Sammamish leadership moves up readings on Initiative and Referendum ordinance

Sammamish City Council leadership advanced the first and second readings of the enabling ordinance for the Initiative and Referendum from July 21 and September 1 to July 14 and July 21, calling a special meeting of the Sammamish City Council for this Tuesday.

City Manager Ben Yacizi told Sammamish Comment that the Council decided to get the first and second readings completed before the August recess.

The cover page to the Special Meeting, for which the first reading of the ordinance is the only item on the agenda, is below the jump.

The Council meeting was originally scheduled as a Study Session to discussion the Comprehensive Plan updates.

Summary Statement: The powers of Initiative and Referendum (I&R) would allow the citizens of Sammamish to directly exercise the authority to enact and repeal laws for a limited set of allowable subject areas or topics. The ordinance provides the powers of I&R to the citizens of Sammamish.

Background: The City Council has studied the issue of granting the powers of Initiative and Referendum to the citizens of Sammamish. The City Council placed an advisory ballot measure on the April 28th, 2015 election to determine the level of support among the voters for this authority. A majority of the voters (55.46%) participating in the election voted for the advisory proposition expressing their desire to be able to exercise the powers of I&R.

On July 7, 2014 the City Council approved Resolution R2015-641 declaring the intent of the City Council to provide for the exercise of the powers of initiative and referendum for Sammamish citizens.

The Council is hearing the 1st reading of the enabling ordinance today and the 2nd reading and passage consideration of the enabling ordinance on July 21st, 2015. Effective date of the ordinance is 90 days after publication of the enabling resolution which will be October 9, 2015. This period will allow the voters to petition the City Council for an election on implementing the I&R ordinance.

The Draft Ordinance includes an outline of suggested procedures and format, to lend structure to a lightly defined process as set by state RCWs.

Financial Impact:

It is estimated that a potential ballot measure would cost the City’s taxpayers between $30,000 and $40,000 under normal circumstances. Additional estimated potential costs could be $10,000 to $20,000 to defend the City in a disputed I&R case

Recommended Motion:

Conduct the First Reading of Ordinance.

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