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Introductory remarks by Mayor Ava Frisinger   delivered as part of the presentation of the 2006 Proposed budget to the City Council on 
October 3, 2005
  

    Mayor Frisinger presented the 2006 Proposed Budget to Council on October 3, 2005.  Her message to Council and the citizens of Issaquah follows:

    I am pleased to present the Administrationís fiscal year 2006 proposed Operating and Capital Budget.  Brighter economic times let us make greater investments in our Cityís services.  We are in a strong position to provide for community needs in public safety, the environment, traffic, infrastructure, parks, and open space.  The Administrationís Budget recommendations reflect community values and needs, and the Councilís adopted priorities.

     

    Budget Overview

    Here are some of the coming yearís important opportunities and challenges.  It is imperative to maintain a strong and protective police force.  The number of calls for service has grown as our town has.  This Budget adds two new police officers to protect our community.

     

    In addition, I propose further investments to add to our police officerís safety and operational effectiveness through computer technology upgrades.

     

    The Proposed 2006 Budget continues our commitment to the environment, clean water, protecting our streams, and protecting our salmon and our open spaces.  Our partnership in the Hope Creek Restoration moves forward while we continue to monitor recent improvements to the Tibbetts Creek Basin . I have included $75,000 for habitat preservation and stream restoration in next yearís budget.

     

    We have made significant transportation progress in the past three years. It wasnít long ago that both ends of Gilman, at SR 900 and Front Street regularly had large traffic tie-ups.  Traffic is moving better in both places, but more remains to be done.

     

    Additional investments in public improvements are:

    • Continued work on implementing the Intelligent Transportation System (ITS) program, to improve traffic flow on our main traffic corridors and intersections.  We continue to move forward on the I-90 under crossing.  We will be constructing improvements to the 56th Street / East Lake Sammamish Parkway intersection and Dogwood Street , along with other street safety improvements.
    • We propose designing the replacement of the Dogwood Bridge , honoring this Administrationís strong commitment to safe streets, flood prevention, and salmon habitat.  
    • Our community has long cherished its open spaces, trails, and parks.  This budget invests in new park facilities that will be ready for our families and children next year at Grand View and Central Park .
    • In 2006, a new Trail Connector, a missing link in the Mountains to Sound Greenway, will be constructed.  And, I propose additional Parks staff to provide strong stewardship of our Parks.

     

    Financial Background

    Each of these investments is based on our community values and needs.  We are able to do these because of our responsible fiscal stewardship of public tax dollars.  Over the past years, this Administration consistently has been prudent with spending and has built up a very strong reserve. 2006 will continue in this direction.

     

    On the financial front, the Proposed Budget represents a 4.1% increase in expenditures which is primarily for the Police and Parks service improvements I have highlighted.  Our revenues continue to grow with a 6.1% increase over 2005.

     

    However, inflation costs are up 2.3%, and to maintain our Police, Fire and other vital services, and to offset inflationís impact, the budget includes a minimal 1% increase in the property tax collection.  Let me repeat this.  It is an increase in the collection.  During the past eight years, the City property tax rate has gone down from $2.37/$1,000 of assessed valuation to $1.60/$1,000, which represents a decrease of 32.5% (almost a third).  This budget also includes a number of water, sewer and stormwater improvement projects, but no utility rate increases are being proposed.  The City has been innovative/creative in substantially reducing the cost of the main utility project for 2006, the West Downtown Trunk Sewer Line, cutting the cost nearly in half.

     

    Summary

    In summary, the Administrationís proposed Budget is balanced, fiscally prudent, and responsible.  And it anticipates our ending cash reserves at 19.8% of the yearís budgeted expenditures, close to double the high end of the Councilís goal.  Our experience over the past four years has been one of exceeding budgeted projections significantly.  I expect that to occur again in 2006. 

     

    We face some challenges and some work to be done.  If passed this year, Initiative I-912 will affect the financing plan for Issaquahís ITS project.  As Council is aware, the ITS project is a voter approved bond project for which we received a $1.5 million grant from the State.  This grant funding will be used to reduce the bond amount. However, if I-912 is approved and the state revisits its funding priorities, there will be $8 billion in projects and $3 billion in funding.  No matter what happens with I-912, ITS is fully funded and proceeding as scheduled toward completion.

     

    We will be having two annexation votes this coming November, one in Klahanie and the other in South Cove/Greenwood Point.  If successful, these annexations will add more than 14,000 new residents.  We will have much work ahead in transitioning services from King County to the City.  Based on other citiesí experiences, this will not be an easy task and will take a dedicated focus from all of us.  I am, however, confident that our experienced management team and staff will manage the transition well.

     

    In conclusion, Issaquah is a strong community with a solid foundation and a great history from which to move forward.  And the budget I present tonight builds on that foundation and our community values.  I look forward to working with the Council and community in the coming year.


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  Rev. 10/28/05