2011 city budget brings end to free bus rides

December 7, 2010

City highlights transportation upgrades in spending plan

The free ride could end for Route 200 bus riders next year.

City Council members plan to recommend for regular King County Metro Transit fares to be collected on the route.

Every dollar of property tax money is used by numerous local, regional and state agencies to fund services. Issaquah uses the dollars to fund police and fire services, parks and recreation, roads and municipal government. By Dona Mokin

Leaders intend for Route 200 fares to be used to help expand transit routes throughout the city and perhaps to Squak Mountain.

The recommendation and more than a dozen others outline a series of goals and initiatives in the 2011 municipal budget. Transportation — including the Metro Transit proposal and dollars for road upgrades — forms the basis of the plan.

The council is scheduled to adopt the spending plan Dec. 20.

The recession forced city leaders to slash spending and lay off employees late last year. The budget for the year ahead is not as austere as the most recent spending plan.

“The buzzword now is talking about resetting budgets, and I would say that this is a reset budget,” Mayor Ava Frisinger said. “It continues the resetting that was started in 2010.”

The council called for funds to be transferred from long-term road projects to pay for $530,000 in short-term street upgrades — dollars to fill potholes and apply fresh asphalt on trouble spots.

The fund for such street projects had been diminished to about $150,000 as leaders assembled the 2011 budget.

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Salmon Days kicks off with volunteer party

September 7, 2010

When an invading army descends upon a region to conquer, it takes a battalion of support personnel to keep the invaders well-fed and supplied.

In this case, the Salmon Days Festivals Office is seeking a battalion-sized corps of volunteers to manage the needs and demands of more than 200,000 visitors to Issaquah’s annual ode to the salmon in October.

To properly welcome and arm volunteers, the festivals office invites everyone in the community to its Ohfishal Volunteer Sign Up Party from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Sept. 14 in the Pickering Barn, 1730 10th Ave. N.W.

Pauline Middlehurst, spawnsorship and promotions manager, said between 350 and 400 volunteers are needed to keep the festival running smoothly Oct. 2 and 3. She said there is no age requirement.

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King County honors Issaquah’s top recyclers

June 29, 2010

Efforts to recycle batteries, toner cartridges, cooking oil and construction materials earned Issaquah agencies and businesses kudos from the King County Solid Waste Division.

The county has recognized the Issaquah municipal government, the Issaquah School District and three Issaquah businesses — Pogacha, Rowley Properties and Timber Ridge at Talus — as Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction.

The city earned plaudits for providing compostable service ware, as well as food-waste and compost collection containers, at every employee event and meeting. Staffers also cut unnecessary printing and recycle toner cartridges.

The school food-service program replaced polystyrene food trays with compostable trays. In 14 schools, Green Teams coordinate food-scrap recycling. The district plans to expand the program to every school in the near future.

Pogacha started recycling cooking oil long before the practice became commonplace. The restaurant started composting food waste last year.

Rowley Properties recycles copper, steel, brass, gypsum wallboard and lumber from every construction project, in addition to cardboard, paper, plastic and aluminum.

Timber Ridge at Talus, a retirement community housed in a LEED-certified building, promotes recycling among employees and residents.

Including the Issaquah honorees, King County recognized 75 organizations for eco efforts.

King County honors Issaquah’s top recyclers

June 24, 2010

NEW — 6 a.m. June 24, 2010

Efforts to recycle batteries, toner cartridges, cooking oil and construction materials earned Issaquah agencies and businesses kudos from the King County Solid Waste Division.

The county has recognized the Issaquah municipal government, the Issaquah School District and three Issaquah businesses — Pogacha, Rowley Properties and Timber Ridge at Talus — as Best Workplaces for Recycling and Waste Reduction.

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City makes Route 200 bus service a priority

June 1, 2010

Expanded bus service to the Issaquah Highlands and Talus will be a priority when the City Council finalizes the budget for next year.

City leaders last week reaffirmed a plan to expand King County Metro Transit Route 200 to the urban villages.

The city, highlands developer Port Blakely Communities, the Talus Residential Association and the Timber Ridge at Talus retirement community joined to fund the Route 200 service. But budget cuts last year prompted the city to delay the planned expansion until 2011 in order to save money in the short term.

The agreement calls for the city to contribute about $235,000 per year for Route 200 service.

The earlier plan called for the line to expand to the highlands and Talus in September 2010. The council approved the expansion in December 2008.

Until then, buses circulate along Route 200 through downtown Issaquah and on to North Issaquah, where buses stop at the Pickering Place and East Lake Center retail complexes.

Council Transportation Committee members endorsed a measure May 27 to treat the expansion as a high budget priority for 2011. City department chiefs will begin drafting the budget soon, and Mayor Ava Frisinger will present the proposal to the council by mid-October. Then, the council launches into weeks of deliberations to tailor the final budget before approval in late December.

Transportation Committee members also requested for Metro to incorporate the Swedish Medical Center campus under construction in the highlands into Route 200.

The city, Port Blakely and Timber Ridge requested the expansion be delayed until 2011, but Talus residents called for the expansion to proceed.

“As there is a current transportation need within the Talus community that will continue to grow, the association desires service to commence as soon as possible,” Terrie Stedman, Talus Residential Association president, wrote in a May 4 letter to Metro.

Metro Route 200 expands

December 8, 2008

King County Transportation Department

Metro Route 200 expands

The popular Metro Route 200 bus will provide expanded service to Talus and the Highlands in 2010, thanks to a financial partnership approved by the City Council Dec. 1. Other partners in the agreement are King County Metro, Port Blakely, Timber Ridge and the Talus Residential Association. Issaquah’s share is 16.9 percent of the annual cost of service, which comes to $234,548 each year to be paid by the city.

City named top retirement spot

September 23, 2008

U.S. News & World Report ranks other cities

Issaquah has landed in the national spotlight with a US News and World Report article naming the city as one of the top retirement destinations in the country.

The article, written by Hillary Quinn, is in the Sept. 18 issue of the magazine.

Issaquah was depicted as a “gem of a city,” and the Issaquah Highlands as an ideal urban village. Quinn was clearly smitten by the natural beauty.

“Just as compelling as the network of meandering paths and child-safe streets of the Highlands is the beauty of surrounding Tiger, Cougar, and Squak mountains, in which Issaquah is nestled,” she wrote. “The elaborate trail system connects to this trio, enabling active residents to walk out their front door and find themselves in a permanently preserved forest in a matter of minutes.”

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