Development Priorities

1. Downtown Pullman Revitalization: A vital downtown is critically important to a community’s commercial vitality. Walkable office, retail, and multi-family products show a combined 74% premium over drivable sub-urban products in metro areas. This economic performance is one reason to focus on Pullman’s downtown, as it is an existing asset with a built environment to walkable office, retail and multi-family housing. The Downtown Pullman Association, a partnership amongst property owners, businesses, WSU, the City and the Chamber, was created as the primary organization tasked with addressing downtown improvement efforts.

The Downtown Master Plan suggests many design improvements to accomplishing a more pedestrian-friendly and vital place. Every effort should be made to implement the strategies recommended by our consultant BDS to shift to a pedestrian and bicycle-friendly district. Once those strategies are implemented, the district should be reassessed to identify additional steps to improve safety and accessibility by pedestrians, bicyclists and motorists.

2. Tax Increment Financing (TIF): This economic development tool will help to maintain, expand, and modernize local infrastructure to spur local private sector investment. By investing in TIF, the Legislature can partner with cities to advance our shared goals of building a robust and diverse economy for our community. For maximum impact, we would request that we have access to both property-tax and sales-tax based TIF programs.

3. Parks & Recreation: Parks, trails, and recreation programs help create jobs and increase the desire to live, work and invest in a community. We support increased state funding or state grant opportunities for local parks and recreation programming so that municipalities can better address the rising costs of maintenance and operations.

Transportation Funding and No on I-976

In light of the passage of I-976, we support AWC in their effort to adopt a comprehensive transportation policies that provide new local funding options. The new law will immediately impact cities by repealing local decision-making authority of transportation benefit districts (TBDs), to impose vehicle license fees. This local transportation funding tool provided cities with the ability to locally fund their own transportation needs and priorities.

Pullman South Bypass Road Development

The City has put great effort into planning for the creation of a south bypass road that would relieve pressure on State Highways 27 and 270 and allow freight and other large vehicles to circumvent Pullman’s Downtown District, which is currently the primary truck route. This was one of the top priorities of the community when residents were recently surveyed. The next phases in planning for this project includes road design work ($1 million estimate) and right-of-way acquisition. In 2005, the estimated cost of design and build for this project was between $20 million and $25 million. Today that amount is $26 million to $32 million. Those costs do not include the right-of-way acquisition.

Public Records Act (PRA)

Pullman supports and practices transparency in government. The City asks that that the business of using the Public Records Act for financial enrichment be addressed. The City supports the modernization of the Public Records Act so that cities can continue to provide open and transparent government services to our residents.

Liquor & Marijuana Sales

We support increasing the shared revenue from marijuana and liquor sales with city and county governments. Since the responsibility for administration and enforcement is falling to the local jurisdictions.

Marijuana Research

The City is also supportive of funding for research into health impacts of marijuana use and funding for technology that would allow law enforcement to conduct accurate and timely field sobriety tests. Our police department has collaborated with WSU researchers on a major project working towards a solution for field sobriety tests.

Healthcare & Pullman Regional Hospital

We support Pullman Regional Hospital as it copes with the impacts of rising healthcare costs. We also support increased funding for physician residency training programs in Pullman and recognize the importance of planning for elder care.

Mental Health & Homelessness

We support the development of an effective state system that provides evaluation and treatment of mental health issues for all who need it. In addition to being a social issue, this is also a public safety issue with law enforcement forced into violent confrontations with the mentally ill, and local jail beds filled with those who suffer from mental illness. The City supports enhancement of the provision of much needed human service programs to address issues that drive homelessness and public safety costs. We also encourage a change in the timing of the point in time count other than the coldest winter months.

Transportation Safety Projects

We would like to thank the 9th District representatives and WSDOT for accomplishing the safety improvements on Highway 195 and Highway 26. We strongly encourage the Legislature to continue to add passing lanes on Highway 26 and to expedite their continued implementation. This will help to save the lives of all motorists.

Public Works Trust Fund

The Public Works Trust Fund is a crucial funding partner in our efforts to provide the necessary infrastructure for the Pullman community. We seek full funding for the program and ask the state to protect the current stream of loan repayments and uphold the 2% state share of REET dedicated to the account. (Had the Public Works Trust Fund been available in 2017 for the $8 million Wastewater Treatment Project, taxpayers could have reallocated $500,000 in interest payments to much needed street repairs and other public works projects.)

Wastewater Treatment

Toxics water quality standards related to toxins and fish consumption impact Pullman’s NPDES wastewater discharge permit for parameters of PCBs/Dieldrin. There are currently no technologies available that can treat/remove PCBs.dieldrin to such low levels, and should they be developed will likely be terribly expensive (HDR, Treatment Technologies Review and Assessment, 2013). We encourage the legislature to support BMPs such as reducing PCBs in currently available products (EPA deems product PCB free at 50 parts per million, while the current Pullman discharge permit is 170 parts per quadrillion) and provide time for municipalities to respond through an extended compliance schedule (20 years).

Alternative Energy Requirements

Local government subdivisions of the state are required to satisfy 100% of their fuel usage from electricity and biofuel for new vehicles. Other options may be possible if an economic justification is provided. We encourage building of flexibility into the definition of “extent practicable” with consideration for cost as well as geographic availability of some alternatives. We have six hybrid busses and the required infrastructure to enhance the fleet operation. With grant applications we can purchase of two additional electric buses. The City supports adding hybrid vehicles to the allowable alternative energy fleet and requests that the Legislative provide funding for alternative energy related infrastructure upgrades.

Immigration & Diversity

The City of Pullman benefits greatly from having a diverse and inclusive community. The City Council hopes that the Legislature agrees that diversity is one of the keystones and primary attributes that makes Washington State a great state.

Fire Service

The City of Pullman supports making permanent the current state temporary allowance of using immediate aerial suppression of wildfires. Giving local departments the ability would prevent the disasters experienced in California. The City also encourages the Legislature to consider funding mechanisms that help offset the cost of training at the Washington State Fire Training Academy.