Issaquah City council discusses upcoming vacancy, approves human services funding

Issaquah City council discussed city council applications, humans services funding, and Olde Town.

The Issaquah City Council is laying out the process to replace Councilmember Bill Ramos, who will leave in January after being elected as a state representative in November.

During a recent meeting the city council discussed appointing a new council member to the vacant position.

The city council also approved human services grant funding recommendations and approved the updated Olde Town Sub Area Plan.

Appointment

City clerk Tina Eggers said when Ramos’ city council seat becomes vacant on Jan. 1, 2019, the city will have 90 days to appoint a replacement. Issaquah now is accepting applications from qualified citizens. Candidates must be at least 18 years old, a registered voter, and a resident of the city for at least one year prior to appointment. The term would be valid until November 2019. The appointed councilmember will need to run for election to seat.

The council deliberated on some of the details of the application and interview process, including expressing interest in a more formal structure to a candidate meet and greet event. They also set limitations on candidates presentations such as not allowing visual aids and limiting the presentation time to 10 minutes.

Adjustments were made to candidate questions with the hope of learning about views and perspectives.

The deadline for application is 10 a.m. on Jan 8. Following the deadline, candidates have the opportunity to give a presentation to the council on Jan. 14, and the meet and greet event will be held on Jan. 22. The city council is expected to make a final decision on the appointment at its Feb. 5 meeting. The online application can be found on the city’s website www.issaquahwa.gov.

Human services

The city council also heard a presentation form the Human Services Commission on the recommended allocation of human service funding for 2019-2020. The city received 91 applications totalling $1.1 million in requests, exceeding the possible funding for the program. The total of $495,000 in human services funds was awarded to 65 programs.

The Human Services Commission split the funding across programs in five distinct categories identified in the community needs assessment — employment and economic stability, supportive relationships in neighborhoods and communities, safety from violence and abuse, behavioral and physical health, and education and job skills.

The funding recommendations were unanimously approved by the city council.

Olde Town

The council also unanimously approved the Olde Town Sub Area plan, a project designed to preserve the character and vitality of the Olde Town community. The plan was first adopted in 1999, and in 2016 the city began the process on a full update. Several changes have been made to the plan to remove unnecessary information and create a more readable, accessible document.

Some of the changes in the new document include encouraging active use of sidewalks adjacent to businesses, increase and promote neighborhood interactions, implement the parks strategic plan, amend parking requirements, adopt residential architectural standards, and reduce heights in higher density residential areas.

Both councilmembers Tola Marts and Paul Winterstein noted the work and effort that went into crafting the updated plan and thanked all the staff, Planning Policy Commission, and the citizens. With another 7-0 vote, the plan was approved.

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