State of city: Progress is good
February 9, 2009
By Chantelle Lusebrink
Mayor’s message can be seen online
Mayor Ava Frisinger reiterated progress on city goals in her annual State of the City address last week and said the city will fare well in 2009.
In her address, Frisinger highlighted each of the city’s major departments as having achieved progress in the past year and expressed her gratitude to all the city’s employees who made those accomplishments possible.
“All the departments were working very hard for the city to carry out the city’s goals and mission,” she said.
To show her appreciation, her address was partly made with a video presentation that allowed the department heads to discuss their accomplishments and goals.
Major goals reached for the Parks Department were two new parks, Squak Valley Park and Talus Neighborhood Park, that opened in 2008, according to Anne McGill, the city’s parks director.
The city now has more than 1,300 acres of open space and parks available for residents, Frisinger said.
At the police department, officers received new equipment and implemented new programs, such as the state’s E-Ticket program, said Police Chief Paul Ayers. The E-Ticket program increases officer and records officials’ efficiency when dealing with traffic citations and accidents.
In addition, the department maintained its commitment to well-trained officers who protect and preserve the safety and security of the community, he said.
Bob Brock, city Public Works director, noted that the Intelligent Transportation System has reduced traffic times and alerted drivers to emergencies and alternate routes. In addition, during the implementation of the system’s first phase, city officials saved taxpayers nearly $2 million by applying for state and local grants, Frisinger said.
Also identified as an achievement was the city’s new radio station, 1700 AM, and the ability of the city’s community center to act as an emergency shelter.
Commissions, like those for sustainability, economic vitality and human services, also made big gains with help from volunteers to outline plans and expressions of visions for the future, Frisinger said.
Volunteers with the city’s Citizen Emergency Response Team and Citizen Corps organizations were tested and succeeded in aiding others through disaster relief in the past year, and as recently as the January flooding, she said.
“While we are faced with challenges in 2009, we still have countless opportunities to make Issaquah a better place to live, and do business, for decades to come,” Frisinger said.
In fact, city officials have already started.
In just the past month, they have responded to businesses affected by the floods by distributing and helping owners access records and information related to disaster relief and aid at the local, state and federal levels.
In addition, the City Council recently passed a code revision, relieving new business owners of spaces of 10,000 square feet or less from paying city transportation impact fees which can range from a few thousand dollars to $70,000. The code revision also gives business owners with spaces larger than 10,000 square feet an exemption from traffic impact fees for the first 10,000 square feet.
Jim Blake, city finance director, said the city is in a “good financial state going into 2009.”
“We will end 2009 with approximately the same cash in reserves as we started with, which is 22 percent of our cash expenditures,” he added. “With careful fiscal planning we can make sure the city has the means to support the city and its residents.”
This year, expenditures include modifying the intersection of Southeast 51st Street and 220th Avenue Southeast, constructing a new multiuse artificial turf field at Central Park and building a replacement fire station from the $4.5 million bond voters approved last year.
In addition, money will be spent to help restore Issaquah Creek at Squak Valley Park.
Go to www.ci.issaquah.wa.us, click on the “Video Archive” link and select “2009 State of the City Video” or the City Council “February 2, 2009” link.
Reach Reporter Chantelle Lusebrink at 392-6434, ext. 241, or firstname.lastname@example.org. Comment on this story at www.issaquahpress.com.