Mayor states goals in first State of the City speech
February 25, 2014
By Peter Clark
Issaquah Mayor Fred Butler vowed to maintain momentum in his first State of the City speech.
Given during the Feb. 18 regular City Council meeting, the speech laid out what Butler hopes to achieve in the first year of his inaugural term.
“A community is made up of many elements,” he said. “We are blessed with an outstanding school district, an active and professional chamber of commerce, students who are involved, first-class medical facilities and a City Council dedication to regional involvement.”
He said he valued the growth the city has experienced and the work accomplished to make Issaquah a regional player.
“In short, we are a five star city,” he said.
He provided four initiatives that would direct his administration in the next year in the hopes to continue bolstering the city.
“First is providing exceptional customer service,” Butler said. “From the day-to-day interactions at our front counter to answering the 911 calls from those experiencing the most stressful moments of their lives, we are here to serve you, our community.”
Through the city’s renewal of a contract with Eastside Fire & Rescue, the communications department and a commitment to deliver efficient assistance, he expressed satisfaction over Issaquah’s standing as a service provider.
“In the coming year, Issaquah will also work with EFR to keep cost low and customer service high,” Butler said. “Thanks to social media, our websites and dedicated staff, we have a 24-hour customer service experience.”
His second initiative is continuing partnerships with community leaders to strengthen what the city could provide.
“We could not meet our goal of a five-star city without our community partners,” he said. “Together, we host more than 180,000 of our closest friends for our Salmon Days Festival. Through our grants program, we help fund the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank, AtWork! and dozens more.”
He used the recent agreement with the Sammamish Plateau and Water District to decommission an aquifer infiltration system and halt city exploration of an assumption of district resources as an example of the fruit that can come from partnerships.
His third focus is sustainability. He touted the “three legs of the stool” often espoused by city leaders as necessary to achieving lasting sustainability: social, economic and environmental.
“This is key to maintaining our momentum,” Butler said. “We are focused on founding a human service campus. Our commitment to the environment is paramount in Issaquah. And economic prosperity is a strong focus to maintaining our sustainability.”
He said the Economic Vitality Commission had assisted the city through identifying its strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Butler said he believed those provided a roadmap to begin developing strategies for the future.
He identified setting the stage for the future as the final initiative of the coming year.
With the Central Issaquah Plan and a large Rowley development agreement, Butler said Issaquah should prepare to take the next steps.
“It’s time to realize the vision we’ve created,” he said.
He listed the possible redevelopment of Seventh Avenue Northwest and Northwest Gilman Boulevard, an expansion of the Swedish Medical Center and progress on a highlands Bellevue College campus as examples that will follow that vision established by the city.
“The state of the city is strong thanks to strong leadership and planning,” Butler said. “Together, as a community of residents, we can capitalize on our momentum and continue building our city’s bright future.”