Council Roundup: March 25, 2019

Budget Forecasts, Website Improvements, and Single-Use Plastics
Posted on 03/28/2019
Single use plastic bottle

Council heard presentations and discussed budget forecasts, website improvements, and possible restrictions on single-use plastics. 

Budget Forecasts

During the 2019-2020 budget process, City staff presented information about the upcoming gap between expenditures and revenues starting in 2021. In order to address that gap, the Council approved the hiring of FCS Group, a financial consulting group, to provide advice to the City on how to close the gap. Based on their initial findings, Council approved in December 2018 an increase to the gambling tax and an increase to Seattle City Light franchise fee.

During the 2019-2020 budget process, Council identified their priority areas for increasing service for the Burien community (found under attachments). The FCS group presented options for funding these priorities on Monday night. Council will be discussing these priorities and possible funding mechanisms at a future Council meeting.

The priorities that Council will be considering include:

  • Investments in youth services
  • Investments in public safety, including more police officers
  • Building a new community center

The funding mechanisms being considered include:

  • Public safety sales tax
  • Metropolitan Parks District
  • Property tax levy lid lift

Some of the funding mechanisms being considered would require a vote of the people. Based on feedback from Council, the FCS Group will be presenting another option at the next scheduled discussion on this topic.

Website Improvements

Council heard a presentation on the findings from a third-party assessment of the usability and accessibility of the City’s website as well as a proposed action plan to improve the website.

Single-Use Plastics

Staff provided an update on the status of plastics legislation being discussed in the Washington State Legislature. A bill that regulates plastic bags will, if it passes, could preempt the City’s current plastic bag ban ordinance.

Staff provided an update on a proposed ordinance which would restrict the use of single-use plastics such as straws and food packaging. City staff have conducted initial outreach with the local business community, Highline Schools District, Highline Hospital, and the National Grocers Association who represents Fred Meyer and other major grocery chains. The State legislature is looking at legislation restricting plastic straws. A proposed ordinance won’t be brought forward to Council until the State legislative session ends.