Council Roundup: October 7, 2019

Property Tax, 2020 Budget, Rental Housing Policies, SCORE Jail
Posted on 10/10/2019
Ordinance 716 establishes renter housing policies designed to protect renters and improve renter-landlord relationships.

Council met new employees, discussed property tax, 2020 budget, state and federal legislative agenda, rental housing policies, SCORE jail, and more.

New City Employees

The City’s new economic development specialist Lorraine Chachere, new city clerk Megan Gregor, and new rental housing inspection program coordinator Cynthia Schaff were introduced to the Council.

Emerging Issues

City Manager Brian J. Wilson provided information on the potential application of the current City of Burien utility tax to the water and sewer utilities as well as the proposed one percent property tax increase.

Council Passes Renter Housing Policy

Council passed Ordinance 716, establishing renter housing policies designed to protect renter and improve renter-landlord relationships.

Read the press release.

Council State and Federal Legislative Agenda

The City of Burien contracts with two lobbyists to advocate for both state and federal legislation that will benefit the Burien community. Council and City staff provide direction to the lobbyists on the issues that matter to Burien. The lobbyists also provided information about upcoming legislation and trends to City staff and Council. Council discussed the draft legislative agendas and will vote to approve them at a future date.

Public Hearing on Proposed One Percent Property Tax Increase

Council held a public hearing on a proposed one percent property tax levy increase. This will provide important funding for critical services such as police, roads, parks, and more. Even with a one percent increase in the property tax levy, however, the city’s property tax rate decreases from 1.09 to 1.04 per $1,000 of assessed value. Because of state law, the council cannot increase property tax by more than one percent without a vote of the people. The Burien City Council routinely increases property tax by one percent each year to sustain existing services.

Council Reviews 2020 Budget

The City adopts a budget every two years, but is allowed to make adjustments every year to accommodate changing needs. For 2020, a few budget adjustments were made to reflect more accurate tallying of both revenues and expenditures. Other recommendations included:

  • Conversion of an economic development intern position to emergency management intern.
  • Creation of two new drug enforcement forfeiture funds to be used for police services.
  • Contributing to a library reserve fund to save for future Burien Library/City Hall maintenance.
  • Funding for an urban center environmental impact statement

Funding for software licensing cost increases.Council will discuss and revise the mid-biennium budget throughout the fall:

  • October 21: Continued presentation & discussion
  • November 4: Second public hearing, introduction of property tax levy, introduction of the surface water management rates
  • November 18: Adoption of property tax levy, adoption of surface water management rates
  • December 2: Adoption of budget, including 2020 financial policies

Council Approves New Interlocal Agreement with SCORE Jail

Council approved a new interlocal agreement with the SCORE Jail. The new agreement reflects a new cost-sharing structure triggered by the decision by the City of Federal Way to leave the interlocal agreement.

Council Discusses Changing Downtown Burien Noise Ordinance

Council reviewed proposed changes to the downtown Burien noise ordinance. Economic development manager Chris Craig presented results from a survey of downtown residents. Council will vote on the proposed changes to the noise ordinance at a future date.

Get Involved

The Council encourages Burien residents to understand the business of the City as well as discussions on specific topics that are brought before the City Council. There are several ways to follow the workings of the Council:

  • • Attend the Monday night City Council meetings-in person, on Channel 21, or streamed online. See schedule of meetings (
  • Watch for scheduled public meetings or public hearings on specific projects and topics (

The Council is interested in hearing from residents and businesses. Ways to provide meaningful input include:

  • Send emails to the City Council at [email protected] or to each individual Councilmembers’ email address, which can be found listed at:
  • Contact Councilmembers at their City phone number, which can be found listed at:
  • Attend a City Council meeting and speak to the Council for up to two minutes during public comment.