Pullman saw $700,000 drop in yearly revenue, finance director says

City projected about $23.3 million in revenue; actual revenue will be about $22.6 million



City officials say Pullman will bounce back from the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic, but a yearly budget may be difficult to plan for as of now.

SYDNEY BROWN, Evergreen reporter

The City of Pullman saw more than a $700,000 drop in overall revenue during 2020, with much of the loss coming from a decrease in sales, gambling, admissions and public utilities taxes, according to a city official during the virtual city council meeting on Tuesday. 

Mike Urban, director of finance and administrative services, said this major loss came from the lack of people coming into Pullman because of the pandemic. The city’s 2020 budget projected about $23.3 million in revenue, and the actual revenue will come in around $22.6 million by the end of the year. 

“It would be a lot more if it wasn’t for the CARES dollars,” Urban said during his presentation to the council, referring to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act, which allowed the city to use federal funding for payroll and other emergency equipment. 

Metropolitan parks revenue for the year is also down from its adopted budget by 7 percent, Urban said. 

Liquor tax and profit revenue increased for 2020, Urban said. 

Councilmember Nathan Weller said he hoped the city would address substance abuse issues that arose during the pandemic, as the numbers indicate more people are drinking alcohol since the beginning of the pandemic.

For 2021, Urban said the city is projecting about $16 million, or 70 percent, of revenue to come from taxes, and 22 percent to come from service charges.

The other 8 percent would come from miscellaneous revenue like parks and recreation, as well as fines, licenses and permits, and intergovernmental revenues, he said.

The city does expect to bounce back from the economic turmoil caused by the pandemic, he said, especially because construction is expected to greatly increase revenue for the city. But a yearly budget may be difficult to plan for as of now. 

“It’s hard for us to present to you a budget where the ink isn’t even dry,” Urban said. 

The council took no action on this presentation and will make more revenue decisions after Urban presents again on Nov. 17. 

Councilmember Dan Records said Inland Oasis, a local LGBTQ+ support center in the Moscow-Pullman area, will host its annual Pride events on Oct. 10. This event will be from noon to 2 p.m. at the Joseph Field parking lot with social distancing measures in place.

This Sunday is National Coming Out Day, and the day-early Pride event will feature a virtual Drag Show as well as a Pride swag bag filled with goodies from local businesses and community members, Records said.

The group will host small tours by appointment of a new food bank and LGBTQ+-friendly event center in Moscow, Records said. 

“I encourage everyone who wants to participate to look for information that will be forthcoming,” Records said.