The Pullman City Council on Tuesday will decide whether to approve a more than $140,000 technology update for the council chambers in the new city hall building.

This decision comes at a time when city officials are anticipating a budget deficit between $4 million to $6.9 million.

The city received a proposal from a company called Avidex to provide a new audio-visual system for the new Pullman City Hall council chambers. The new city hall will be located at the former Encounter Ministries Church building on Crestview Street.

The new system promises to improve livestreams of Pullman meetings and boost the audio quality for the audience. The project is estimated to cost $141,337.

Currently, city council meetings are streamed online in standard definition. The new system will allow meetings to be broadcast in high definition, with easier uploading to YouTube.

Avidex’s proposal calls for upgraded audio equipment intended to improve audio quality for residents and viewers, including those hard of hearing.

The new system would allow for in-person live broadcast and promises to help residents get information from the city in a more timely manner.

Because the COVID-19 pandemic is hurting the city’s tax revenue, city council members have recently expressed concern about the city spending money on projects that are not essential.

During a May 12 city council meeting, Pullman Finance Director Mike Urban said he estimated the city is looking at a multimillion-dollar budget deficit because of the COVID-19 economic shutdown.

Pullman has temporarily furloughed or reduced work hours for nearly 10 percent of its staff in the past several weeks.

Two city councilors, Al Sorensen and Eileen Macoll, recently voted against a nearly $70,000 project to construct Pullman’s first roundabout on Terre View Drive and North Fairway Road because of concerns about spending money in this economy.

“Is now the time to spend $70,000 on something like this?” Sorensen said during that April 28 meeting.

The new city hall is funded by the $10.5 million voter-approved bond. City staff planned to finish moving into the building this summer.

Tuesday’s Pullman City Council meeting will be broadcast 7 p.m. on the city’s YouTube channel.

Anthony Kuipers can be reached at akuipers@dnews.com.

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