December 31, 2013
Top news stories of the year
Many new things happened in Issaquah this past year and not all of them were greeted warmly.
While most people saw new parks and a new mayor as positive changes for the city, contention rose around new technology, new development standards, new fish ladders, new plastic bag ordinances and a newly legalized drug.
Much of what happened in 2013 spells more growth for Issaquah in the years to come and even more changes ahead. The year 2014 can learn much from the lessons taught by this past year of transformation.
December 31, 2013
Many questions surround discussions about a huge Issaquah Highlands development that city officials hope will bring a high-tech college campus to the parcel.
Economic Development Director Keith Niven introduced a draft development agreement between Issaquah and Polygon Northwest to the City Council Land and Shore Committee at its Dec. 10 meeting. The committee voted to recommend to the full council that the administration proceed with negotiating a new development agreement, but did not reach the decision unanimously.
Microsoft sold its 63-acre Issaquah Highlands property to Polygon Northwest in October.
December 24, 2013
Mayor Ava Frisinger presided over her final Issaquah City Council meeting Dec. 16.
After 16 years as the head of Issaquah’s administration, the four-term mayor decided not to run in this year’s election. The council and city officials held a reception in her honor before the meeting. Once it began, the first 30 minutes were spent praising her and her accomplishments. Many residents attended the mayor’s send off.
Council President Fred Butler, who won the election to replace Frisinger, introduced a certificate of appreciation to honor her for overseeing Issaquah’s booming transition over the past 16 years.
December 17, 2013
NEW — 6 a.m. Dec. 17, 2013
Issaquah needs a new City Council member.
Since current Council President Fred Butler won last month’s election for mayor, the council will need to appoint a replacement to fill his seat.
The City Council approved a timeline and procedures during its Dec. 2 regular meeting.
November 26, 2013
The 2014 city budget, with more than $97 million in planned expenditures, passed unanimously last week after the City Council removed $300,000 worth of expenses and added $400,000 in revenue.
During its Nov. 18 regular meeting, the council put its final approval on the annual budget after four long work sessions and two public hearings that gathered no criticism. It allows for an additional police officer, funding for relocating the skate park and a new executive human services position. The new additions will cost more than $470,000. In order to add enough revenue to cover the expenses, council approved a 1 percent increase in property taxes.
“The 2014 budget is a balanced budget that continues our commitment to the quality of living to the citizens of Issaquah,” Financial Director Diane Marcotte said. “This goes very much in alignment with our emphasis in sustainability. It maintains our cash reserves at near current levels, and continues to meet our recently adopted financial policies and budget policies.”
November 26, 2013
Mary Lou Pauly will be sworn in Dec. 2
Joe Forkner served his last regular City Council meeting Nov. 18.
After former Councilman Mark Mullet was elected to the state Senate, the City Council chose Forkner to fill the interim position last January. This month, Forkner ran for mayor against Council President Fred Butler and lost, while Mary Lou Pauly ran unopposed for the seat Forkner filled. King County expects to certify Pauly’s election Nov. 26, ending Forkner’s commitment to the council.
October 22, 2013
2013 mayor candidates questions and answers
How will you address traffic problems, short term and long term?
Joe Forkner: Upgrading the current Intelligent Transportation System to the next generation real-time system would be short term and better public transportation long term.
Fred Butler: Take an integrated system approach to get maximum efficiency from our transportation and commute trip programs, upgrade ITS and apply Adaptive Transportation Management where appropriate.
October 1, 2013
Traffic talks are in a jam.
To address ongoing transportation problems and lobby for a Legislature special session this fall, local and regional representatives met for a town hall Sept. 26. An overflowing crowd came to Issaquah City Hall to voice concerns about traffic and hear possible solutions.
Washington State Department of Transportation Regional Administrator Lorena Eng joined Sen. Mark Mullet, Rep. Jay Rodne, Rep. Chad Magendanz, King County Councilwoman Kathy Lambert, Issaquah City Council President Fred Butler, former Bothell City Councilman Dick Paylor and North Bend Mayor Kenneth Hearing to have a discussion in an attempt to resurrect the failed Legislature funding package and hear citizen opinions.
September 19, 2013
NEW — 11:22 a.m. Sept. 19, 2013
Differences became apparent between candidates in the Sept. 17 candidate forum.
The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce welcome the two mayoral contenders and the two seeking a school board position to Blakely Hall for the kickoff of campaign season.
City Council President Fred Butler and Councilman Joe Forkner met each other for a first public appearance directly related to seeking November votes.
Moderated by Erin McCallum, of the Strategic Campaign Group, the forum allowed candidates 90-second answers to a variety of questions asked by McCallum and the audience.
September 17, 2013
Water district customers hoodwinked
A city of Issaquah employee was directed to register websites in May in an apparent effort to deceive customers of the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District. That move could open the city up to possible lawsuits.
Mayor Ava Frisinger said in a letter that the move directed by the administration was designed to counter a “misinformation campaign” from the district.
In a Sept. 12 press release, the district pointed to two domain names it found similar to ones it employs in business practices. Both sites, owned by the city of Issaquah, not only resembled established domains of the district, but also took an Internet user straight to a city webpage entitled “Our water, our city.”