Issaquah City Council changes meeting structures

April 9, 2013

Work sessions were added and committees were consolidated at the April 1 regular City Council meeting.

On the agenda for consideration was a bill that reviewed the meetings, procedures and structures of the council’s deliberations. Since January, the council has been discussing how to more efficiently schedule its many meetings. With approval of the bill, a number of changes were implemented, including time changes and the dissolution of chair positions within merged committees.

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City Council shifts top leadership positions

January 29, 2013

The leadership atop the City Council shifted in early January, as the group chose a longtime councilman to lead the council again.

In unanimous decisions Jan. 7, council members chose Fred Butler for the top spot on the board, council president, and Paul Winterstein to serve in the No. 2 position, deputy council president.

The council did not nominate other contenders for either position.

Issaquah voters elected Butler to the council in 1999. Since 2009, he has served as deputy council president after earlier serving as council president.

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City Council questions Interstate 90 tolling proposal

January 1, 2013

The prospect of tolling on Interstate 90 received a cool reception from the City Council, as state officials consider the idea as a way to generate dollars for the state Route 520 bridge replacement project.

The state Department of Transportation is at work on a $4.1 billion project to replace the 49-year-old floating bridge across Lake Washington and overhaul the 12.8-mile corridor between Interstate 5 in Seattle and state Route 202 in Redmond. The floating bridge is scheduled to open in traffic by early 2015.

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City launches revamped website

December 4, 2012

Issaquah municipal government entered the 21st century Nov. 28, and ditched a difficult-to-navigate city website for a user-friendly portal meant to connect residents to government services.

The city launched the website after a monthslong effort to remake the dowdy image projected by the old website. The updated website is meant to speed users to oft-requested information — Pickering Barn rentals and bill payments, for instance.

The overhaul ranked as a high priority for the City Council, and members authorized up to $125,000 for the website overhaul. The point person on the project, Communications Manager Autumn Monahan, said the project is likely to come in under the $125,000 budget once the final project cost is tallied.

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Residents support bond for parks, pool

July 31, 2012

Conservation to protect wildlife habitat and creekside land is a priority for Issaquah residents, more so than other parks and recreation projects.

The information comes from a survey commissioned by city leaders as the initial step in a process to pass a multimillion-dollar bond measure to fund future parks projects. Data from the survey also addressed a bold proposal to create a special taxing district in the Issaquah School District to fund upgrades to the aging Julius Boehm Pool.

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Site is eyed for Issaquah human services campus

July 31, 2012

The long-gestating plan to build a human services campus in Issaquah is a step closer to reality, as organizers inch closer to selecting a site for the facility.

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City’s sales tax revenue is down so far in 2012

May 8, 2012

Issaquah municipal government did not collect as much revenue January through March as it did during the same period a year ago, although planned developments could strengthen city finances.

In 2011, sales tax revenues increased almost 10 percent from 2010, but only due to sales tax on construction, mostly related to Swedish/Issaquah.

However, the city received about $6.1 million in revenue through March, down 6 percent — or $393,286 — from the same period a year ago. The figure includes sales tax revenue, building permits, grants and other funding sources.

The construction of Swedish/Issaquah bolstered the 2011 total.

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Issaquah voters could decide parks funds in November

April 17, 2012

Issaquah voters could decide as early as November on a multimillion dollar package to fund expansions and upgrades to city parks.

The proposed park bond could generate dollars to add amenities to existing parks, create additional parkland and purchase undeveloped land for conservation. The package could infuse funds into the parks system as lean municipal budgets limit the number of projects the city can undertake.

The municipal Parks & Recreation Department is in the initial stage to prepare for such a bond package, although the timeline is not yet firm. The decision to put a bond measure on the ballot is left to the City Council.

The city is considering offers from firms to conduct a public opinion survey to gauge residents’ interest in parks amenities. The survey should reach residents by late spring or early summer.

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City combines planning, building functions to speed up permitting

April 3, 2012

Step is latest in big City Hall reshuffle

The reorganization of City Hall entered a more intense phase March 27, as officials announced a plan to bundle municipal departments into a Development Services Department — a super-agency meant to streamline planning and building functions.

The change is accompanied by a more muscular effort to attract and retain businesses. Leaders said the Development Services Department is meant to smooth the process to apply for a permit to construct a project or open a business in Issaquah.

The centerpiece is a plan to offer applicants the option to pay additional fees to expedite the evaluation a project receives. The setup is akin to Disney’s Fastpass. Only, rather than theme park guests standing in line for shorter stretches, permit applicants choose a speedier permitting process.

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Effort to boost local economy focuses on competitiveness

April 3, 2012

Issaquah faces ‘much more aggressive’ cities in hunt for businesses

In another step to attract businesses to Issaquah and encourage existing entrepreneurs to remain in the city, leaders promised a more robust economic development effort March 27 in a series of other changes to City Hall.

In recent months, officials unveiled a plan to streamline the permitting process for businesses, create a municipal Economic Vitality Commission and add employees dedicated to economic development.

The effort is meant to turn Issaquah into a more desirable place to do business than other Eastside cities. The competition among cities for businesses is fierce, especially since the recession caused construction to lag.

“Communities are much more aggressive and much more competitive for the amount of economic development that exists out there,” City Administrator Bob Harrison said in a presentation to the City Council.

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