Pullman City Council and Whitman Co. Commissioners discuss sharing tax revenue

PULLMAN, WA - The Whitman County Commissioners made a guest appearance at Tuesday night's Pullman City Council meeting.

Palouse Reporter Rachel Dubrovin explains why the city and county's relationship is unique and how they plan to strengthen it in the near future.

"The interest of the city of Pullman is in fact our interest," said Whitman County Commissioner Michael Largent.

The Whitman County Commissioners met with the Pullman City Council Tuesday night.

"In many cases, there is in fact a city-county turf war over economic development," said Largent.

And a tax sharing agreement for Pullman's urban growth area was their main focus.

"As we talk about this tax sharing issue, I've noted that there are quite a few jurisdictions that are watching this pretty carefully because this is a unique approach," said Largent.

"Any development in this tax-sharing area that generates retail sales tax would be split evenly between the county and the city of Pullman," said Pullman City Supervisor Mark Workman.

Workman explained that the agreement would last for 35 years, and the city would continue to share the taxes in areas are later annexed. The agreement excludes existing establishments and the future Hawkins development.

"It looks to me like we're at a point where both sides can benefit from the agreement, and both sides are giving a little bit," said Whitman County Commissioner Art Swannack.

The two parties agreed that their city-county relationship is much more civil than most, and the tax-sharing agreement would allow both entities to gain from growth that may happen just outside of Pullman.

"Looking at the future, especially with the realign of the airport, having a good relation with the county, and with people in the county, that's only going to benefit both parties," said Pullman City Council Member Nathan Weller.

Workman said the agreement could become a reality in the near future it's just a matter of finalizing some of the details.

The commissioners and council members also discussed a Comprehensive Emergency Management Plan between the county, the city, and the university. Pullman Police Chief Gary Jenkins said they should have rough draft of the plan in the near future.