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.
June 12, 2012
The latest step in a broad reorganization of City Hall included a $1 million drop in the municipal budget, as the City Council redirected spending after a round of employee layoffs in some departments and hires elsewhere.
The midyear budget reflected a change in strategy at City Hall, as officials retool functions to reflect recommendations in a study conducted last year by a Seattle consultant.
Officials already bundled municipal departments into a Development Services Department — a super-agency meant to streamline planning and building functions — and rolled out a more muscular effort to attract and retain businesses.
The budget adjustment approved by the council May 21 shifted dollars among city accounts to achieve the decrease. The legislation is meant to address the changes in the city spending plan since the council adopted the original 2012 budget in December.
June 5, 2012
City Council members agreed to study options for the aging Issaquah Skate Park to turn it from a bastion for drug use into a community asset, boost economic development efforts in the city and conduct another study about the future of Klahanie.
Other priorities included a plan to televise council budget deliberations, hire a lobbyist to advocate for Issaquah in Olympia, and develop a comprehensive policy related to bicyclists and pedestrians.
The council, alongside representatives from municipal departments, gathered in a YWCA Family Village at Issaquah conference room June 2 to formulate the list.
In the rare Saturday meeting, council members trimmed a long list into priorities for 2013. Though the council conducted the heavy lifting at the retreat, the process is not yet done.
May 29, 2012
Citizens can join the City Council for a daylong retreat June 2 as officials meet to set goals for 2013.
The council meets each spring to draft goals and determine priorities for the months ahead. The process starts the effort to craft a municipal budget for the coming year.
Mayor Ava Frisinger, municipal department chiefs and other officials also join the council.
The retreat runs from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the lower Community Room at YWCA Family Village at Issaquah, 949 N.E. Ingram Way.
The council set ambitious goals for 2012, including possible solutions for cash-strapped Lake Sammamish State Park, a more citizen-friendly budgeting process and a commission to address economic vitality.
Other priorities included offering additional city information online, improving downtown parking access and discussing possible arrangements for the aging Julius Boehm Pool.
The goal to create a municipal Economic Vitality Commission came to fruition May 16, as members held the inaugural meeting.
April 24, 2012
Independence Day revelers eager to see the rockets’ red glare in the Issaquah sky must wait at least another year, after City Council members decided against funding a holiday fireworks display.
Councilman Mark Mullet, owner of Ben & Jerry’s Scoop Shop and Zeeks Pizza in the Issaquah Highlands, offered to fund a July 3 fireworks display at Tibbetts Valley Park. The proposal fizzled April 16 after other council members raised questions about budget, calendar and space limitations.
April 24, 2012
Citizens can dig deep into the 2012 municipal budget.
Officials posted the budget online April 9. Read it at www.ci.issaquah.wa.us/Page.asp?NavID=2761.
The budget is the fruition of a long process to establish priorities.
In October, Mayor Ava Frisinger sent to the City Council a $32 million general fund budget — dollars to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government.
Then, per standard procedure, council members adjusted the budget to add projects and shift spending to other priorities. Overall, council members’ changes amounted to $4.1 million.
The total city budget — including dollars for capital expenses and from other accounts — is $85.7 million.
The council is expected to approve a series of adjustments to the budget to implement a reorganization of City Hall departments and functions.
Through February, leaders reduced the Planning and Public Works Engineering workforces through layoffs and a severance program. Officials also left vacant positions unfilled.
February 7, 2012
Mayor Ava Frisinger highlighted a more muscular economic development effort and a reshuffled City Hall structure in the State of the City address — the speech to set Issaquah leaders’ agenda for the months ahead.
The address, delivered Feb. 6, days after the city announced employee layoffs, echoed a top priority from the City Council — a concerted effort to attract businesses to Issaquah and convince established businesses to remain in the city. The effort to remake City Hall functions also dominated the speech.
“A major focus for 2012 will be enhancing our economic vitality, which is a community’s capacity to be economically competitive, resilient and attractive to both private and public enterprise,” Frisinger said.
Under a reorganization plan prepared by Seattle consultant Moss Adams and delivered late last year, the city focused on efficiency and effectiveness. The consultant discovered different cultures, expectations and management styles across municipal departments. Moss Adams pointed out the differences in coordination, scheduling and tracking across departments.
“In the end, our goal is to enhance customer service, find efficiencies and prepare our city for the years and decades ahead,” Frisinger said.
Though the reorganization emerged as a strong theme, Frisinger also used the address to spotlight ongoing projects.