Proposed fire authority receives cool reception from cities

March 15, 2011

Issaquah, Sammamish leaders also raise concerns about pools at joint meeting

The potential regional fire authority for Eastside communities received a lukewarm reception from Issaquah and Sammamish leaders March 10, as city councils from both cities discussed planning for emergency services and other issues at a joint meeting.

Officials from Issaquah and rural fire districts formed a planning group in late 2009 to consider a regional fire authority in the Eastside Fire & Rescue service area. The authority could tax residents to fund emergency services, unlike EFR. Contributions from member cities and fire districts fund EFR.

“It’s really hard to see a scenario where you can provide fire service to the citizens of Issaquah with an RFA,” Issaquah Councilman Mark Mullet said as leaders from both cities met at Tibbetts Creek Manor.

Participation in the planning process does not commit Issaquah or the fire districts to joining a regional fire authority.

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Sammamish grants dollars to Issaquah nonprofits

November 2, 2010

Sammamish City Council members cited the impact of the economic downturn and increased the amount the city grants to local nonprofits Oct. 26.

The money allotted by the council — $192,000 — includes grants to some Issaquah-based organizations. The allocation is a sharp increase from 2010. The city doled out $147,000 for 2010.

“I’d like to see some increase in funding for one time only because of these especially hard times,” Deputy Mayor Nancy Whitten said. “A lot of people who would normally give have given less because they can’t afford it or not given at all.”

The recipients include Athletes For Kids, AtWork!, Eastside Baby Corner, the Eastside Domestic Violence Program, Faith In Action, Friends of the Issaquah Salmon Hatchery, Issaquah Church and Community Services, the Issaquah Schools Foundation, Life Enrichment Options and the Providence Marianwood Foundation.

Sammamish rebuffs Skyline field plan

June 22, 2010

Jacob Kuper threatened the Issaquah School District might take its ball and go home if it didn’t get the changes it wants to an agreement governing the use of the fields at Skyline High School.

“We could rescind our interlocal agreement and there would be no community hours — not that we want to do that, but legally it is an option,” said Kuper, chief financial officer for the district.

Kuper was quickly shut down by Sammamish City Manager Ben Yazici, who told him he wasn’t going to discuss the threat and he doubted it actually was a legal option.

Kuper later apologized for being “brusque,” as the council also cooled down during a sometimes-heated June 15 meeting.

The community fields at Skyline are used by about a half-dozen school sports teams in the fall and spring seasons. The district owns the land.

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Press Editorial

June 22, 2010

Sometimes, the Issaquah School District needs to put its integrity ahead of student interest. Last week, its integrity slipped when district officials tried to change a long-standing contract with the city of Sammamish.

The city upgraded the fields at Skyline High School with lights and turf in exchange for community use between 6 and 9 p.m. The city has assured nearby neighbors that the field lights would be off by 9 p.m.

Circumstances are changing for the school as it adds a freshman class, and more playing time on the fields is needed for freshman teams. It was suggested the city move its community play time an hour later and just keep the field lights burning until 10 p.m.

The school district’s not-so-veiled threat to Sammamish – give us more time or we won’t let you use the fields at all – was both wrong and a poor bluff. We are troubled by the district’s lack of concern for the community at large and the adjacent property owners, who would have to put up with lights and noise until 10 p.m.

As Sammamish Councilwoman Nancy Whitten pointed out, the school district was asking for all of the sacrifices to be on the city’s end of the deal. This is no way to maintain a relationship with the city, or with the neighbors.

Both sides are fighting for the good of overlapping constituencies of taxpayers.

The city of Sammamish took the high road – agreeing to give Skyline an extra half-hour of field time while trying to work out a more permanent solution. School officials should take a lesson.

Sammamish decides against taking over Klahanie Park

April 13, 2010

Sammamish will not become the temporary owner of Klahanie Park, the Sammamish City Council decided last week.

With a 7-0 vote, the council decided against becoming the temporary owner of the park April 6. The city will still work to keep the park open.

King County had offered up the park on a three-year basis and on the condition that if Issaquah annexed the Klahanie development in the future, the park would transfer to Issaquah.

For Sammamish to take it over on a permanent basis, the Sammamish City Council would have to sign off on the transfer, the city of Issaquah would need to remove the park from its potential annexation area and the King County Council would have to give its blessing, too.

None of that may matter now, though. The prospect of paying to maintain the park without having permanent ownership wasn’t all that appetizing to Sammamish’s council.

“Why are we cutting their grass for free? That’s how I see it,” Councilman John Curley said.

Concerned Citizens of Klahanie, a citizen group that opposes Sammamish’s proposed takeover of the park, also turned some council members’ heads.

“We’ve gotten a lot of e-mails from people in Klahanie. They really don’t want Sammamish in their park. I think we really should respect their wishes,” Councilwoman Nancy Whitten said.

Councilwoman Michele Petitti went so far as to say that she was offended by the negative publicity attached to the proposed takeover. Read more

County outlines solution for Klahanie Park

March 16, 2010

Under a new proposal offered by King County, Issaquah could still receive Klahanie Park if the city someday annexed the surrounding neighborhood — even if Sammamish acquired the facility in the meantime.

King County Parks Director Kevin Brown offered a proposal to transfer ownership of the park to whichever city annexes Klahanie. Sammamish has proposed a takeover of Klahanie Park in unincorporated King County, but the offer has riled neighborhood residents.

If Issaquah ever annexes Klahanie — and if neighborhood residents vote for the proposal — Issaquah receives the park alongside the neighborhood.

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Firefighters might get buyout option

November 17, 2009

Eastside Fire & Rescue might try to entice highly paid, longtime employees to take a buyout option if layoffs become a real possibility for the 2010 budget. Read more