Marijuana moratorium receives four-month extension

February 20, 2014

NEW – 6 a.m. Feb. 20, 2014

Recreational marijuana businesses will have to wait until at least July to legally operate in Issaquah.

During its Feb. 18 regular meeting, the City Council voted unanimously to extend the current six-month moratorium on recreational marijuana businesses by four months. Instead of expiring March 3, the prohibition will last until July 7.

“The original agenda bill had the extension for two months and after meeting with city staff, we asked for it be extended to four,” said Councilman Tola Marts, also the chairman of the Land and Shore Committee, which recommended the extension to the full council. “Some municipalities are looking to extend the clock as much as they can. I don’t think that’s the purpose here.”

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New mayor, council members sworn into office

January 16, 2014

NEW — 6 a.m. Jan. 16, 2014

Issaquah Municipal Court Judge Scott Stewart swore in Issaquah’s new mayor and four new City Council members Jan. 6.

During the first regular City Council meeting of 2014, Stewart offered congratulations to the line of those he led into office.

Mayor Fred Butler and councilmembers Eileen Barber, Stacy Goodman, Tola Marts and Mary Lou Pauly all took the oath of office.

By Greg Farrar Fred Butler (left) thanks Issaquah Municipal Court Judge N. Scott Stewart with a handshake after being ceremonially sworn in at the Jan. 6 City Council meeting as the new mayor.

By Greg Farrar
Fred Butler (left) thanks Issaquah Municipal Court Judge N. Scott Stewart with a handshake after being sworn in at the Jan. 6 City Council meeting as the new mayor.

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Eastside Fire & Rescue board members agree to budget, governance changes

December 31, 2013

The Eastside Fire & Rescue board of directors did everything except sing “Auld Lang Syne” at its Dec. 12 meeting.

The board unanimously voted to accept proposed funding model changes. That was followed with a unanimous vote to approve a revised EFR governing agreement. They even took a short break during the meeting to celebrate with glasses of sparkling cider and holiday cookies.

After months of disagreements over funding issues, members of the group joked and teased one another.

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Committee questions Polygon development cooperation

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.

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Joe Forkner finishes time on City Council

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.

Joe Forkner

Joe Forkner

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City Council cuts $300,000 in projects from mayor’s budget

November 19, 2013

Highlighted pieces of the mayor’s proposed budget faced a City Council chopping block before they reached a final public hearing.

A plan to remodel the Tibbett’s Creek Manor kitchen, funding for a city business marketing plan and a feasibility study for a city campus were all voted down in the Nov. 7 council work session.

After extended conversations, in which the phrase “financial sustainability” was repeatedly used, the council asked the city’s Finance Department to lop $300,000 off the draft budget. Finance Director Diane Marcotte said the council created the figure with the end of 2014 in mind.

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City Council questions budget balancing

October 22, 2013

The Issaquah City Council dove into the mayor’s proposed budget Oct. 14 and brought large questions about the use of ending fund balances.

While the majority of remarks made in the first televised meeting of budget season from the council concerned relatively small matters, members called into question the matter of pulling money out of the ending fund balance in order to correct over-spending or lack of revenue in individual departments.

According to the mayor’s budget, fiscal year 2012 had a beginning fund balance of $8.77 million in the general fund. In 2013, there was a beginning fund balance of $8.15 million. Next year has a budget of $7.97 million in its beginning fund balance and an expected ending fund balance of $7.55 million. This is compared with general fund expenditures that have risen by almost $5 million since 2012.

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Issaquah City Council sends plastic bag ban to February vote

October 22, 2013

NEW — 2:45 p.m. Oct. 22, 2013

Voters will ultimately decide the fate of Issaquah’s plastic bag ban.

In a unanimous decision, the City Council approved a resolution to hold a special election Feb. 11 to ask voters whether a ban on plastic bags should continue.

“Over 60 percent of the citizens that contacted me were in favor of that ordinance,” Councilman Paul Winterstein said, defending his vote in favor of the original ban. “And I followed that duly and I take that very seriously. But we’re also a city of laws. I’m in favor of putting it in front of a vote, and I can accept whatever outcome that comes.”

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Park bond awaits public decision

October 15, 2013

A $10 million bond to fund parks and recreation improvements is before city voters in the November election.

The proposed bond follows an intensive citizen process, which brought together a public commission to lead a public hearing and then offer recommendations to the Parks Board, which in turn led to City Council approval in July.

As it comes to voters when the ballots are mailed Oct. 16, the proposition clearly outlines how the money will be used.

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