Council lowers B&O tax increase, raises property taxes, as expected

November 25, 2014

Business leaders spoke up and the Issaquah City Council listened.

In a 5-2 vote, council members approved a 50 percent hike in the city’s business and occupation taxes. The increase was a major part of the overall $168.6 million 2015 budget adopted by the council at its regular meeting Nov. 17.

Initially, Mayor Fred Butler proposed a 150 percent increase in the B&O taxes over a two-year period. At a public hearing Nov. 3, representatives from the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and some of Issaquah’s biggest businesses, such as Darigold and Costco, said that was just too much.

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Issaquah lowers B & O tax increase, raises property taxes, as expected

November 18, 2014

NEW — 11:26 p.m. Nov. 18, 2014

Business leaders spoke up and the Issaquah City Council listened.

In a 5-2 vote, council members approved a 50 percent hike in the city’s business and occupation taxes. The increase was a major part of the overall $168.6 million 2015 budget adopted by the council at its regular meeting last night.

Initially, Mayor Fred Butler proposed a 150 percent increase in the B&O taxes over a two-year period. At a public hearing Nov. 3, representatives from the Issaquah Chamber of Commerce and some of Issaquah’s biggest business, such as Darigold and Costco, said that was just too much.

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Council gets bike, pedestrian plan

October 7, 2014

Local residents want to walk and roll all night — and probably through the day as well.

The Issaquah City Council received the most recent bike and pedestrian plan from the city’s Department of Sustainability during its Committee of the Whole meeting Sept. 22. Named Walk + Roll Issaquah, the plan aims to provide a framework to ensure easier nonvehicle travel in the city through “guiding the development and implementation of future projects and programs.”

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Potential state park annexation is given more time for discussion

August 12, 2014

Zoning questions held off an Issaquah City Council move toward annexing Lake Sammamish State Park.

Presented with an agenda bill to adopt a letter of intent Aug. 4, the council faced a step in taking over jurisdiction of the park from the state. The matter entered council consideration in April after the state parks department presented the idea to city officials in the form of a petition for annexation.

City Long Range Planner Trish Heinonen said the idea came from last year’s securing of $5 million for improvements to the 512-acre state park.

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Issaquah City Council passes marijuana open container law

July 15, 2014

Wait until you get home in Issaquah before opening your legal marijuana.

The City Council unanimously approved new regulations for the use of recreational marijuana during its regular meeting July 7.

The regulations adopt two provisions approved in the Initiative 502 referendum into Issaquah’s code. The two restrictions prohibit marijuana use “in view of the general public” and define driving under the influence of marijuana as having 5 nanograms of THC per milliliter of the driver’s blood.

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Eastside coalition explores permanent winter homeless shelter

July 1, 2014

Finding shelter in the winter might get easier in the future for the Eastside’s homeless.

The Issaquah City Council heard a presentation during its June 24 Committee of the Whole meeting about the exploration of opening a permanent winter shelter on the Eastside. Council President Paul Winterstein serves on the Eastside Human Services Forum and said that group initiated the topic in response to growing need.

“That forum hosted a mayors’ breakfast where this idea of potentially creating a regional solution for a permanent winter shelter was brought up,” he said. “It is an idea that is in the incubation stage.”

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City Council approves recreational marijuana retail regulations

June 10, 2014

Retail marijuana will come to Issaquah.

After months of discussion and a moratorium installed in September, Issaquah will allow recreational marijuana business practices. The City Council voted on the administration’s proposed regulations during the June 2 meeting and agreed 5-2 to the rules that build on the established state restrictions.

“The proposed regulations would allow marijuana retail in all of Issaquah’s commercial areas — everywhere but the downtown zone,” City Associate Planner Jason Rogers said. “For the producers and processors, the intent was to limit them to our intensive commercial zone only.”

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Raises may come for City Council

June 10, 2014

The Issaquah City Council wants to evaluate its members’ pay.

During the June 2 regular meeting, the council discussed forming a salary commission, which would look at the council’s monthly salary and determine whether members should receive more, less or the same. It voted 5-2 to direct the administration to draft an ordinance and to have the Services & Safety Committee review it.

Currently, the council president makes $800 a month, the deputy council president makes $750 a month and other council members make $700 per month. The salaries were established in 2002. A salary commission last reviewed the salaries in 2006 without recommending a change.

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Distinction for Dedication — 35th annual Issaquah Community Awards celebrates extraordinary community service

May 27, 2014

Robin Callahan, Issaquah Schools Foundation executive director, gets handclasps from friends and a prolonged ovation from the audience when she is named Issaquah Citizen of the Year, as she comes forward during the 35th annual Community Awards Banquet presented May 22. For more photos from the event, see Page A8.By Greg Farrar

Robin Callahan, Issaquah Schools Foundation executive director, gets handclasps from friends and a prolonged ovation from the audience when she is named Issaquah Citizen of the Year, as she comes forward during the 35th annual Community Awards Banquet presented May 22. By Greg Farrar

Robin Callahan and Ava Frisinger were the big winners during the 35th annual Issaquah Community Awards.

The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce held the event at the Hilton Garden Inn in a room full of city leaders and passionate citizens May 22. The yearly program aims to honor dedication to Issaquah and longtime volunteers for their service to the community.

Fourteen awards were given, celebrating multiple facets of how people improve Issaquah.

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City Council chooses site for new skate park

May 27, 2014

Issaquah’s new skate park will land in Tibbetts Valley Park.

An aerial view shows the new location for the skate park at Tibbetts Valley Park. City of Issaquah

An aerial view shows the new location for the skate park at Tibbetts Valley Park.
City of Issaquah

After months of public meetings where the Parks Board and a citizens advisory group looked at eight possible locations for the future site, the City Council unanimously approved a triangular spot in Tibbetts Valley Park, adjacent to the west parking lot, during the May 19 regular meeting.

“The skate park started out as a real grassroots effort in 1995 and 1996,” Councilwoman Eileen Barber said. “They really petitioned the council and came to meeting after meeting, saying how important that a skateboard park would be to them. Unfortunately, over the years, even with increased police efforts, the secluded location of the park presented safety challenges and so the community desired a new skateboard park.”

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