City council discusses budget plans

Fire, police department hires, defibrillators, among additions



Public Works Director Kevin Gardes listens to and discusses the city’s new budget plan, which includes changes to the fire department and Pullman Transit.

JAYCE CARRAL, Evergreen reporter

Representatives spoke about the 2019-20 budgets at a Pullman City Council meeting Tuesday.

Funding will be provided to several different areas of Pullman including, but not limited to, public recreation centers, the local fire department and public water works, Mayor Glenn Johnson said.

“Today we are seeing improvements that many of us have worked on for years,” he said.

One of the key changes mentioned during the session was the new future recruits for the local fire department, he said. For the next two years, Pullman Fire Department will be hiring two new firefighters for a total of four new employees.

“We are adding four new firefighters to the department,” Johnson said. “This is a large and necessary investment for all of us.”

The addition of firefighters is quite necessary, a fire department representative said. There has been a need for more workers as the number of fire incidents have increased in situations that, for example, have occurred due to football games, he said.

The addition of manpower has led to an increase in the proposed budget, the representative said. Along with this, he said, the department is upgrading its current emergency vehicles. He said the Federal Emergency Management Agency has allocated some monies for the fire department as well.

“The fire budget has increased,” he said. “[We received a] grant from FEMA to cover the cost of some additional overtime.”

Additional employees are anticipated to be hired by the Pullman Police Department, a representative said. Three police officers will be employed along with one more code enforcement officer. This will fill in the empty slots currently present in the department.

As for health and safety services, defibrillators are another blimp in the fiscal budget, City Administrator Adam Lincoln said. The machines are currently being leased and are in the process of being paid off, he said.

“It is absolutely a payment we have to continue making through 2020,” Lincoln said.

Another anticipated change is the creation of a new City of Pullman website, Johnson said. This site is still in the making, he said, but the plan is for it to allow residents to easily access information and city updates.

“We strive to make it easier to understand city finances,” he said. “[This includes] investing in a system that more easily shares financial data and city graphics.”

Another technological addition to the city’s budget is the application of an electrical public bus, a Pullman Transit representative said.

“We are looking at ways to provide our services while leaving less of a carbon footprint,” the representative said.

In effort to improve Pullman’s environment, Public Works Director Kevin Gardes said there will be continuous protected inspections of multiple water works in the city. This will also include additional funding to sidewalk drainage improvements, street fund budgets and the water and sewer revenue bond fund, he said.

For the younger residents of Pullman, there will be an allocation of funds specifically for the installment of new playground equipment, Johnson said.

Additionally, the Neill Public Library will be receiving funds to install a tween and young adult section, a library representative said. New furniture will also be installed in the library.

The annual fiscal budget is expected to be passed on Nov. 27, Johnson said. However, if any amendments need to be adopted into the budget, he said, that date will be postponed until Dec. 11.