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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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 Police work to make underground gun range lead-free

September 16, 2015

NEW — 5:30 p.m. Sept. 16, 2015

In 2007, Amy Crawford, a Kirkland corrections officer, was among officers using Issaquah’s indoor police shooting range to train with her weapon and ultimately pass a qualifying test.

By the end of the session, Crawford reported she felt sick, but had no idea why. In the end, three Kirkland officers — including Crawford — and two instructors, all of who had used the Issaquah gun range, were tested for lead poisoning. The results showed lead levels in the blood of the officers and instructors was up to 20 times the average adult level. The likely culprit was use of lead-based ammunition in an enclosed space.

Since, police officials have taken steps to reduce lead levels at the firing range, but possibly not enough. The state department of Labor and Industry hit the city with nine citations related to lead last year. The city eventually paid fines totaling $2,700. Read more

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Task force tries to answer, ‘What is downtown vitality?’

August 22, 2015

NEW — 6 a.m. Aug. 22, 2015

For months now, they have been billed as the Olde Town Vitality Task Force, a coalition consisting of business owners, residents, community leaders and others involved with downtown Issaquah in one way or another.

They have toured the downtown, talked with business owners and met with city officials. But they still have one major question that needs to be answered.

“What does ‘vitality’ mean for downtown?” Andrea Snyder, the city’s economic development manager, asked.

Snyder has been acting as city liaison with the task force, named by Mayor Fred Butler.

Cori Walters, a task force member, spends most of her time as executive director of the Issaquah Food & Clothing Bank. She said the task force has been looking at a little bit of everything: streetscape, color palettes, permitting, city code, signage and parking.  Read more

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Downtown Issaquah group to receive hefty funding increase

August 8, 2015

UPDATED — 1:05 p.m. Aug. 11, 2015

The Issaquah City Council’s unanimous decision Aug. 3 to take part in a so-called Main Street Tax Credit program should translate to $90,000 in extra funding for the Downtown Issaquah Association.

In total, DIA funding should jump to a total of about $230,000 from it present level of about $120,000, said Karen Donovan, DIA executive director.

“Of course, we’re very excited about it,” she said.

The first step will be hiring a full-time staff member. Having a full-time person is a requirement of the tax credit program, Donovan said. Read more

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Issaquah City Council approves $250,000 for possible relocation of historic home

May 20, 2015

In an effort to move ahead with the planned revamping of the city’s Confluence Park, the Issaquah City Council recently approved $250,000 that could be used for restoration and relocation of the historic Anderson farmhouse at the south end of the park.

By Greg Farrar The Tolle Anderson farmhouse stands at Issaquah’s Confluence Park on Rainier Avenue North, waiting for its restoration.

By Greg Farrar
The Tolle Anderson farmhouse stands at Issaquah’s Confluence Park on Rainier Avenue North, waiting for its restoration.

The Confluence Park master site plan identified the house as needing to be removed or relocated as part of the park development.

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Council asked to fund larger skate park

April 21, 2015

Backers of a larger footprint for a new Issaquah skate park moved one step closer to their goal April 14.

Following a presentation by Seattle park designer Grindline Skateparks Inc., the Issaquah City Council’s Services and Safety Committee unanimously sent to the rest of council a recommendation that the city try for a King County recreation grant to gain another $75,000 toward the $486,075 estimate for the larger park.

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Issaquah City Council moves ahead with expanded skate park design

April 21, 2015

NEW — 12:13 p.m. April 21, 2015

While the last word still has yet to be decided, the Issaquah City Council on April 20 agreed unanimously to pursue funding for a 10,000-square-foot skateboard park with a price tag of approximately $486,075.

Council authorized city staff members to pursue a $75,000 King County grant to help pay for the park. At the suggestion of Councilman Tola Marts, the city also will seek other means to close the funding gap for the skate park.

With available dollars currently sitting at $350,000, if the city earns the county money and gains the necessary matching funds, Issaquah still would be about $52,000 short. Council President Paul Winterstein said the public might be asked to close the gap.

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March 25, 2015

In the article “Officials sound off on space crunch” in the March 18 edition of The Issaquah Press, Issaquah City Administrator Bob Harrison was incorrectly identified.

In the article “Resource officer change creates friction at Issaquah High Schools,” in the March 11 edition, Issaquah City Councilman Tola Marts was incorrectly identified.

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