Issaquah City Council sets 2014 goals

May 7, 2013

By Peter Clark

Developing city’s brand, combined government campus among objectives

At its annual goal-setting retreat May 4, the City Council continued to look into the future.

During the five-hour meeting, attended by most of the city’s department heads and representatives from other regional authorities, the council members presented their individual goals for consideration. Once discussion was held regarding each prospective goal, council members voted on what would comprise their 2014 agenda.

Ultimately, they decided to take on such things as looking into the feasibility of a combined city campus for the government, a marketing packet to develop the city’s brand and adding metrics of the city’s current state to the official website.

Members of the council originally submitted 28 goals, which were whittled down to 21 after discussion and consolidation. The council ended up approving 11. Those goals stretch across many areas, but reflect the council’s approach to strengthening community support, planning for future growth and increasing communication.

“The city is in a transition,” Council President Fred Butler said as he opened the meeting. He commended the staff and government for the cooperation that had been shown in the last year. “That is something that is, in my view, that we don’t think about very often, which is how we work with each other and how we communicate with each other.”

The many potential goals were hung all around the Knowledge Room within Swedish/Issaquah. In turn, council members extensively explained the reasoning and implementation for each goal. Many were purposefully vague and broad in order to foster a wider approach toward a solution, such as Councilwoman Eileen Barber’s goal to encourage a greater citizen voice in decision-making. It was approved and included in the final 11.

Other goals were more specific in their intention. Councilman Joshua Schaer presented a goal to install flashing yellow left-turn signals on at least five intersections. While the council spoke in favor of the idea, it did not make the final cut for inclusion in their 2014 plan.

The council considers the retreat extremely important. It not only sets focus areas for future consideration but also allows individual members to promote their specific areas of interest for the city. Councilman Tola Marts explained that it is “one of two” most important things the council takes part in over the course of the year, the other being the budgeting process.

Councilman Paul Winterstein could not attend due to illness, but both of the goals he proposed were passed: investing in a healthy community strategy and facilitating the development of a neighborhood association council. Though he was not present to speak in favor of them, the council saw the benefits in the goals.

“Think we need to get a voice for these neighborhoods so they can have a greater involvement in the city,” Councilman Joe Forkner said.

On the other end of the spectrum, Schaer submitted nine goals at the retreat, which included transportation safety and investigating lowering the city’s taxes. The only one to pass was the continued feasibility study of an Interstate 90 overcrossing near 12th Street.

The approved goals are merely the council’s official recommendation to the administration. They will be sent to Mayor Ava Frisinger’s office, which will then place them on an official agenda bill for a future council meeting in which the goals can be ratified.

 

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