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Introductory remarks by Mayor Ava Frisinger delivered as part of the presentation of the 2005 proposed budget to the City Council on 
October 4, 2004

  • Good evening to the people of Issaquah and Honorable Members of the Issaquah City Council.  I am pleased to present this Administrationís proposed fiscal year 2005 budget.

  • This budget addresses our communityís core issues consistent with local service needs and our Councilís adopted policy priorities.

  • And, it addresses these needs responsibly through steady financial stewardship and strong budget controls.

  • The last three years have been particularly challenging for Issaquah as we have felt the pressure of infrastructure needs, population growth, and a national economic downturn.

  • A few examples of our needs: In addition to aging infrastructure in need of repair and replacement, our sewer, water, streets, and storm water systems inventory has increased by 30 percent in the last two years.  Parks acreage increased by 55 percent this year and will have increased by 70 percent in 2005.  Of course, Parks expansion is an asset to Issaquah and one we will maintain for public benefit.

  • We, at the City, have worked hard over the past three years to meet the challenges of a weak economy.  With strong financial stewardship by this administration and strong budget controls, our departments continue to provide high quality services and projects to this community.

  • I will take this opportunity to introduce some of the dedicated public servants of Issaquah: Jim Blake, Finance Director; Bob Brock; Public Works Engineering Director; Steve Cozart, Deputy Chief of Police; Bret Heath, Director Public Works Operations; Mark Hinthorne, Director Planning; Leon Kos, City Administrator; Anne McGill, Parks and Recreation Director; Joe Meneghini, Deputy Administrator; and John Minato, Building Official.  I thank you, everyone, for implementing the policy direction of our Council during tough times.

  • What does this budget do?  This budget enters 2005 with a beginning fund balance of $3,600,000 (an amount equal to 15.3% of the yearís total budgeted expenditure), a balance built up through strict budget controls over the past three years.   Based on projected revenues and expenditures in 2005, we will end the year with $3,200,000 (13.6 percent of budgeted expenditures, well above the Councilís minimum 8 percent goal).  The increases over last yearís operating level reflect an increase in the street fund subsidy, the newly created Municipal Court, insurance premium costs, and the 2 percent cost-of living adjustment for our city employees.  [Projected revenues are 7.7 percent higher: expenditures are 7.5 percent higher.] 

  • The Cityís Capital Improvement fund continues our strong progress with improvements to our street, sewer, water, and storm water systems.  A few key projects: the Juniper Street Bridge replacement; the I-90 Undercrossing; SE 56th Street/East Lake Sammamish; and $2,000,000 of storm water improvements.  We are investing over $8,000,000 in transportation improvements. Issaquah continues to lead in successfully securing grants to fund our capital projects (such as the Rainier Bridge replacement), with more grants per capita than any other city in the state.

  • I want to highlight one particular area: the proposed ITS (Intelligent Transportation System) project which goes to the voters for bond approval next month.  This project focuses on improved traffic mobility by enhancing and speeding up traffic flow within our city through modernizing and synchronizing our traffic signals.  This is a wide-ranging, significant step forward for our local transportation system.

  • We continue our strong commitment to the environment with the Squak Valley Park restoration along Issaquah Creek and we take a further step toward a better environment with the proposed purchase of a hybrid car replacement for use as a fleet pool vehicle at City Hall.

  • Another crucial focus of 2004, which we advance in 2005, is Emergency Operations and Readiness.  Issaquah opened its new Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in 2004 and secured several homeland security grants.  Our EOC and our emergency services providers, our Police Department continue in their readiness to serve the community.

  • Finally, this budget speaks to our City Councilís expectations.  Last year, as part of their deliberations, the City Council listed decisions and actions they expected of the Administration. I will speak of but one of the many expectations we have met. Over the years, the Administration, has sought better ways to do our work and has undertaken reorganizations to allow us to act more efficiently and more cost effectively.  We do this on a continuing basis.  This year, for example, we have reorganized Parks and Recreation, Information and Administrative Services, Public Works Engineering, and Finance with significant cost reductions. 

  • The City of Issaquah continues to provide high quality services and projects.  This 2005 budget provides  the services and projects this community expects without an increase in our property tax rate or utility rates. Active financial management by the Administration has allowed us to maintain high bond ratings as a City.  This directly benefits our tax payers whom will save $726,000 over the next nine years because the City repaid an outstanding bond issue ahead of schedule.

  • Despite difficult economic challenges, we continue to provide a broad range of high quality services to our community, thanks to the sound financial management expected of us and provided by our departments.  I look forward to working with the City Council through the 2005 budget process and invite the publicís involvement in crafting our fiscal plan for the coming year.

 


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  Rev. 10/27/05