Issaquah City Council votes to raise utility rates

November 5, 2015

NEW — 3:18 p.m. Nov. 5, 2015

Issaquah users will see increases in water, sewer and stormwater rates in each of the next five years, beginning in 2016.

The Issaquah City Council voted 6-1 in favor of each increase at its regular meeting on Nov. 2. Councilman Joshua Schaer cast the lone “no” votes.

In 2016, the combined increases will amount to between $7.50 and $8 bimonthly for the average resident, said Diane Marcotte, city finance director. The city bills its utilities every other month.

The increases are due to rising capital improvement costs, mostly arriving in the form of renewals and replacements, said Shawn Koorn of consultant HDR Engineering Inc. He also talked about depreciation of the various systems and the need to sufficiently fund operating and maintenance expenses. Read more

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Bill Ramos touts experience in public, private sectors

September 30, 2015

NEW — 5:28 p.m. Sept. 30, 2015

City Council Position 4 Race heats up

Hoping to replace incumbent Issaquah City Councilman Joshua Schaer, who chose not to run for re-election to his Position 4 seat, resident Bill Ramos is running in his first public election.

It’s actually his second try for the council. Ramos threw his hat in the ring for an appointment to the council in 2014. He was one of several people vying for the council seat vacated when Fred Butler was elected mayor.

Bill Ramos

Bill Ramos

Ramos said he doesn’t like to sound as if he is bragging, but he also doesn’t shy away from pointing out that he has spent about 10 years around City Hall, serving on the Economic Vitality and Planning commissions. Read more

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Council sets aside nearly $1 million for affordable housing

September 30, 2015

NEW — 5:17 p.m. Sept. 30, 2015

While council members have admitted the money won’t do much by itself, on Sept. 21, the City Council approved setting aside $965,000 for affordable housing projects in Issaquah.

Actually, the council returned the money to the cause of affordable housing after an effort to create a human services campus in the city ended in August. That effort started in 2006; the council approved moving $1 million in affordable housing funds to support the campus effort in 2008.

Saying they simply had exhausted every feasible possibility, officials of the Redmond-based Together Center called a halt to the effort to build a combined social services center in Issaquah. Center officials said they simply could not find affordable property and called a halt to the search. At the Sept. 21 meeting, various council members expressed disappointment the plan did not come to fruition. Councilman Joshua Schaer expressed a hope the money set aside for the center eventually would be put to some other significant use. Minus $35,000 spent on a city-approved feasibility study, the money earmarked for the Together Center became available again. Read more

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Issaquah City Council sharply cuts duties of cable TV commission

September 25, 2015

NEW — 5:21 p.m. Sept. 25, 2015

Following the advice of Issaquah Cable TV Commission members, the Issaquah City Council voted 6-1 on Sept. 21 to disband the commission.

Going forward, the group will convene only on an as-needed basis.

In a two-page report to the council and city administration, the cable commission said increased competition for local cable companies along with various technological advances made the group superfluous.

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Issaquah City Council committee rejects lower speed limits on four streets

September 22, 2015

NEW — 5:14 p.m. Sept. 22, 2015

Hoping to gain more information, the Issaquah City Council’s Infrastructure Committee put the brakes on lowering speed limits on four streets despite a recommendation by the city administration.

On Sept. 8, the full council voted to reduce the speed limit on Newport Way Northwest to 30 mph from 40 mph. At the same time, it agreed to an administration proposal to study speed limits on portions of three additional streets. At a recent committee meeting, the administration added one more, the loop consisting of Northwest Stoney Creek Drive and Northwest Harmony Way.

The speed limit proposals follow the death of 4-year-old Haochen Xu, who was struck by a car while attempting to cross the intersection of Newport Way Northwest and Northwest Oakcrest Drive with his mother June 26. He died the next day.

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Public is invited to three candidate forums

September 22, 2015

NEW — 5:08 p.m. Sept. 22, 2015

Residents will have up to three chances to hear from the five people running for the Issaquah City Council in November.

There are two contested council seats up for grabs in the Nov. 3 election. The council will have at least two new faces in 2016 as incumbent council members Joshua Schaer, Council Position 4, and Nina Milligan, Council Position 2, have chosen not to run for re-election. The Position 6 seat currently held by Council President Paul Winterstein also expires this year.

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Council lowers speed limit on Newport Way Northwest to 30 mph

September 9, 2015

NEW — 12:18 p.m. Sept. 9, 2015

Following the recommendation of the city administration, the Issaquah City Council voted Sept. 8 to reduce the speed limit on Newport Way Northwest to 30 mph from 40 mph between state Route 900 and the Lakemont interchange.

The new speed limit takes effect Sept. 22, council clerk Tina Eggers said.

Prior to the 6-1 council vote, residents mostly praised the council and the city administration for considering lowering the limit. But some of that praise was tempered.

Resident Joe Verner said it took the death of a child who was crossing the street with his mother to get the city’s attention.

“Let that sink in for a minute,” Verner added.

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HOAs back petition to delay development on Newport Way Northwest

September 3, 2015

NEW — 11 a.m. Sept. 3, 2015

As of mid-last week, 73 people had signed an electronic petition asking Issaquah to postpone any further development on Newport Way Northwest until completion of a traffic corridor study on the street as well as the implementation of any recommendations resulting from that study.

“There are five projects in the works for Newport Way west of state Route 900,” said Joe Verner, secretary of the Summerhill Subdivision Homeowners Association board.

Summerhill is one of the homeowners associations sponsoring the petition.

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Officials look to increase meager percentages of local affordable housing

August 2, 2015

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 2, 2015

Like the rest of the Eastside of the Seattle area, Issaquah ranks low in the proportion of housing available to people with lower income levels.

That was one of the messages delivered to the Issaquah City Council at a work session held July 13.

The Eastside has a low proportion — about 7 percent — of overall housing affordable by low- and very low-income households, according to information presented by Arthur Sullivan, program manager for A Regional Coalition for Housing, an areawide affordable housing organization.

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Editorial — The Issaquah Press primary endorsements

July 23, 2015

Local voters already should have received mail-in ballots for the upcoming primary election for the Issaquah City Council. Voters have two primary races to decide, with the top two vote getters in each race continuing to the general election in November.

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