Huckabay wants study about Council Member salaries


Kathy Huckabay

A salary study for City Council members was requested by Kathy Huckabay during the Sept. 20 meeting (at 184 minutes into the meeting on the video tape).

Members are paid $850/mo; the mayor gets $950/mo.

Huckabay asked the staff to conduct a salary review as part of the current budget process. Staff said it is undertaking a salary review study for employees. Her current term expires next year. She has not said whether she will seek reelection or retire,

“In that salary review, are you going to be reviewing city council salaries?” Huckabay asked. “Next year is an election year. It would be really important for potential people who are running for city council to understand what the salary schedule is.

“I understand Issaquah hired somebody and they did a salary study and they came back with an adjustment.”

Huckabay didn’t say what the Issaquah adjustment is. Huckabay asked a question about storm water costs immediately after her salary review question. Staff answered the second question but not the first.

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Issaquah sponsors, broadcasts candidate forum, but Sammamish won’t; why not?

The City of Issaquah will host, sponsor and broadcast one of three candidate forums for its City Council election, but Sammamish won’t.

Sammamish said it will broadcast a forum, but only is someone else pays for it. CJ Kahler, treasurer of the Sammamish Rotary, which is co-sponsoring with the Sammamish Chamber, the only candidate forum set so far in our City Council elections, won’t allow videotaping the forum unless Sammamish pays for it.

Four years ago Sammamish said it wouldn’t allow a candidates forum in its chambers for some obscure reasoning. Now it says it will, but it won’t pay for videoing it and broadcasting it.

This is all nonsense.

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Klahanie PAA dodges Issaquah bullet; and the gift that keeps on giving

The Klahanie Potential Annexation Area dodged the bullet from Issaquah, it turns out, as the city reveals its budget proposal.

One of the points the city promoted when seeking an affirmative vote from the PAA to annex to Issaquah was lower taxes.

The 2015 budget, just released, proposes raising property taxes 1% and nearly doubling most Business & Occupation taxes immediately and marginally in the following year.

Sammamish, which is now pursuing annexation of the PAA, hasn’t raised property taxes since incorporation in 1999 and it doesn’t have a B&O tax.

Issaquah needs to raise taxes because it’s essentially broke. The new budget projects an $8m surplus, which is really “nothing” for a government and city the size of Issaquah. There are little or no reserves for replacing aging water and sewer infrastructure, for example, or for doing many of the things the Klahanie PAA needs in terms of road improvements, maintenance and park upgrades. Sammamish, on the other hand, has a large cash balance and untapped bonding power of more than $400m, should it choose to use it.

Klahanie PAA voters were wise to reject annexation to Issaquah.

The gift that keeps on giving

Remember the City of Issaquah’s cybersquatting on the website domains of the Sammamish Plateau Water and Sewer District? I wrote several columns about this in September and October last year, beginning with this one. The Issaquah Press and Issaquah Reporter then named this event as the Top Story of 2013 in their January 2014 year-end recaps (just before the Klahanie PAA vote to annex to Issaquah, as it turned out).

On Oct. 6 this year, the Issaquah Press won first place in a national contest judged by the Arizona Newspaper Assn., which reviewed more than 2,300 entries for editorials.

The winner was The Press’ editorial condemning the city for the cybersquatting. Here’s the link to the story. Here’s the link to the editorial, which also ran in the sister paper, The Sammamish Review.

This bonehead move by Issaquah continues to haunt the government. Nobody was held accountable, and no elected official condemned the action until the mayoral campaign was well underway. This speaks volumes.

This is another reason the Klahanie PAA dodged a bullet.


Is ‘You can’t trust Issaquah, Part 5’ around the corner?

Is Issaquah about to equivocate on prior indications that it would release the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area if it lost the vote February 11?

It did lose the vote-albeit by a mere 32–but outside the margin for a recount. Despite Mayor Fred Butler pledging during his successful campaign for election in November saying he’d release the PAA and not gerrymander it, Butler’s been silent so far.

Councilman Paul Winterstein appears to be equivocating, however. According to The Issaquah Reporter, Winterstein told the county that “Winterstein testified that Issaquah hasn’t had time to analyze the election results and sort things out”

What’s there to sort out? Issaquah lost. Period.

Butler’s silence is disturbing. He needs to step up and honor his campaign pledge. One of the issues in the annexation vote was the inability to trust anything Issaquah says it will do. Butler, as the first new mayor in some 16 years, immediately stepped up to resolve the water wars. It’s already past due to step up and take moves to honor his word on annexation.

As for Winterstein and the Issaquah City Council: enough, already. You lost, and that’s that. Stop holding the PAA hostage. You could have annexed the area in 2005 if you weren’t greedy about the debt issue. Give it up now.

Klahanie annexation vote analysis, by precinct

I’ve obtained the certified election results of the Klahanie annexation vote to Issaquah, and plotted them out by precinct. Click the map to enlarge.

Sammamish Comment Chart. c. Sammamish Comment. Certified Election Results, Klahanie Annexation Vote, Feb. 11, 2014

Sammamish Comment Chart. c. Sammamish Comment. Certified Election Results, Klahanie Annexation Vote, Feb. 11, 2014

You’ll note that I’ve marked “SE 48th St. Extended,” which bisects the Brookshire precinct at the very southern tip. There has been discussion that this portion of the Klahanie Potential Annexation Area could be retained by Issaquah while the rest goes to Sammamish. This hardly makes sense to me, given that this is just the extreme southern tip of the PAA.

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