Politics from the Palouse to Puget Sound

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

"Workman wants Pullman city services extended"

From today's Moscow-Pullman Daily News:
Public works director will urge City Council to install services north of town

Pullman Public Works Director Mark Workman is ready for progress.

Workman will suggest to the Pullman City Council that city sewer and water services be extended almost a mile north of town on State Route 27. The services also would be extended less than a mile west on Pullman-Albion Road.

Workman will offer his input at tonight’s regularly scheduled City Council meeting.

Workman said the council will need to decide soon, as both the Port of Whitman County and private landowner Steve Mader are anxious to develop in the area Neither are willing to develop without extended city services..

“It’s a chicken and the egg kind of thing,” Workman said.

Debbie Snell, properties and development manager at the Port of Whitman County, said port officials are interested in expanding the Pullman Industrial Park. The park will need to expand in the next five years to provide new lots to interested businesses.

“Expansion of city services is critical for that sort of thing,” she said.

The port is negotiating with landowners for development, though nothing is definitive.

“It’s still so, so preliminary,” Snell said.

Mader has expressed an interest in developing his land for residential housing, Workman said. Mader could not be reached for comment.

Workman said he’s eager to have the council approve the project. The sooner the services can be extended, the sooner the land can be annexed and development can be blended with new city growth. Workman wants council members to approve the extended services to avoid clustered county development from being constructed in the area.

“If we don’t develop it in an urban nature, it will be developed in a rural nature,” he said. “That just kills the city. It just blocks us off.”

Workman estimates the cost of expanding water and sewer services to the area to be about $2.8 million. The city will provide funding for the reservoir, booster station and water and sewer lines across the 900-foot highway right of way, for a total city contribution of about $1.8 million. Developers will need to pay the rest of the cost, as well as have electricity and other services hooked up. Once services are installed, the land will be annexed into the city.

Workman said the city can regain some of the cost through general facility charges, which are required for all new utility customers.

New development also could increase Pullman’s tax base and create more jobs, Workman said.

Snell agreed.

“I think (the project) would be a good thing for the city and Whitman County,” she said. “There’s a lot of indirect benefits. You give someone a job, they’re in the community, they buy gas, they buy lunch, they may live there.”
Thank God we have such a forward thinking, pro-growth city government.

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