City Council to submit FEMA grant pre-application for flood mitigation

Money would go to removing hydraulic equipment from car wash; crime rates decreased in 2020, likely because of the pandemic

The+Pullman+crime+rate+went+down+in+2020%2C+but+this+was+likely+due+to+the+pandemic+and+is+not+necessarily+sustainable.

ALEX MCCOLLUM

The Pullman crime rate went down in 2020, but this was likely due to the pandemic and is not necessarily sustainable.

ALEX MCCOLLUM, Evergreen reporter

Pullman City Council voted Tuesday night to submit a pre-application for a Federal Emergency Management Agency Flood Mitigation Assistance Grant, which would aid in improving Missouri Flat Creek and removing an old car wash hydraulic structure.

The pre-application will be processed by the Washington Emergency Management Division. If the pre-application is approved, Pullman will be invited to complete a full application, said Public Works Director Shawn Kohtz.

If the second application is approved, the money would go toward a flood wall along Missouri Flat Creek at the intersection of Stadium Way and Grand Avenue, he said.

The second project the money would go to is removing the remaining hydraulic equipment under a parking lot just south of the intersection. This project could potentially be an issue because the hydraulics and parking lot are on private property and would require the owner’s participation, Kohtz said.

Private property and parking surrounding the two projects further complicates the matter, and the council will revisit it at a future time if the city is invited to fill out the full application.

Megan Parks, WSU doctoral student and Public Safety research fellow, also presented to the council with an update on last year’s analysis of the criminal justice system in Pullman.

Anne Pflug, a consultant hired by the City of Pullman, conducted the analysis in 2019 and 2020 and presented it to the council in October 2020.

The city is considering continuing a contract with Whitman County or creating its own stand-alone court. The current contract with Whitman County covers court, jail, probation, public defense and prosecutor services, Parks said.

Pflug created three estimated costs of creating a municipal court, which depend on low, medium and high caseloads. The size of the caseload determines the workload and staffing required by the potential municipal court and revenue generated by the court, Parks said.

Pullman Fire Chief Mike Heston also presented Fire Lt. Chris Volk with a completion certificate for the National Fire Academy Managing Officer Program. Volk is the second member of the Pullman Fire Department to complete the program.

The training taught skills in leadership, community risk reduction, firefighter and community safety, contemporary training issues and analytical tools for decision making.

“This definitely represents a commitment to your professional development and personal development and making our community and our department better,” Heston said.

Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins presented crime statistics from 2019 and 2020. The 2019 statistics were delayed because the pandemic started when the data was under analysis, Jenkins said.

The most common crimes in Pullman in 2019 and 2020 were vandalism and larceny, Jenkins said. The total crime rate went down in 2020, but this was likely due to the pandemic and is not necessarily sustainable, he said.