County plans switch to flat-fee rates for permits

May 4, 2010

King County Executive Dow Constantine wants to remake the way the county permitting agency does business. The executive called for a new rate structure for the agency — and a switch from unpopular hourly fees to fixed fees — as well as a new unit to handle permitting in rural King County.

Constantine unveiled a reform package for the Department of Development and Environmental Services last week.

He proposed the updated rate structure to make the permitting process more predictable for customers, and to offer incentives for employees. The executive ordered the permitting agency to develop financial projections in order for the flat-fee structure to be included in the 2011 budget. King County Council members will adopt the budget by late fall. Under the reform package, the existing rate structure will remain in place for the rest of the year. Constantine also proposed creating a Rural Land Use and Permitting Unit by next year.

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County offers free earthquake retrofit permits

April 20, 2010

Some unincorporated King County residents may qualify for free home earthquake retrofit permits if their home has a wood-frame construction, lightweight roof and a reinforced concrete foundation. Other criteria call for the home to be situated on a relatively level lot and two stories or less in height. Find the complete criteria for a free permit at www.kingcounty.gov/property/permits.

Contact Paula Adams at 206-296-6682 to learn more about earthquake retrofit permits.

Free permits can usually be issued over the counter if residents submit a complete application. Homes that do not meet criteria can also receive a permit, but the process takes more time and the applicant must pay permit-review fees.

“I hope more people will take advantage of this important program,” department Director John Starbard said in a news release. “Our region dealt with the impacts of the Nisqually earthquake in 2001 and, although that event was not of the same magnitude as more recent international earthquake disasters, modern building codes minimized the physical and economic damage of the 2001 quake for the benefit of the entire region.”

King County offers free earthquake retrofit permits

April 13, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. April 13, 2010

Some unincorporated King County residents might qualify for free home earthquake retrofit permits.

Residents qualify for a free permit if their home has a wood-frame construction, lightweight roof and a reinforced concrete foundation. Other criteria call for the home to be situated on a relatively level lot and two stories or less in height. Find the complete criteria for a free permit here.

Contact Public information and Records Officer Paula Adams at 206-296-6682 to learn more about earthquake retrofit permits.

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Mayor proposes leaner budget for 2010

October 6, 2009

Fewer dollars would be set aside for the DownTown Issaquah Association, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, Village Theatre and other organizations supported by city money under the 2010 budget unveiled by Mayor Ava Frisinger. Read more

Expect tighter budget for 2010, mayor says

September 22, 2009

Mayor Ava Frisinger plans to present a leaner city budget early next month, as the City Council seeks to tamp down expenses for 2010. Her budget presentation, scheduled for the Oct. 5 council meeting, follows a round of layoffs last week and several months of money-saving measures. Read more

City services will be impacted by employee layoffs

September 8, 2009

Residents may notice more weeds at city parks, longer waits for passports and fewer road projects next year as municipal officials trim expenses by about $7 million. Read more

City will lay off 10 employees

September 3, 2009

NEW — 1:45 p.m. Sept. 3, 2009

City officials gave layoff notices to 10 employees today as the city takes dramatic steps to trim expenses by about $7 million.

Employees in the municipal Building, Human Resources, Parks & Recreation, Planning and Public Works Engineering departments received notice their positions would be eliminated soon. Some of the departments have been hit by a slowdown in building construction.

The layoffs followed a hiring freeze and a voluntary severance program enacted by the city. Municipal officials will save about $595,000 next year after seven employees opted for a severance package. All told, the hiring freeze, severance program and layoffs will save the city $2.025 million.

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Work stalls on Front Street properties

August 18, 2009

The ARCO gas station at the corner of Gilman Boulevard and Front Street remains undeveloped. By Adam Eschbach

The ARCO gas station at the corner of Gilman Boulevard and Front Street remains undeveloped. By Adam Eschbach

City officials issued a building permit for a 10,500-square-foot commercial building at a prime Front Street North location in early February. Since then, however, the site at 670 Front St. N. has gone undeveloped — a result of the cool economy and a tough retail market.

City officials have raised questions about the site — where Skippers restaurant once stood — and a nearby ARCO station in the midst of a delayed renovation project. Council President Maureen McCarry and Councilman Fred Butler raised questions about the ARCO site during a July 8 meeting with City Administrator Leon Kos. Read more

Reserve dollars will be used to bridge city budget gap

August 4, 2009

City officials will dip into a rainy day fund to close a $3.6 million budget gap, and officials could turn to employee layoffs, furloughs and program cuts to prevent another shortfall next year. Read more

Human services campus, new hatchery dam among city’s goals

June 2, 2009

City officials want to improve traffic flow, city parks and salmon habitat in 2010. The wide-ranging list of 2010 goals directs city staffers to take steps to establish a human services campus, plan Cybil-Madeline Park and complete the first phase of the Interstate 90 Undercrossing. Read more

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