City Council focuses on future of plastic straws

Sale of bonds for new city hall, projects also received approval



Councilmembers Ann Parks, left, Nathan Weller and Eileen Macoll listen to discussion regarding local ordinances approved at Tuesday night’s meeting.

CARMEN JARAMILLO, Evergreen reporter

The future of plastic in Pullman is a conversation City Councilmember Eileen Macoll thinks we need to start having.

At Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Macoll said it’s time to start a dialogue in Pullman about single use plastics and sustainable recycling, two topics which have recently been in the national spotlight.

“This is something I would like to start a conversation about, start a topic about and see where the community sits on it.” she said. “I would like to see Pullman become an early adopter of some sort of control measure.”

For now no action has been taken, but Macoll said the council may want to consider a town hall to hear a diversity of opinions about plastics in Pullman.

Seattle became the first major U.S. city to ban single use plastic straws and utensils on July 1, according to the Seattle Public Utilities. Several national businesses have vowed to no longer use plastic straws including Starbucks, American Airlines and Marriott International.

The council also unanimously passed an ordinance allowing the issuance of bonds for a new city hall and other capital projects approved by voters in February.

City of Pullman Finance Director Leann Hubbard presented the bond ordinance and explained last minute changes that allowed the bonds to be sold privately or publicly.

Originally the city had planned to offer the bonds publically, City Attorney Laura McAloon said, but a last minute offer from Umpqua Bank for the entire $12,900,000 bond required a revision to the ordinance in order for the sale to be approved.

McAloon said this change to the ordinance does not guarantee the city will move forward with the private placement but instead gives the city time and flexibility to make a decision.

“We brought revisions to the ordinance to say give us the option to do whichever one we deem in the best interest of the city based on the financing proposals,” McAloon said.

From the adoption of the ordinance, the city has 12 months to issue the bonds.

The council additionally passed two resolutions for rezoning two plots of land in the Sunnyside neighborhood south of Old Wawawai Road.

One resolution allowed the change of a 2.8-acre plot of land from a residential zone to a commercial zone. The second allowed the change of a 6.8-acre plot of land from a single-family residential zone to low-density family residential zone.

Both rezoning proposals were submitted by Germain Farms LLC and were the subject of a public hearing on June 27. The City Planning Department unanimously agreed at the meeting to recommend both rezones to the City Council.