Council Roundup: December 7, 2020

WA Notify, Budget, Public Art, Leading with Services, Waste Management
Posted on 12/14/2020
2021-22 Budget Adopted.

Council adopted the 2021–2022 budget, discussed amendments to next year’s work plan for the Arts Commission, updated the Art in Public Places budget, extended the waste management contract with Recology, discussed the “leading with services” approach to helping people experiencing homelessness and at-risk youth in Burien, and voted to purchase a small amount of property in Seahurst Park.

WA Notify illustrations.

Washington Exposure Notifications: New Tool Helps Fight Spread of COVID-19

Staff presented information about the new Washington Exposure Notifications (WA Notify), a completely private feature on smartphones that can inform people if they have been exposed to COVID-19 by another user who later tests positive.

Staff also provided updates on public health restrictions, proclamations from the governor, and new funding for small businesses. More information and resources can be found on the City of Burien’s COVID-19 website.

Budget and picture of council.

2021–2022 Budget Adopted

Council adopted a balanced budget for the 2021–2022 budget cycle. The budget reflected efforts to reduce costs while still maintaining essential services. This budget includes:

  • Continued funding for important programs that serve youth, seniors, and vulnerable populations.
  • Continued funding for important infrastructure and capital projects.
  • Increased efficiencies by reducing programs or bringing services and programs in-house.
  • Net loss of 14 full time employees. This ranks Burien’s staffing levels at one of the lowest of a city of its size in the region.

Council engaged in a discussion about policing, and the police services budget. Two councilmembers abstained from voting on the budget, and one voted no, because they did not support the amount of funding devoted to police services. Other councilmembers echoed the city manager’s statement that the cost of police services is almost exclusively the responsibility of local governments. Compared to other south King County cities, Burien pays the lowest costs per capita for police services, and has the lowest number of police personnel per capita.

The final budget will be published on the City website.

Black History Month and Black Lives Matter Public Art/

Proposed Art Project will Honor Black Lives Matter and Black History Month

The Arts Commission presented a proposal to honor the Black Lives Matter movement and celebrate Black History Month through public art projects in 2021. Projects include partnering with the Highline Heritage Museum and issuing a call for artists that would recruit a Black artist to develop an artwork that honors the Black Lives Matter movement.

Council also approved funding for new art for two signal boxes on Des Moines Memorial Drive on the themes of World War I and the history of the road. Council also approved $10,000 to go toward maintenance of existing public art.

Recyclable materials.

Recology Contract Extended for Two More Years

Council voted to approve an extension of Burien’s contract with Recology to provide comprehensive garbage, recyclable, and compostable collection service.

Recology has met or exceeded performance metrics and has provided good customer service. They offer  more services than many competing companies, including a substantially longer list of items they are willing to collect curbside, a local retail store and call center, a free annual curbside collection event, community recycling facility tours, and an artist-in-residence program. They also support removal of graffiti in Burien.

The extension of the contract, which was first signed in 2014, means Burien can continue to pay current rates and receive current service levels. The waste management market has changed significantly since the contract was first signed, and it’s estimated that bids from other companies would not be as competitive.

Police officer talking to people in park.

Police and Human Services Work Together to “Lead with Services”

The police chief and human services staff provided an update on the way human services and police services work in partnership to find solutions to complex challenges facing our community. They described their “leading with services” approach to addressing the root causes of criminal activity by providing direct services and leveraging their work to attract federal, state and county investments into Burien. This approach has been recognized by the King County Council, who just announced a new allocation of $2.2 million in their 2021-2022 budget, to support LEAD and Co-LEAD programs that serve Burien. The City is also seeking grants to fund more programs that serve youth and other vulnerable populations. Read more about this collaborative approach on the Burien Magazine website.

New Property to be Purchased at Seahurst Park

Council approved the $6,930 purchase of a 10,000 square foot parcel of land that sits within the boundaries of Seahurst Park. The parcel had been put up for auction by King County, who had acquired it through tax foreclosure.

Council Writes a Letter in Support of Labor Union

Council will sign a letter in support of health care providers represented by the Union of American Physicians and Dentists (UAPD) who are on strike protesting working conditions at MultiCare urgent care facilities. There are three Multicare urgent care facilities in Burien.