How City Government Impacts Our Daily Lives
At a time of so much upheaval and uncertainty, one bright spot is our shared ability to open our eyes to possibilities that are so different from our pre-pandemic status quo that they previously wouldn’t have occurred to us as options.
We saw our kids and teachers reconfigure what school looks like outside the classroom. Every day, we are forced to explore new ideas about work without offices while caring for kids at home and using different technology. Our Issaquah Highlands community responded to the immediate needs of the crisis by reimagining what ‘community’ means, from the Neighbor to Neighbor directory to wearing masks.
CERT Team 9, the Highlands-based emergency preparedness team, often asks residents to take time to imagine life during a disaster. It takes stepping out of our daily existence for us to envision a potential future and how we must prepare for it. Right now, we’re living in one of those situations, where the world looks different from our daily lives just months ago.
The question is, what do we do with that shift in perspective? I’d argue that it is a hopeful act to reimagine what life might be like in the future.
The city of Issaquah has also had to rethink what it means to govern. We’ve worked to support local businesses by distributing business grants, supporting the Front Street Streatery program, and allowing businesses to expand into the streets and sidewalks. So, too are we exploring what it means to protect our citizens and provide a safe environment for all as we explore police policies and budgets.
Oftentimes, government feels disconnected from our daily lives, but our city has a lot of influence over our day-to-day issues. Your city’s elected officials (eight community members) strive to improve the city we live in. If you have spent time these last several months reimagining the way your community might look, I implore you to share those ideas, big or small, with your mayor and city council.
The city of Issaquah cannot print money or run a deficit, so when we budget, we must be creative in responding to the needs of the community, more so this year when facing a reduction in revenue. The city’s budget is a moral document, expressing our priorities as dollars spent throughout the community.
Issaquah will begin the budget process soon. Below are a few key dates in our proposed budget schedule that will include opportunities for public participation:
- September 2: Community outreach meeting on financial forecast
- September 29: Mayor presents her proposed budget to the City Council
- October/November: City Council budget deliberations
- November 16: Adoption of the 2021 budget
If you’ve imagined a different future, the budget period is key to achieving those goals. Take the time now to send an email to your City Council (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Mayor Mary Lou Pauly (email@example.com) and let us know where you’d like to see your tax dollars spent.
This is the second in a series of columns contributed by Issaquah City Council members who live in Issaquah Highlands.