Sammamish mayor signs off

Tom Vance's last Sammamish City Council meeting was Dec. 1. Looking back, he said he's likely most proud of the work that helped make the Klahanie annexation a reality.

Outgoing Sammamish Mayor Tom Vance said he’s likely most proud of the legwork that brought nearly 11,000 people into Sammamish Friday.

In his four years with the council, he played a significant role in the Klahanie-area annexation, a process that involved the neighboring city, Issaquah, and several votes of the people.

King County had designated the roughly 2-square-mile area within the city of Issaquah’s potential annexation area. Voters twice rejected joining Issaquah, in 2005 and 2014. The February 2014 tally failed by just 32 votes.

“When the Klahanie vote (in 2014) went south, you did such a wonderful job of meeting with the folks in Issaquah and not only encouraging them to let Klahanie go from their (potential annexation area) to our (potential annexation area) but to strengthen our personal relationships with the city staff and with the city council members of Issaquah,” Deputy Mayor Kathy Huckabay said during Vance’s last council meeting, Dec. 1. “That’s going to help us in the future as we approach so many … regional decisions.”

Vance credits the ability to annex Klahanie into Sammamish in part to long conversations he had with Issaquah’s Mayor Fred Butler and City Council President Paul Winterstein. Vance said he helped show the city of Sammamish’s willingness to bring those residents into the city and to address the congestion that turns Issaquah-Fall City Road into a “parking lot every morning and evening,” he said.

Closing out in 2015, the city had a surplus of nearly $8 million, according to a mid-biennium update in November, which carries into this year’s finances. The total 2015-2016 budget is $220.5 million.

“The city is in even better financial shape than we even thought,” Vance said. “Let’s not get caught up in politics and let’s follow through on some of these major projects.”

Those major projects include Sahalee Way, Issaquah-Fall City Road and other road networks within the city.

Citizens elected Vance to the council in 2011 and the council named him mayor in 2013. His last council meeting was Dec. 1.

Vance was outvoted in the November election for position No. 6 to Tom Hornish. Hornish, who will join the council this month, did not run for the mayoral seat. The seven-member council votes internally to determine the mayor.