City Council decides against property tax increase for 2012

November 15, 2011

The still-struggling economy prompted the City Council to decline to increase the property tax rate for 2012.

In a Nov. 7 decision, council members decided against a possible increase and directed city staffers to prepare legislation to set the rate for next year. The council last increased the property tax rate in 2007 amid a stronger economy.

The unanimous decision is meant to hold the property tax rate at the 2008 level — $1.38 per $1,000 in assessed value. The council is poised to set the property tax rate at a Nov. 21 meeting.

The council adhered to a recommendation from Mayor Ava Frisinger not to increase the property tax rate for 2012.

“The fact that the council has not raised property tax for what — if this motion passes — for five years is a reflection of the fact that we understand that a lot of our citizens are having a lot of difficult times during the economic downturn,” Councilman Fred Butler said before the decision.

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City could choose CleanScapes for garbage contract, dump Waste Management

October 18, 2011

Officials seek hauler to serve most Issaquah neighborhoods

CleanScapes nudged out larger competitors and emerged as the No. 1 contender to haul Issaquah garbage due, in part, to offering curbside pickup for difficult-to-recycle items, such as batteries and light bulbs.

The city is seeking a garbage hauler to serve most Issaquah neighborhoods. Waste Management is the predominant hauler in the city, but the current contract between Issaquah and the Houston-based company expires in June.

Seattle-based CleanScapes came out as the top candidate after city officials evaluated offers from both companies and another collector, Allied Waste — a local name for national company Republic Services.

City officials said a $3.8-million-per-year CleanScapes contract could mean lower rates for Issaquah customers, plus increased customer service and recycling options. The contract requires City Council approval.

If the CleanScapes contract is approved, a residential customer putting a 32-gallon cart out for weekly curbside pickup could see rates decrease from $13.43 to $12.74 — a 5.1 percent drop.

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Issaquah could dump Waste Management for CleanScapes, despite questions

October 12, 2011

NEW — 6 a.m. Oct. 12, 2011

The discussion about the next contract to collect Issaquah garbage turned messy Tuesday, as a rival company interested in the deal criticized the process and urged elected officials to scrutinize the top contender.

The city is seeking a garbage hauler to serve most Issaquah neighborhoods. Waste Management is the predominant hauler in the city, but the current contract between Issaquah and the Houston-based company expires in June.

Seattle-based CleanScapes emerged as the No. 1 contender after city officials evaluated offers from both companies and another collector, Allied Waste — a local name for national company Republic Services.

City officials said a $3.8-million-per-year CleanScapes contract could mean lower rates for Issaquah customers, plus increased customer service and recycling options. City Council members should decide on the contract before the end of the month.

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City upholds moratorium on medical marijuana gardens

July 26, 2011

Leaders intend to ‘give the city time’ to establish rules

In the emotion-laced discussion about medical marijuana rules in Issaquah, stage IV melanoma survivor Kathy Sparks added a patient’s perspective to the debate.

Before the City Council decided July 18 to uphold a moratorium on medical marijuana collective gardens, Sparks, a Tiger Mountain resident, asked members to consider patients unable to attend the hearing.

“There are lots of patients in stretchers and wheelchairs who can’t be here tonight to say these things,” she said.

Councilmen Mark Mullet (left), Tola Marts and Joshua Schaer listen as medical marijuana advocates address the City Council on July 18 about Issaquah's moratorium on collective gardens. By Greg Farrar

The council opted in a 6-1 decision — after poignant pleas from medical marijuana users and strikingly personal stories from council members — to maintain a moratorium enacted last month. Councilman Mark Mullet voted against the moratorium.

Under state law, a city can impose a moratorium on medical marijuana collective gardens as leaders consider possible land-use or zoning changes. The moratorium is in effect for up to six months, although council members urged city staffers to formulate possible solutions as soon as possible.

Recent changes in state law prompted the decision. So, too, did the opening late last year of a medical marijuana collective in a downtown Issaquah neighborhood.

Though medical marijuana dispensaries remain illegal under state law, hazy rules surround patient collectives.

Washington law allows up to 10 qualifying patients to join together and form a collective garden of up to 45 plants, so long as the marijuana is not visible from public spaces.

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Issaquah moratorium on medical marijuana gardens remains in effect

July 19, 2011

Councilmen Mark Mullet (left), Tola Marts and Joshua Schaer listen as medical marijuana advocates address the City Council on Monday about Issaquah's moratorium on collective gardens. By Greg Farrar

Leaders continue moratorium to ‘give the city time’ to establish rules

NEW — 10 a.m. July 19, 2011

In the discussion about medical marijuana rules in Issaquah, Stage IV melanoma survivor Kathy Sparks added a patient’s perspective to the debate.

Before the City Council decided Monday night to continue a moratorium on medical marijuana collective gardens, Sparks, a Tiger Mountain resident, asked members to consider patients unable to attend the hearing.

“There are lots of patients in stretchers and wheelchairs who can’t be here tonight to say these things,” she said.

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Few candidates face challengers in local races

June 14, 2011

Issaquah residents face a choice in a single City Council race, and a trio of council members appears likely to cruise to election unchallenged.

Challenger TJ Filley entered the race against incumbent Councilman Joshua Schaer on June 10, as the candidate-filing period closed.

Incumbent Councilman Fred Butler, appointed Councilwoman Stacy Goodman and candidate Paul Winterstein did not attract opponents for the other council seats up for election in November.

In the races for the Issaquah School Board, incumbents Brian Deagle and Suzanne Weaver face challengers in the nonpartisan races.

Deagle, a Sammamish resident, has served on the board since October 2006. Challenger Patrick Sansing, a Sammamish resident, is running against Deagle for the Director District No. 3 seat.

Weaver faces Maple Valley resident Joseph Arnaud and Issaquah resident Brian Neville to retain the Director District No. 5 seat. Weaver, a Sammamish resident, has served on the board since January 2007.

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Press Editorial

June 14, 2011

Lack of challengers means lackluster vote

To our complete surprise, it looks like this year’s Issaquah City Council races will be about as lackluster as they come.

We are not surprised that incumbent Fred Butler has no challenger, given his long history of service to the city, the county and numerous community causes. He was a shoo-in.

Only incumbent Joshua Schaer will have an opponent. Late Friday, TJ Filley filed against him. Only these two candidates will give us any real conversation about the way the city deals with growth and development issues, spends taxpayer dollars and provides basic public services.

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Councilman, school board members face challengers

June 10, 2011

NEW — 6 p.m. June 10, 2011

Issaquah residents face a choice in a single City Council race, and a trio of council members appears likely to cruise to election unchallenged.

Challenger TJ Filley entered the race against incumbent Councilman Joshua Schaer on Friday, as the candidate filing period closed.

Incumbent Councilman Fred Butler, appointed Councilwoman Stacy Goodman and candidate Paul Winterstein did not attract opponents for the other council seats up for election in November.

In the races for the Issaquah School Board, incumbents Brian Deagle and Suzanne Weaver face challengers in the nonpartisan races.

Deagle, a Sammamish resident, has served on the board since October 2006. Challenger Patrick Sansing, a Sammamish resident, is running against Deagle for the Director District No. 3 seat.

Weaver faces Maple Valley resident Joseph Arnaud and Issaquah resident Brian Neville to retain the Director District No. 5 seat. Weaver, a Sammamish resident, has served on the board since January 2007.

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City Council, school board meet to discuss shared safety issues

May 31, 2011

School-zone construction, illegal skate-park activities are top concerns

With communication in mind, the Issaquah City Council and Issaquah School Board met May 26 to talk about issues that concern them both, including road construction near schools, illegal activities at the Issaquah skate park and whether the school board could televise its public meetings.

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File to run for election in local races by June 10

May 31, 2011

The deadline is approaching for people to run for City Council, Issaquah School Board and King County offices.

Candidates can file in person at King County Elections headquarters from 8:30 a.m. June 6 until 4:30 p.m. June 10. If a candidate opts to file by mail, the elections office must receive his or her material by the June 10 deadline. Candidates can also file online at the elections office’s website until 4 p.m. June 10.

Candidates must pay a filing fee at the time of entering the race. Most races require a filing fee equal to 1 percent of the annual salary of the office. The filing fee is nonrefundable.

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