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 adopts Costco agreement

October 21, 2014

Move paves way for headquarters expansion

The nation’s second largest retailer is free to expand its headquarters, and it will continue to happen here in Issaquah.

The Issaquah City Council unanimously approved a 30-year development agreement with Costco Oct. 13, giving the company flexibility to add an additional 1.5 million square feet to its international headquarters housed in Pickering Place.

“It’s really a very, very big deal for Issaquah and for Costco,” Issaquah City Councilman Joshua Schaer said at the Oct. 13 meeting. “It ensures that, for years to come, when people around the country and around the world speak of Costco it will be in connection with the words ‘An Issaquah, Washington-based corporation.’”

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Zoo freezer is christened

July 8, 2014

By Misty Peterson Cougar Mountain Zoo’s new walk-in freezer for the carnivore diets was officially put in operation June 30 in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, performed by Peter Rittler, Zoological Society of Washington President, Hudson Bott and Mayor Fred Butler (from left) as zoo curator Robyn Barfoot (far left) and other city officials look on.

By Misty Peterson
Cougar Mountain Zoo’s new walk-in freezer for the carnivore diets was officially put in operation June 30 in a ribbon-cutting ceremony, performed by Peter Rittler, Zoological Society of Washington President, Hudson Bott and Mayor Fred Butler (from left) as zoo curator Robyn Barfoot (far left) and other city officials look on.

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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Council addresses top public worries

May 20, 2014

The Issaquah City Council has chosen to concentrate on transportation and Olde Town issues in the future.

Senior city administration met with the council during the 122nd-annual goal setting retreat at the Mercer Slough Environmental Center in Bellevue and spent a solid eight hours debating Issaquah’s next steps.

The council members began the day with 17 goals, submitted by council after it asked for citizen input. The day ended with five: Transportation Master Plan, Affordable Housing, Enhance Olde Town Vitality, Central Issaquah Plan Anchor Project and to promote a Safe/Drug-Free Community.

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City Council divided as marijuana moratorium deadline draws near

April 22, 2014

Marijuana was the sole agenda item at the April 14 Issaquah City Council work session as the administration gave an updated presentation to the council.

Through the state’s definition of business rules and an ultimate lack of response from this year’s legislative session, the council has maintained a reflective stance on the future of recreational marijuana.

The council established a six-month moratorium in September and extended it again in February, as it explored how the city should extend the state’s base regulations or consider banning marijuana business practices all together.

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Councils praise plan for Klahanie-area transfer

April 15, 2014

Members of the Issaquah and Sammamish city councils took turns praising a deal to transfer the Klahanie Annexation Area from Issaquah to Sammamish.

Sammamish members not only seemed to like the deal, but said they also hoped it would usher in a new spirit of cooperation with Issaquah after some tense disputes over the past few months.

The Issaquah Land & Shore Committee took up the drafted interlocal agreement in its April 8 meeting and unanimously recommended its approval by the full council.

“The general consensus is that it was great,” Land & Shore Committee Chairman Tola Marts said. “We had been hoping that this issue could occur in the context of a regional issue, and this draft agreement really does that.”

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Council to explore releasing Klahanie

April 1, 2014

The Issaquah City Council wants to take a step back from a piecemeal Klahanie-area annexation.

The council directed the administration March 10 to craft a brief view of editing Issaquah’s potential annexation area to only include the southern areas of the Klahanie region, reflecting districts that voted the highest to join Issaquah in the Feb. 11 election. During the March 25 Committee of the Whole meeting, city Long Range Planning Manager Trish Heinonen presented the findings.

“This boundary would have a lesser impact on our responsibility,” she said. “It would be just like a new subdivision.”

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State park annexation enters council consideration

March 18, 2014

The Issaquah City Council will consider adding annexation of Lake Sammamish State Park to its comprehensive plan.

In the March 11 Land and Shore Committee meeting, council members discussed the docket of items for the annual update to Issaquah’s comprehensive plan. The addition to the docket came in response to a March 4 letter from Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission Director Don Hoch asking the city to consider annexing the park.

“We’ve been working with State Parks on a request for proposals,” City Long Range Planning Manager Trish Heinonen said about the cooperation aimed at economically developing the park. “I think it allows us to partner with them more seamlessly. They felt like it would help us with our rules and regulations.”

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Committee recommends marijuana moratorium remain until July

February 18, 2014

Issaquah’s moratorium on recreational marijuana might last until July.

At its Feb. 11 meeting, the City Council’s Land and Shore Committee discussed the timeline to gauge the city’s needs in terms of tailoring recreational marijuana regulations. The committee members agreed to recommend the council extend the current moratorium, which expires next month, by four months.

The ongoing state legislative session has raised a lot of questions about the future of recreational marijuana businesses, and the council has expressed caution while definitive state regulations remain in flux.

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