January 15, 2013
Issaquah could contribute more to Eastside Fire & Rescue if the regional agency changes to a funding model based on the amount of calls each member produces.
Meanwhile, Sammamish could trim fire service costs by $156,000 and $314,000 per year if EFR partners — Issaquah, North Bend, Sammamish, and fire districts 10 and 38 — agree on changing the funding model.
For Issaquah and North Bend, the change could substantially increase the amount the partners pay to EFR in the name of maintaining the agency’s current incarnation beyond 2014.
A committee of elected officials and staff members from each partner met last month to discuss the implications of using call load as a factor in determining how much to charge.
August 21, 2012
Issaquah could pay a larger share to keep Eastside Fire & Rescue stable, after officials in neighboring Sammamish asked for other partners to contribute more to correct perceived inequity in funding Sammamish Plateau fire stations.
The stations in question receive large portions of funding from Sammamish, but most incidents handled by crews at the stations occur in Issaquah.
Sammamish City Manager Ben Yazici met with representatives from Issaquah and Fire District 10 in recent weeks to discuss potential solutions to the funding issue.
(Fire District 10 is the EFR partner serving residents in Klahanie, May Valley, Mirrormont, Preston and Tiger Mountain in the Issaquah area, plus Carnation in rural King County.)
The discussion is centered on funding for Station 83, at 3425 Issaquah-Pine Lake Road S.E., and Station 81, at 2030 212th Ave. S.E.
Issaquah-headquartered EFR determines the bill for partners based on the assessed value of property in each city or district.
April 24, 2012
Issaquah School District voters overwhelmingly approved a $219 million bond to fund construction and renovation projects on campuses across the district.
In the April 17 special election, 70 percent of voters — encompassing more than 15,000 yes votes of out more than 22,000 ballots cast — approved the measure. (The measure needed to receive a 60 percent yes vote from a minimum turnout of 12,229 voters.)
Despite the passage of the bond, local homeowners will pay less in property taxes to the schools than they do now because a previous bond issue is set to expire this year.
The retirement of the earlier bond will drop the local tax rate from $4.85 per $1,000 of assessed property value to $4.05. Passage of the new bond would put the rate at $4.42.
April 17, 2012
Though the deadline for the April 17 special election is history, King County Elections officials continue to reach out to voters to resolve signature issues on ballots from the all-mail contest.
Staffers compare the signatures on returned ballot envelopes against the signature on file in voter registrations. If the elections office receives unsigned ballots, officials attempt to contact the affected voters to resolve the problem. Signature problems must be resolved before the election is certified April 27.
April 13, 2012
NEW — 8 a.m. April 13, 2012
King County Elections officials said more than 54,000 voters returned ballots for the April 17 special election by Thursday — more than the average at the same point for special elections.
The elections office mailed 236,000 ballots to voters in the districts participating in special elections. Officials expect a 34 percent return rate, or about 80,000 ballots for the half-dozen government entities participating in the special election.
In the Issaquah School District, the electorate faces a choice on a $219 million school construction bond in the election. (The school district stretches from Preston to Newcastle, and from Sammamish to Renton.)
In order to pass, the measure needs to receive a 60 percent yes vote from a minimum turnout of 12,229 voters.
April 10, 2012
Local students honored
The United Nations Commission on the Status of Women recently awarded the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Scholar Recognition Award to Issaquah students Linnane Lecoque (Liberty High School, technology), Kim Bussing (Issaquah High School, mathematics), Lauren Ryan (Issaquah, engineering), Supriya Dublish (Skyline High School, mathematics), Jessica Foo (Liberty, science), Erika Shirovna (Skyline, technology) and Maddi Hutson (Skyline, science). Also winning were Hanna Bergam (Liberty, mathematics) and Maria Dalzell-Matos (Issaquah, science).
February 28, 2012
Issaquah and Sammamish leaders agreed last week to support the $219 million bond the Issaquah School District plans to put before voters April 17.
The measure is meant to generate dollars to rebuild Clark and Sunny Hills elementary schools and Issaquah Middle School, modernize Liberty High School and relocate Tiger Mountain Community High School.
Issaquah City Council members held a public hearing about the bond Feb. 21 and then agreed to back the measure in a 5-0 decision. (Councilman Mark Mullet and Councilwoman Eileen Barber did not attend the meeting.)
Sammamish City Council members endorsed the measure Feb. 7.
“When companies are looking at relocating, they often look at the availability of excellent education,” Sammamish Mayor Tom Odell said. “We have that here, and it’s incumbent on us to keep it that way if we want to protect what we have here.”
Issaquah School District officials also plan to use bond funds to improve districtwide heating and ventilation, space and security; and improve athletic fields and stadiums. (Clark Elementary School, Issaquah Middle School and Tiger Mountain Community High School sit inside Issaquah city limits.)
July 26, 2011
King County is adopting a more laissez-faire approach to medical-marijuana operations as Issaquah, Sammamish and other cities tighten rules for patient-run collective gardens and other operations.
Issaquah City Council members upheld a six-month moratorium on medical marijuana collective gardens July 18 — the same day the council in neighboring Sammamish enacted a similar moratorium. Federal Way, Kent, North Bend and other cities also clamped down on medical-marijuana operations.
King County Executive Dow Constantine, however, does not intend to propose legislation to address the issue in rural and unincorporated areas.
“At this time, the executive does not plan to propose any new regulations governing dispensaries in unincorporated areas of the county,” said Frank Abe, a spokesman for the executive.
The decision means medical-marijuana operations in unincorporated areas, such as The Kind Alternative Medical Collective, a nonprofit collective in Preston, can continue operations unaffected.
In the meantime, county officials plan to reach out to residents in unincorporated areas to address concerns.
July 19, 2011
Veto power among ideas being considered
The Eastside Fire & Rescue board of directors decided July 14 to form a sub-committee that will probe possible changes to its governance structure — including the veto power that individual partners now hold regarding adding additional partners to the agency.
EFR is an amalgamation of King County fire districts 10 and 38 and the cities of Issaquah, Sammamish and North Bend.
The study of EFR’s structure follows the completion of a different study that examined the possibility of a regional fire authority — essentially an independent taxing district that would have moved the fire services bill from cities’ general funds to residents’ property tax bills. EFR members have been pondering the future of fire service in the area once the agreement that underpins the agency expires in 2014.
Mark Mullet, an Issaquah city councilman and one of the city’s two representatives on the board, said the study showed that Issaquah residents would have paid $1.17 per $1,000 of assessed value for fire service under a regional fire authority; they pay the equivalent of 83 cents per $1,000 through the city’s general fund now.
June 14, 2011
The day after Ron Ciraulo’s fourth-graders presented their futuristic city project to city leaders, Kameron Gurol, Sammamish’s director of community development, personally commended the teacher for the students’ high-quality work.