Pullman city council hears financial and Ziply Fiber updates

Council discusses application for RAISE grant



City council members discuss fiber construction complaints during a meeting at Pullman City Hall, March 2.

MOLLY WILK, Evergreen reporter

Tom Murn, Ziply Fiber engineering manager, updated the Pullman City Council at their Tuesday night meeting about their response to complaints made regarding the Ziply Fiber project that started in September 2020. 

In response to these complaints, Ziply increased resident communication by introducing the use of door hangers and their website, fixed their septic issues as quickly as possible and had their CEO reach out to each council member, Murn said. 

Ziply Fiber has completed 96% of their project and emphasized their commitment to restoration, communication and safety, he said.

City Administrator Mike Urban gave the 2021 fourth-quarter financial update. 

All of the Pullman revenues had collection rates over 92%, with street and arterial roads revenue being the lowest at 92.1%, and the general revenue fund with the highest at 123.6%, Urban said. 

The unemployment rate in Pullman stands at 3.4% while the rate for the state stands at 3.8%, he said. 

All expenditure rates came in under budget. Utility expenses came in with the lowest expenditure rate at 52.5%, while transit expenses had the highest expenditure rate at 98.4%, he said. 

The staffing update showed most departments met the number of employees allotted by their budget, except several departments such as library services, executive department, and maintenance and operations, he said. 

Public Works Director Shawn Kohtz discussed the 2022 Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity grant application. 

There is $1.5 billion in funding available, and funding is to be used for large local or regional projects, Kohtz said. Last year 90 projects were given funding out of 763, and the application process is very competitive. 

The project Kohtz proposed for the application is the Airport Road improvement plan that will be designed in 2023-24, with construction beginning in 2025. The project would focus on increasing safety, economic opportunity and sustainability, he said.

The project is estimated to cost approximately $1 million, and the application will be approved at the April 12 City Council meeting before its submission on April 14, he said. 

Fred Shultz from Horizon Realty Advisors, LLC presented their hope to create a patio area in front of their office at 820 N.E. Colorado Street. The space would serve as an extension of their current space and improve the sidewalk on the corner of B Street and Colorado Street. 

Construction would include expanding the sidewalk, replacing the existing railing on their office and adding patio furniture and a fire pit, Shultz said.  

The council moved to have a grounds lease drafted for the expansion of the property.