August 7, 2012
Issaquah needs a lobbyist to advocate in the marble corridors beneath the Capitol dome — and coax state legislators to support local projects, City Council members said in a contentious decision to hire a longtime Olympia lobbyist.
The council agreed in a 5-2 decision July 16 to hire Doug Levy to represent Issaquah in Olympia. Members spent $21,700 to hire the former congressional staffer and onetime journalist through December.
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.
July 3, 2012
Issaquah and the state parks agency have agreed to coordinate efforts to create a better future for cash-strapped Lake Sammamish State Park.
The city could someday shoulder some responsibilities to maintain the state park, but the initial agreement between Issaquah and the Washington Parks and Recreation Commission is light on specifics.
The pact approved by the City Council in a unanimous decision June 18 calls for the city and state parks agency to “explore opportunities to improve community use” of park facilities, seek out funding to improve the park and dedicate staffers to develop recommendations for the park.
The agreement, or memorandum of understanding, is in effect through June 2013. The council decision did not allocate any funding to the park project.
“I’m delighted to see this partnership that we’ve had with Lake Sammamish State Park over the years continue in a more formal way,” Councilman Fred Butler said before the decision.
The effort, spearheaded by councilwomen Eileen Barber and Stacy Goodman, stemmed from a 2011 council retreat to set goals for 2012.
July 3, 2012
Sound Transit received the highest possible ratings from major bond credit rating agencies June 27, despite a challenging economic environment.
Officials said the ratings mean savings for taxpayers in Issaquah and other communities served by the agency. Sound Transit is preparing to save at least $12 million by taking advantage of lower interest rates to refinance about $350 million of outstanding bonds.
In a June 28 decision, Sound Transit board members unanimously approved motions to set parameters to proceed with the transactions. Issaquah City Councilman Fred Butler serves on the board.
Moody’s Investor Service continued the Aa1 rating for Sound Transit’s senior bonds and the Aa2 rating for the agency’s junior “parity bond” obligations. The action maintains Sound Transit as one of the highest-rated transit agencies in the nation.
Sound Transit also carries the highest possible rating on both bond obligations, AAA, from Standard & Poor’s.
June 26, 2012
City and Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District officials could end up at loggerheads as the city embarks on a study to assume water and sewer service for the portion of district customers inside Issaquah city limits.
Issaquah officials budgeted $300,000 to study expanded utility service for the entire city. State law encourages municipalities to assume utility services in neighborhoods located inside city limits.
City officials said such a changeover could reduce confusion among customers and enable municipal government to better manage the water and sewer system inside city limits.
Such a change could lead to a showdown between the city and the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District, because the district is bound to shed hundreds of ratepayers if the city expands water and sewer service to all Issaquah residents.
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.
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 3, 2012
NEW — 8 p.m. April 3, 2012
Efforts to help people find jobs, learn English and grow small businesses earned the Issaquah-based King County Library System a top honor from the Municipal League of King County.
The nonprofit, nonpartisan organization recognized the library system as Organization of the Year, and also honored King County Executive Dow Constantine and local state Sen. Steve Litzow, in the 53rd Annual Civic Awards.
Each year, the Municipal League and the Municipal League Foundation present the honors to highlight people and organizations for significant contributions to the community. Organizers plan a Thursday ceremony to honor the recipients.
Constantine earned the James R. Ellis Regional Leadership Award for years of public service, efforts to bring a culture of performance to county government, completion of major projects and improved relationships among the county and other jurisdictions.
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.
April 2, 2012
NEW — 9:03 p.m. April 2, 2012
The decision to outlaw plastic bags at Issaquah businesses is on hold, City Council members decided Monday after a contentious discussion and appeals from environmentalists concerned about Puget Sound pollution and plastics manufacturers anxious about lost livelihoods.
The proposed plastic bag ban at local retailers is meant to limit garbage headed for the King County landfill and reduce marine pollution.
The measure stalled after speakers questioned the proposal’s scope and timing. The council opted in a 6-1 decision to postpone further discussions on the plastic bag ban to a still-unscheduled meeting.
The plastic bag ban proponent, Issaquah Highlands entrepreneur and Councilman Mark Mullet, said the legislation offers Issaquah a chance to reduce the estimated 10 million plastic bags the city sends to the King County landfill each year.