City Council sets goals, including plan to make Issaquah a mountain-biking mecca
June 26, 2010
By Warren Kagarise
NEW — 7 a.m. June 26, 2010
The ambitious agenda for 2011 calls for the city to turn Issaquah into a mountain-biking destination, decide whether to annex Klahanie and surrounding neighborhoods, and continue to promote Issaquah to prospective businesses.
City Council members OK’d goals for 2011 on Monday, and handed Mayor Ava Frisinger a broad set of priorities to be accomplished next year. The decision represents the first step in the process to shape the 2011 city budget.
Department chiefs start to prepare the budget in the summer. The mayor then delivers a proposal to the council by October. Members mold the proposal into a final budget, and the council approves the spending plan in late December.
The list also calls for the city to improve transportation, foster economic development and reduce environmental impact.
The council seeks to build a mountain bike park in Issaquah and connect city trails to regional mountain biking trails. Though the process could take several years to complete, council members directed city staffers to start the process next year.
The decision to revisit the Klahanie annexation could be difficult to accomplish.
The council directed staffers to update a study of the potential Klahanie annexation. Though hiring a consultant to redo the entire study could be expensive, city staffers could instead update part of the document to reflect changes from 2005 — the last time Issaquah considered a Klahanie annexation.
The goal also calls for Issaquah officials to open talks with Sammamish leaders and Klahanie residents about the future of the neighborhood and surrounding subdivisions.
Officials plan to add information to proposed legislation in order to gauge the foreseen impacts on businesses. The council already uses a similar element to address how proposed bills synch with the long-term growth plan.
Other highlights on the list include: demolishing the downtown skate park and building another facility elsewhere, overhauling the difficult-to-navigate municipal website, implementing a “paperless” office initiative and working to bring Issaquah residents served by Bellevue municipal water and the Sammamish Plateau Water & Sewer District into the city system.
Members decided to eliminate some past goals from the list, because elected officials and city staffers felt work continued to progress on projects, like the proposed human services campus.
Former Councilman John Rittenhouse urged the council to make the campus — a clearinghouse for food distribution, health care and employment aid for the needy — a priority for 2011.
The initial step to open the campus — a feasibility study to gauge interest from local nonprofit organizations — should be completed by September.
“As the human services campus effort enters into its next phase in 2011, it will be important to fundraising efforts for potential donors to see that the city continues to support the concept through its inclusion in the 2011 council goals,” Rittenhouse said at the Monday meeting.
In a later interview, Frisinger said efforts to build the campus had been integrated into city plans, and staffers had no intention of dropping the project.
The council laid down the initial goal list during a weekend retreat last month, and then refined the goals in subsequent committee meetings.
Before the council voted June 21, the discussion became mired in procedural matters, as council members questioned if goals had been underemphasized or dropped altogether. The council later OK’d the list in a unanimous decision.
“I think everything we’re talking about here is the teething pains of a new way of looking at goals,” Councilman Tola Marts said.