Survey seeks opinions about city issues

December 16, 2014

The city of Issaquah administration wants to know how you feel about the city you call home.

Beginning early this month and continuing until Jan. 10, the National Research Center, a private Colorado firm contracted to determine local opinions about Issaquah in general, has been contacting residents with a variety of questions.

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Editorial — Traffic plan is needed, but will it bring results?

December 16, 2014

City officials have recommended a plan to do something about traffic in Issaquah, one that could accommodate up to an additional 8,000 car trips on local streets per day.

That’s the good news.

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Traffic plan may cost $300 million

December 9, 2014

Package would include 500 percent increase in impact fees

Looking to accommodate expected residential and retail growth without creating gridlock on city streets, Issaquah’s administration has come up with a $300 million transportation plan that could accommodate up to an additional 8,000 car trips on local streets per day.

But to help pay for all the needed road improvements, administration officials have proposed a 500 percent hike in the traffic impact fees developers pay.

For a single-family unit, developers currently pay $1,700, said David Hoffman, North King County manager for the Master Builders Association. If the proposed increases were adopted, that figure jumps to $8,600.

The impact fees would not cover the entire cost of the plan, which includes $250 million for roadwork and an additional $50 million for bike paths and pedestrian accommodations, city consultant Randy Young said in an interview.

Young said the city would need to fund the remainder at a cost of approximately $165 million for roadwork and roughly $26 million for bike and pedestrian pathways.

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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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Food program rule change raises concerns

November 18, 2014

A flurry of emails, a number of meetings, accusations of drug use and some hard feelings have arisen in the wake of a move to keep people from eating free meals outside the Issaquah Community Hall.

Some say the move is an obvious attempt to keep the city’s homeless and underprivileged out of sight.

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Swedish Issaquah is chosen to treat Ebola

November 18, 2014

Swedish Medical Center’s Issaquah Campus is now one of eight hospitals throughout the state designated to receive and treat potential cases of Ebola.

Hospitals in the state are undergoing preparations for possibly dealing with Ebola cases, according to a Nov. 17 press release from the Washington State Department of Health.

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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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Swedish Issaquah is chosen to treat people with Ebola

November 14, 2014

NEW — 4:08 p.m. Nov. 14, 2014

Swedish Medical Center’s Issaquah Campus is now one of eight hospitals in the state designated to receive and treat potential cases of Ebola.

Issaquah Mayor Fred Butler confirmed Swedish officials contacted him regarding the designation about a week ago.

“I talked to the Swedish CEO… He gave me a heads up,” said Butler, who added that rather than being worried about Ebola arriving in Issaquah, said he was glad a local hospital would be in a good position to deal with any outbreak of the headline-grabbing disease.

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Business community raises concerns about new B&O tax

October 21, 2014

As the city of Issaquah considers raising its business and occupation tax for the first time since 2004, local business owners gathered to offer their concerns about the proposal at an Oct. 15 roundtable at Tibbetts Creek Manor.

The Issaquah Chamber of Commerce-hosted event showed business leaders have plenty of questions about the tax increase, including where the extra revenue will be spent.

“I don’t want to pay for fluff,” said Norma Stephens, Curves of Issaquah owner.

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Mayor’s budget proposes increase in B&O taxes

October 14, 2014

Issaquah businesses could be paying more taxes in 2015 as Issaquah Mayor Fred Butler unveiled his proposed budget, calling for an increase to the city’s business and occupation tax rate, at the Oct. 6 Issaquah City Council meeting.

The proposal would increase B&O taxes for manufacturing, wholesale and retail companies from 0.0008 to 0.0015 effective April 1, 2015, and 0.002 effective Jan. 1, 2017.

B&O taxes for printing/publishing, retail services and services/other would go from 0.001 to 0.0012 effective April 1, 2015.

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