Council Roundup: June 3, 2019

Pilot Program to Regulate Unauthorized Use of Burien Parks and Facilities, EMS Levy, Sign Code, Fireworks, Long-Range Financial Plan
Posted on 06/04/2019
Fireworks prohibited symbol.

Council discussed progress on the pilot four-month program to regulate unauthorized use of Burien parks and facilities, passed a resolution supporting the Medic One/Emergency Medical Services levy, approved revisions to the zoning code regulating temporary signs in Burien, discussed long-range financial plan scenarios, and heard alternatives to the current fireworks prohibition.

2020–2025 Transportation Improvement Program

Council approved the 2020–2025 Transportation Improvement Program.

Pilot program to regulate unauthorized use of Burien parks and facilities

Burien Chief of Police Theodore Boe and Human Services Manager Colleen Brandt-Schluter provided an update on the pilot four-month program to address camping in parks. Substantial outreach to people living unsheltered in parks started on May 6. At that time, 25 people were found actively living in a park. From May 6 to May 17, efforts were made to continue that communication and outreach. On May 20, everyone still living in a park was given 72-hour notice and offered services at the time. During that 72-hour time period, there were numerous attempts to follow up and connect people to shelter and services.

On May 23, the 72-hour period lapsed, leaving 13 people still living in a park. Of the remaining 13, six people entered into services with the Union Gospel Mission. On May 24, no one was found to still be camping in the park.

Some people have returned to parks. One arrest was made on May 28 of a person that had been contacted twice already and who declined services.

One person in a non-operating vehicle was connected to a King County resource, and provided a tow to a place where RV camping was allowed, north of the city. A Salvation Army outreach team that works specifically with people living in vehicles was brought in to assist.

Staff will provide another update later this summer.

Medic One/Emergency Medical Services Levy

Council approved placing the Medic One/Emergency Medical Services (EMS) levy on the ballot in November. The existing six-year EMS levy expires December 31.
The King County EMS system is recognized as one of the best such programs in the country. It currently serves 2 million people throughout King County, providing life-saving services on average every three minutes.
RCW 84.52.069 requires legislative bodies of 75 percent of cities with a population over 50,000 to approve a resolution authorizing placement of the levy on the ballot.

Sign Code

Council approved updates to the City’s temporary sign regulations in the Burien Zoning Code (BMC 19.30).

Alternatives to Current Fireworks Prohibition

Fire Chief Mike Marrs and Burien Chief of Police Ted Boe presented alternatives to our current enforcement and communications practices.

Current efforts include: communications starting a month prior to July 4th reminding residents that fireworks are prohibited and emphasis patrols from Burien Police that focus on education, confiscation, and issuance of infractions. These efforts are challenged by the wide availability of legal and illegal fireworks, a culture of acceptance of fireworks on July 4th, legality of fireworks in jurisdictions north and south of the city, and limited resources to enforce.

Council will discuss a more robust ordinance that amends the current fireworks prohibition at the June 17 meeting. Any changes to the fireworks prohibition would not be effective until 2020.

Proposed Long Range Financial Scenarios

The City hired the financial consulting practice FCS Group to develop a long-term financial plan for the City’s General Fund. FCS Group worked with staff to evaluate options to address the projected gap between revenues and expenditures starting in 2021 and enhanced service levels.

Monday night’s presentation was the fourth discussion on this topic by Council. There are five financial proposals that outline a variety of scenarios. The first goal of these scenarios is to close a projected financial gap between expenses and revenues. The other financial scenarios outlined ways for the City to provide funding for youth services, specifically for youth who are at risk of becoming gang involved, more police officers, and a new community center. Revenue options discussed include: voter-approved levy lid lift on property tax, Metropolitan Parks District, public safety sales tax (.1 percent), or a combination of these options.

Council directed staff to come back to Council with a community engagement plan regarding a new community center.