December 11, 2012
Expect to see more police patrolling city streets next summer, after the City Council agreed to include dollars in the 2013 municipal budget for the Issaquah Police Department to hire another officer.
The council agreed in the $42 million general fund budget to hire another police officer and a part-time records staffer for the police department. The agency expects to fill both positions after July 1.
The general fund encompasses the dollars used to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government. The police department is the largest expense in the general fund — encompassing more than $8 million — followed by parks and recreation.
December 11, 2012
By the numbers
Data from the most recent year available, 2011, illustrates how Issaquah ranks against other King County cities in per capita funding for human services.
Source: City of Issaquah
Representatives from a spectrum of organizations — nonprofit human services groups offering affordable housing, safe havens for domestic violence victims, assistance to struggling students and more — successfully lobbied City Council members Dec. 3 to stave off a $48,750 drop in funding for such programs.
The council agreed to allocate $280,750 in the $42 million general fund budget for human services grants, but only after a council committee pushed to increase the amount and local nonprofit organizations pleaded for the council not to eliminate $48,750 in funding.
Grants go to organizations such as Eastside Baby Corner, Friends of Youth and the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank to offer services to residents from Issaquah and the Issaquah School District.
In a 4-3 decision, council members agreed to increase the amount budgeted for human services by $48,750 from the $233,250 the council recommended in earlier budget deliberations. The additional dollars for human services grants comes from the municipal rainy day fund.
Councilwoman Eileen Barber initiated the process to restore the human services funding.
Then, before the split decision, representatives from local human services organizations — including Catholic Community Services, Issaquah Community Services and LifeWire — beseeched the council to restore funds for grants.
“At a time when I see the needs rising among our students, and I see the return on investment for cities in investing in students while they’re still in school, I think it’s a critical time for you to consider being able to support organizations, such as the schools foundation, in retaining our current funding,” Issaquah Schools Foundation Executive Director Robin Callahan said.
Several referenced the Great Recession and the fragile economy recovery in pleas to the council.
“I believe that our nonprofits are still recovering from the recession,” Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank Executive Director Cori Kauk said. “Many of our local nonprofits haven’t rebounded yet and they still need your support. Now is really not a good time for cuts.”
Council President Tola Marts said the city did not intend to undercut human services organizations through the budget reduction.
“In a time when the state and the county are reducing funds — and I realize that puts even more strain on local budgets — I think the intent of the council when we did the budget was that we thought that was a strong position to take,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that it’s been perceived as a Grinchian position.”
The council acts on recommendations from the municipal Human Services Commission. Overall, commissioners received 60 grant applications totaling $366,283 in requests for 2013.
Commission Chairwoman Maggie Baker, disappointed about the proposed reduction in funding, pored over data from the U.S. Census Bureau to better quantify the need in the community.
“I realized that with $47,000 less, we weren’t going to be able to do the right thing for our 1,365 Issaquah neighbors 65 and over who live with at least one disability that keeps them from completing an activity of daily living, such as eating, dressing or bathing,” she said.
December 4, 2012
Issaquah City Councilman Mark Mullet joined the state Senate on Nov. 30 — 45 days before other freshman lawmakers convene in Olympia for the 2013 legislative session.
In a ceremony on the Senate floor, state Supreme Court Chief Justice Barbara Madsen administered the oath to Mullet as the Democrat’s family members watched.
Mullet joined the Senate after a bruising contest against Snoqualmie Republican Brad Toft to represent the 5th Legislative District — a mishmash between suburban and rural communities stretched between Issaquah and Snoqualmie Pass.
The last senator to represent the district, Maple Valley Republican Cheryl Pflug, resigned from the seat in June to serve on a state board. Sammamish Republican Dino Rossi — senator from the district in the late 1990s and early 2000s — served in the role between Pflug’s resignation and Mullet’s arrival.
November 30, 2012
NEW — 4:05 p.m. Nov. 30, 2012
Issaquah City Councilman Mark Mullet joined the state Senate on Friday afternoon, 45 days before other freshman lawmakers convene in Olympia for the 2013 legislative session.
November 27, 2012
The last chance for residents to comment on the 2013 city budget is soon.
City Council members plan to host a public hearing on the $89.5 million spending plan.
The proposed $35 million general fund encompasses the dollars used to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government.
The total proposed budget for next year includes dollars for capital expenses and from other accounts.
November 13, 2012
City Council members decided Nov. 5 against a property tax increase for next year, and edged the 2013 municipal budget closer to adoption.
In a unanimous decision, council members rejected a proposal to increase the property tax rate by 1 percent next year. The council is expected to finalize the decision on property tax revenue for next year at a Nov. 19 meeting.
In October, Mayor Ava Frisinger proposed to raise the property tax rate by the maximum amount allowed under state law, or 1 percent, next year. Officials said the measure could raise $69,707 for the city next year and then compound over time. The city estimated the cost to the average homeowner at $4.75 per year.
October 9, 2012
Issaquah homeowners can expect to pay about $5 more in property taxes next year, if City Council members adopt a 1 percent rate hike to fund long-term projects.
The property tax increase, proposed Oct. 1 by Mayor Ava Frisinger, is not expected to generate much next year. If enacted, city officials expect to raise only $69,707 — a drop in a proposed $35 million general fund budget.
The decision to raise the property tax rate by the maximum amount allowed under state law, 1 percent, is projected to cost the average homeowner $4.75 per year.
September 25, 2012
Mayor Ava Frisinger plans to unveil the 2013 municipal budget Oct. 1 and outline priorities for the year ahead.
The annual announcement launches at least a month of deliberations between City Council members and city staffers to craft a complete budget. The council is required to adopt the budget before Dec. 31.
Frisinger is due to deliver a budget address at the Oct. 1 council meeting. Leaders meet at 7:30 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.
In December 2011, council members approved a $36 million general fund budget — dollars used to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government.
The total city budget — including dollars for capital expenses and from other accounts — reached $85.7 million.
August 21, 2012
Issaquah could pay a larger share to keep Eastside Fire & Rescue stable, after officials in neighboring Sammamish asked for other partners to contribute more to correct perceived inequity in funding Sammamish Plateau fire stations.
The stations in question receive large portions of funding from Sammamish, but most incidents handled by crews at the stations occur in Issaquah.
Sammamish City Manager Ben Yazici met with representatives from Issaquah and Fire District 10 in recent weeks to discuss potential solutions to the funding issue.
(Fire District 10 is the EFR partner serving residents in Klahanie, May Valley, Mirrormont, Preston and Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah area, plus Carnation in rural King County.)
The discussion is centered on funding for Station 83, at 3425 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road S.E., and Station 81, at 2030 212th Ave. S.E.
Issaquah-headquartered EFR determines the bill for partners based on the assessed value of property in each city or district.
July 3, 2012
City Council members approved the roadmap for all city transportation projects through 2018 — a guide to planned street and sidewalk improvements.
In a unanimous decision June 18, council members adopted the Transportation Improvement Program, or TIP, a guide to short- and long-term planning for road, transit and pedestrian projects. The document outlines possible transportation projects for 2013-18.
Transportation planners outlined possible improvements to downtown streets, street repairs and other projects in the expansive document.
The list does not include as many big-ticket projects as in past years — a result of council belt-tightening in the municipal budget.
Still, items outlined in the proposal could alleviate traffic congestion and offer motorists a smoother ride — if the city can find dollars to complete the projects.
Municipal staffers list transportation projects in the TIP, and then prioritize the projects through a separate process to fund capital improvements.