King County Journal, October 6, 2005
mayor proposes $24.4 million budget for 2006
ISSAQUAH -- The city will spend $24.4 million on basic
operations in 2006, according to Mayor Ava Frisinger.
In presenting her proposed budget, Frisinger also proposed that the city raise
its property tax levy by 1 percent in order to maintain vital services and
compensate for a 2.3 percent rise in inflation.
Not all council members were sold on the idea of a 1-percent hike, however. Hank
Thomas said the increase wouldn't yield enough revenue to make it worthwhile.
``My feeling is that we should not increase taxes on people just because we can,
we should only increase taxes when we must, and when the taxpayers say we can,''
Councilman Joe Forkner, on the other hand, thinks the increase is reasonable and
more palatable to the public.
``A little bit every year is easier to take than a lot in one year, or two years
or three years,'' he said.
If the 1-percent rise is approved, the city's take would be $4.53 million, or
18.5 percent of the general fund budget. That would set the city's portion of
the tax rate at $1.54 per $1,000 of assessed valuation, actually a decrease from
this year's rate of $1.60 per $1,000.
The city sets the maximum amount of money it can collect through its portion of
the property tax levy. Dividing that number by the total assessed valuation of
all property in the city yields the levy rate, which, because of steady
inflation in valuations, is actually decreasing.
City Administrator Leon Kos said that because Issaquah continues to grow, the
actual levy rate has decreased steadily over the years.
``People might see a reduction in the city-collected portion of the property
tax,'' he said.
Unless the increase in valuations, which the city does not control, outpaces the
The city's portion of the tax levy is also just a portion of the total tax
levied on Issaquah residents. The Issaquah School District's levy is more than
twice as large.
Other elements of the budget include $13.5 million in various capital funds,
including the $6.3 million Capital Improvement Fund and the $3 million fund
paying for the centralized Intelligent Transportation System in and around
Various line items include funding for two more police officers and more parks
maintenance staff, who would be hired about the same time Issaquah would nearly
double in size if it annexes the unincorporated neighborhoods of Klahanie and
South Cove/Greenwood Point.
``It seemed like to me that it was a good news kind of budget,'' council
President Fred Butler said.
Chris Winters can be reached at email@example.com