Jan. 14, 2016: The Sammamish City Council outlined its priorities for the State Legislature at the first part of its annual Retreat today. The Retreat began at 5pm and continues to noon Saturday.
Among the issues Sammamish supports:
- Liquor tax restoration.
- Legislation to allow local governments to “fully recover SEPA review costs for infill development” and related reviews. SEPA review is the environmental review for development projects, billed to developers.
- The Public Works Trust Fund. This is a low-cost funding mechanism used by Cities from the State. Budget cuts to fund schools reduced the available monies from this source.
- Support for road infrastructure improvements through Issaquah for roads to I-90 and related roads.
Easing “agenda” rule
The Council agreed that three members of the Council can put an item on the agenda, rather than four. The need for four has been a matter of contention for several years, principally objected to by Member Ramiro Valderrama. He had been frustrated in getting some items on the Council agenda in the past, notably issues with the East Lake Sammamish Trail, for which it took him six months to get the issue before the Council.
The Council wrestled with how to expand and limit public comment.
Limiting public comment was focused more about reducing repetitiveness on the same topic, in which the same points were made by several people rather than each speaker offering new information.
Establishing Town Hall meetings was discussed, or having dual times during a single Council meeting (early and late). No definitive decisions were made other than better management of the process.
Regular meetings with school districts, King County, state legislators, neighboring cities and the water and sewer districts should be held as full public, noticed meetings.
City Manager transition
Ben Yazici, the City Manager for the past 15 years, retires Feb. 9. Lyman Howard, the current Deputy City Manager, takes over as Acting City Manager then until March 1, when his elevation to City Manager becomes official.
Although the Council agreed to a number of issues at the first night of the Retreat, because the Retreat is a special meeting, no final, official votes can be taken. All final action must be taken at a regular City Council meeting.
Absent: Neither of the two local papers was present.