Editorial

November 19, 2013

City budget tight but new policies in place

The Issaquah City Council has zeroed in on a 2014 sustainable budget, but it took a lot of sweat to get there.

The mayor’s budget, presented last month, called on carry-over funds from this year to offset expenses for next year.

Thankfully, council members and city Finance Director Diane Marcotte are not accepting the notion. Along with close examination of proposed expenses came the task of adopting financial policies that will ensure the city never gets to the edge of a precipice.

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City Council questions budget balancing

October 22, 2013

The Issaquah City Council dove into the mayor’s proposed budget Oct. 14 and brought large questions about the use of ending fund balances.

While the majority of remarks made in the first televised meeting of budget season from the council concerned relatively small matters, members called into question the matter of pulling money out of the ending fund balance in order to correct over-spending or lack of revenue in individual departments.

According to the mayor’s budget, fiscal year 2012 had a beginning fund balance of $8.77 million in the general fund. In 2013, there was a beginning fund balance of $8.15 million. Next year has a budget of $7.97 million in its beginning fund balance and an expected ending fund balance of $7.55 million. This is compared with general fund expenditures that have risen by almost $5 million since 2012.

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City considers setting up contingency fund

September 17, 2013

City Finance Director Diane Marcotte introduced plans for a city contingency fund during the Aug. 5 regular City Council meeting.

Previously discussed during Marcotte’s presentations to the council as a part of new financial policies to explore, she said a contingency fund could help prepare for major unexpected expenses as well as improve the city’s bond rating.

The introduction for the agenda bill explains the motivation behind the idea.

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Council approves 2014 annexation vote of Klahanie area

July 30, 2013

With a vote of 6-1, the Issaquah City Council decided July 15 to place the future of Klahanie’s residents in the hands of the area’s voters.

As opposed to the vocal public hearings and numerous hours examining the Nesbitt Planning Inc. financial study, City Finance Director Diane Marcotte delivered a short presentation and City Administrator Bob Harrison summarized the Land & Shore Committee’s recommendation that the council send the decision to voters in February.

“When we go through and look at the cost that they’re currently paying, versus what they would pay if they came into the city of Issaquah, they would be paying about $380 less a year,” Marcotte said of Klahanie residents’ property tax. She added that the study found annexation would be beneficial to Issaquah as well. “Each year, we should be having some additional revenue, and that is around $650,000 a year. There still is sufficient revenue, but it may take a little longer to accomplish some of the council’s goals.”

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