May 10, 2013
New: May 10, 1:15 p.m.
“Detroit would kill for this kind of financial picture,” said Mayor Tom Odell at the May 7 Sammamish City Council meeting. Odell and the rest of the council had just heard a presentation on the city’s financial position, including the final report on the 2012 budget.
Joe Guinasso, Sammamish’s finance director started off with the big picture that is the envy of almost anyone who’s done a budget. City revenues in 2012 were 21.9 percent over budget while expenditures were 30.8 percent under budget. Read more
November 27, 2012
New: Nov. 27, 2:27 p.m.
Residents in unincorporated King County — including Klahanie — no longer face a $20 vehicle-license fee to fund road maintenance.
King County Council members dropped the proposed fee from the 2013 county budget, and approved the spending plan Nov. 13 in a unanimous decision. Instead, officials plan to lobby the state government for additional road dollars — a challenge as the state faces another budget shortfall next year. Read more
November 23, 2012
New: Nov. 23, 3:29 p.m.
The Sammamish City Council unanimously approved its 2013-2014 budget with only a few quibbles from councilmembers concerned about future parks and economic development spending.
The $107.8 million, two-year budget passed at the Nov. 20 meeting by a 6-0 vote, with Councilman John Curley absent. The budget forgoes a property tax increase for the fourth straight year, but adds approximately $380,000 in new personnel costs through four and a half new positions, including: Read more
November 14, 2012
Sammamish representatives signed off on a plan to spend more than $268,000 on adding a new out-building behind Eastside Fire & Rescue’s headquarters Nov. 8, but say it should not be seen as a commitment to the city staying with EF&R past 2014.
“I wouldn’t read into it too much,” Mayor Tom Odell said in an interview after the vote. Read more
November 7, 2012
Eastside Fire & Rescue board members are scheduled to approve the agency’s $22.2 million 2013 budget at a Nov. 8 meeting.
The budget represents a 3.1 percent increase from 2012, something Deputy Chief Wes Collins attributes to already-agreed-to wage and benefit increases for firefighters as well as modest increases in several programs that the agency cut back during the recent economic downturn, such as volunteer training and protective clothing for firefighters. Read more
November 1, 2012
Sammamish’s 2013-2014 budget includes more than $200,000 to upgrade the electronics in City Council chambers and provide new tablet computers for city councilmembers and field staff such as building inspectors.
Finance Director Joe Guinasso said the tablet computers would mean not having to print so many copies of the council’s often-lengthy meeting materials, cutting down on the city’s use of paper – one of a host of goals in the city’s Sustainability Strategy that was produced last year. Read more
September 27, 2012
Residents can comment on King County Executive Dow Constantine’s proposed 2013 budget next month at a series of meetings countywide.
The meetings, hosted by the King County Council budget team, start Oct. 3 in Courtroom 3F at the Maleng Regional Justice Center, 401 Fourth Ave. N., Kent. Read more
September 25, 2012
New: Sept. 25, 2:46 p.m.
Eastside Fire and Rescue is again considering charging drivers – or their insurance companies – for the costs of responding to car accidents.
The agency’s board briefly considered the motion at a Sept. 13 meeting as part of its ongoing discussions on its 2013 budget.
EFR Chief Lee Soptich said board members are split on the idea, though Sammamish Mayor Tom Odell, one of the city’s two representatives on the board, said he was considering it.
Odell said the agency needs additional revenue sources other than the general funds of cities and fire districts that make up EFR. Odell, a former Boeing executive, compared the fee to his former industry.
“It used to be that you got your bag checked for free when you bought an airplane ticket,” he said. “Now when you check your bag you have to pay a bit more and when you’re buying a meal you get your credit card out … It’s not like it used to be.”
The board has yet to determine how it would calculate the fee, but staff estimates that the agency could raise between $144,000 and $289,000 by charging for the approximately 470 car accident responses it has every year.
That would represent an increase between 0.6 percent and 1.3 percent in the agency’s annual revenues.
The proposal is similar to one passed last year that allowed the agency to charge patients for ambulance rides to the hospital, similar to the way private ambulance services work.
At the meeting the board approved charging $670 for each ride in 2013, up from $650 this year, to keep pace with the price being charged by private providers.
The agency sends out a bill for every ride, generally to a patient’s insurance company.
But EFR writes off the bills of the uninsured and those that cannot pay rather than sending the bills to a collections agency.
Odell said the motor vehicle accident program would likely work the same way.
The board tabled the proposal until its Oct. 11 meeting.
A draft budget presented to the Eastside Fire & Rescue Board of Directors at their Sept. 13 meeting calls for Sammamish to pay 3.3 percent more for fire service in 2013, roughly on par with the increase it saw last year. Issaquah would pay 7.9 percent more, a chunk of that is the result of the new fire station voters approved.
North Bend’s increase is set for 3.5 percent, District 10, 1.3 percent and District 38, 2.5 percent.
The increase stems from increased personnel and health care costs as well as the costs of training additional volunteers.
The agency has been recruiting additional volunteer firefighters for several stations after a state insurance rating board threatened to downgrade the agency’s rating because it did not have enough volunteers on hand.
Firefighters will earn 2 percent more next year while non-represented employees like the fire chief and deputy chiefs will earn a 2.7 percent increase to mirror the cost of living increase in the area since last year.
Operating expenses are projected to rise by 3.1 percent overall.
The board will see updated numbers and consider changes to the budget at its Oct. 11 meeting. The final budget is set to be adopted by the end of the year.
September 19, 2012
Not a lot of places can start budget deliberations on a high note, but this time around, Sammamish can.
“We have great news and great results to share with you,” said City Manager Ben Yazici at the council’s Sept. 11 study session.
Sammamish works on a two-year budget cycle, so the proposed budget will cover the years 2013 and 2014. Yazici outlined, in broad terms, the $88.1 million spending plan for those two years. The budget calls for hiking property taxes by 1 percent in each of the two budget years – generally the maximum amount allowed by state law. Read more
August 29, 2012
With no additional public comment since it was unveiled two weeks earlier, the Issaquah School Board approved its 2012-2013 budget Aug. 22.
Chief of Finance and Operations, Jake Kuper, first presented the $167.5 million budget to the board Aug. 8. The approved document was unchanged from the proposal. Read more