Parks task force recommends 2013 property tax measure

December 10, 2012

NEW — 8 a.m. Dec. 10, 2012

King County voters could decide next year on dollars to complete the East Lake Sammamish Trail, add a Cougar Mountain trailhead in Issaquah, and continue funding parks and trails countywide.

Late last month, King County Parks Levy Task Force members unanimously recommended continuing a pair of six-year levies to support county-run parks, trails and open space. Voters overwhelmingly approved the most recent pair of park levies in 2007.

The voter-approved levies fund the bulk of park operations, but the property tax measures expire in December 2013. In June, King County Executive Constantine convened the task force to explore options future funding.

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Residents can comment on 2013 city budget

November 27, 2012

The last chance for residents to comment on the 2013 city budget is soon.

City Council members plan to host a public hearing on the $89.5 million spending plan.

The proposed $35 million general fund encompasses the dollars used to fund police and fire services, community development and planning, parks and recreation, and municipal government.

The total proposed budget for next year includes dollars for capital expenses and from other accounts.

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Issaquah retailers prepare for Black Friday rush

November 20, 2012

The day after Thanksgiving, long before the sun rises, open season for bargains starts at retailers throughout Issaquah and beyond.

Black Friday sends shoppers pinging from store to store like a pinball in search of deals — a 32-inch LCD television for $147 at Target, perhaps, or a Blu-ray player for $39.99 at Best Buy. Consumers brave predawn darkness, long lines and sharp elbows to score early-bird bargains.

The boost to retailers’ bottom lines could also offer a jolt to city coffers. Popular Black Friday destinations — including Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy, Fred Meyer, Target and, of course, Issaquah-based Costco — lure consumers from throughout the region.

Issaquah is a retail hub on the Eastside, and city officials hope the holiday rush resuscitates a flat year for spending. Overall, sales tax revenue forms a key piece in the city budget — a larger share than property tax revenue and permit fees, other main sources of dollars.

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Proposition 1, fingerprint identification services levy, passes overwhelmingly

November 13, 2012

King County voters overwhelmingly approved a $118.9 million property tax levy to continue funding criminal fingerprint identification services for local law enforcement agencies, including the Issaquah Police Department.

Proposition 1 asked voters to keep the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, in operation through 2018.

The renewal levy rate is 5.92 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $20.72 per year for a $350,000 home.

Investigators use the AFIS database to match fingerprints and palmprints to criminal suspects. The system is managed by the King County Sheriff’s Office.

Issaquah officers used information from AFIS 2,100 times last year to determine if a jail inmate was evading a warrant, concealing a criminal record or using a false identity.

City Council sinks property tax increase, prepares budget

November 13, 2012

City Council members decided Nov. 5 against a property tax increase for next year, and edged the 2013 municipal budget closer to adoption.

In a unanimous decision, council members rejected a proposal to increase the property tax rate by 1 percent next year. The council is expected to finalize the decision on property tax revenue for next year at a Nov. 19 meeting.

In October, Mayor Ava Frisinger proposed to raise the property tax rate by the maximum amount allowed under state law, or 1 percent, next year. Officials said the measure could raise $69,707 for the city next year and then compound over time. The city estimated the cost to the average homeowner at $4.75 per year.

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King County voters renew levy for police fingerprint services

November 8, 2012

NEW — 5 p.m. Nov. 8, 2012

King County voters overwhelmingly approved a $118.9 million property tax levy to continue funding criminal fingerprint identification services for local law enforcement agencies, including the Issaquah Police Department.

Proposition 1 asked voters to keep the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, in operation through 2018. The system provides criminal fingerprint identification services to the King County Sheriff’s Office and other local law enforcement agencies.

The proposed renewal levy rate is 5.92 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $20.72 per year for a $350,000 home.

Issaquah officers used information from AFIS 2,100 times last year to determine if a jail inmate was evading a warrant, concealing a criminal record or using a false identity.

Investigators use the AFIS database to match fingerprints and palmprints to criminal suspects. The system is managed by the sheriff’s office.

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King County property tax deadline approaches

October 23, 2012

Oct. 31 is the deadline for King County homeowners to pay property tax bills.

Taxpayers should include the tax statement and write the property tax account number on a check or money order to pay by mail.

Homeowners can pay property taxes online or by check, cash or credit card in person at King County Treasury Operations, Room 600, 500 Fourth Ave., Seattle. The office is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. The office is scheduled to remain open until 5 p.m. Oct. 31.

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King County voters to decide dollars for crime-fighting tool in Proposition 1

October 16, 2012

King County voters could decide to approve a $118.9 million property tax levy next month to continue funding criminal fingerprint identification services for local law enforcement agencies.

The proposal on the Nov. 6 ballot, Proposition 1, aims to keep the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, in operation through 2018. The system provides criminal fingerprint identification services to law enforcement agencies throughout the county, including the Issaquah Police Department.

The proposed renewal levy rate is 5.92 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $20.72 per year for a $350,000 home.

Local leaders and law enforcement officials throughout the county, including the Issaquah City Council and Issaquah Police Chief Paul Ayers, endorsed the levy renewal.

Issaquah officers used information from AFIS 2,100 times last year to determine if a jail inmate was evading a warrant, concealing a criminal record or using a false identity.

Voters approved the initial AFIS levy in 1986, and overwhelmingly renewed the levy since then, most recently in 2006.

Issaquah mayor eyes property tax hike

October 9, 2012

Issaquah homeowners can expect to pay about $5 more in property taxes next year, if City Council members adopt a 1 percent rate hike to fund long-term projects.

The property tax increase, proposed Oct. 1 by Mayor Ava Frisinger, is not expected to generate much next year. If enacted, city officials expect to raise only $69,707 — a drop in a proposed $35 million general fund budget.

The decision to raise the property tax rate by the maximum amount allowed under state law, 1 percent, is projected to cost the average homeowner $4.75 per year.

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City Council considers support for fingerprint measure

August 28, 2012

City Council members could decide to support a King County property tax measure to generate dollars for police fingerprint services.

Before the council acts, citizens can offer input on the proposal at a public hearing. The council meets to consider the measure at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 4 in the Council Chambers at City Hall South, 135 E. Sunset Way.

The property tax levy, Proposition 1, appears on the November ballot. The measure is meant to fund the Automated Fingerprint Identification System, or AFIS, a regional police fingerprint identification service. Issaquah officers used information from AFIS 2,100 times last year.

The proposed renewal levy rate is 5.92 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation, or about $20.72 per year for a $350,000 home. The measure is expected to generate about $119 million overall through property tax revenue.

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