February 5, 2013
Joe Forkner returned to the City Council on Jan. 29 after a divided council appointed the former councilman, onetime city employee and longtime community leader to a vacant seat.
Forkner, a councilman in separate stints during the early and mid-2000s, did not fade from public life after departing from the council in 2007. The engineering technician and draftsman served as a member of numerous municipal boards and commissions in recent years, and spearheaded the initial plan to redevelop the business district along Interstate 90.
The depth of experience led the council to appoint Forkner, 59, to occupy the seat left after former Councilman Mark Mullet resigned to serve in the state Senate.
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
City Council members signaled support Nov. 26 for a burgeoning effort to create a King County prescription drug take-back program.
Council Safety & Services Committee members unanimously recommended the council approve a resolution supporting the program.
In a separate decision Nov. 19, council members sent the proposed resolution to the committee. The council is expected to consider the resolution again Dec. 17.
November 28, 2012
NEW — 8 a.m. Nov. 28, 2012
City Council members signaled support Monday for a burgeoning effort to create a King County prescription drug take-back program.
Council Safety & Services Committee members unanimously recommended for the council to approve a resolution supporting the program to committee for further discussion.
In a unanimous decision Nov. 19, council members sent the proposed resolution to committee. The council is expected to consider the resolution again next month.
The council sent the legislation to committee less than a week after Mayor Ava Frisinger, a King County Board of Health member, joined a local forum to discuss the proposed county drug take-back program.
November 6, 2012
Due to its growing popularity, the service that the Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 3436 hosts honoring local services members will be in a new location this year.
David Waggoner, of the Issaquah VFW, figures the Issaquah Valley Senior Center will be large enough to house the 60 to 70 expected attendees. All residents are invited, regardless of whether they’ve served in the military.
September 18, 2012
Salmon Days still needs volunteers
To most of us, The Salmon Days Festival is a fun-filled weekend of fair food, live entertainment and early holiday shopping. But the orchestration of preparing a city for 150,000 weekend guests is almost incomprehensible.
The annual Salmon Days volunteer party held a week ago was a celebration for the festival committee as more than 250 people signed up to help during the Oct. 6-7 festival.
But that’s only about half of what’s needed. Without more people stepping forward soon, the festival could be scrambling.
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 10, 2012
Plans to replace a problem-plagued dam upstream from the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery surged ahead July 2, as City Council members steered dollars to complete designs for a proposed replacement.
Crews intend to add boulder weirs to Issaquah Creek and demolish the dam, perhaps as early as next spring.
The legislation approved by the council increased city dollars for the project by $268,700 from the $155,000 municipal leaders initially set aside in the 2012 municipal budget for the replacement. Now, after the council decision, the total amount in the budget is $423,700.
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
King County remains the provider of animal control services in Issaquah under a contract approved by the City Council.
The current provider, Regional Animal Services of King County, changed the formula for how cities pay for the agency. Under the old agreement, cities paid equal amounts based on population and the number of calls, but the updated agreement ditches the 50-50 agreement for a method based more on number of calls in a particular city.
The contract amounts to about $60,000 per year for Issaquah. The agreement is in place through December 2015.
“We think they made it a little more fair,” city Parks & Recreation Director Anne McGill said.