Council Roundup: October 19, 2020

Budget, Indoor Air Quality in Schools, Urban Forest Stewardship Plan, Compostables, Waste Management
Posted on 10/22/2020
Illustration of houses with trees in yard.

Council held public hearings on the 2021–2022 budget and a temporary moratorium on development in the Ambaum Corridor. They also discussed funding for a study on indoor air quality in schools, state legislative priorities, urban forest stewardship plan, property tax levy, Burien’s Capital Improvement Program, compostables, new solid waste service requirements for businesses, celebrating Burien’s diverse cultures and identities, and enhanced services facilities.

Image of Burien City Hall with blue overlay and budget icons.

2021–2022 Budget: Public Hearing on Revenues and Expenditures

Council held the first of three public hearings on Burien’s budget. The public hearing offered the opportunity for community members to weigh in on the 2021–2022 budget’s proposed revenues and expenditures, including a potential increase to property tax and a new utility tax.

New Development in the Ambaum Corridor Temporarily Paused

Council held a public hearing on the temporary moratorium on development in the Ambaum Corridor. Council adopted the moratorium at their October 5 meeting.

Children sitting on floor of classroom while teacher reads.

Burien Will Support Study to Measure Indoor Air Quality in Schools

Council placed on the November 2 consent agenda the approval of a $12,500 contribution to a study to measure air quality inside schools north and south of the SeaTac Airport. Burien joins other Des Moines, Federal Way, Normandy Park, and SeaTac in supporting Phase I of the study. The study is designed to provide guidance and recommendations to communities impacted by a variety of outdoor air pollution sources.

2021 State Legislative Priorities

Council discussed their 2021 state legislative priorities, placing their approval on the November 2 consent agenda.

The City Council establishes state and federal legislative priorities every year. These agendas reflect the Council’s priorities. A legislative agenda enables staff and the City’s contract lobbyists to advocate and support legislation that benefits the City of Burien government and the Burien community. 

South King Housing and Homelessness Partners Budget and Workplan Approved

South King Housing and Homelessness Partners (SKHHP) is a coalition formed by an interlocal agreement between the jurisdictions of Auburn, Burien, Covington, Des Moines, Federal Way, Kent, Normandy Park, Renton, Tukwila, and King County. The agreement allows for South King County jurisdictions to work together and share resources to effectively address affordable housing and homelessness. SKHHP requires each participating legislative body to adopt its two-year budget and work plan. Council approved both the budget and work plan.

New Water and Sewer Utility Taxes Adopted

Council postponed the discussion of a new 8 percent water and sewer utility tax to November 2.

Illustration of neighborhood with houses and trees.

20-year Plan to Steward Burien’s Urban Forest Discussed

Council placed on the November 2 consent agenda the adoption of the Green Burien Partnership Urban Forest Stewardship Plan. The plan provides a snapshot of the current urban tree canopy and forest health and recommends policies and actions to protect Burien’s existing tree canopy. Council stated that Burien’s goal should be to increase our tree canopy by 10 percent by 2040, which would require adding 38,906 trees, or 1,900 trees per year for the next twenty years.

The plan was developed through the ACE Green Cities Partnership program, funded by the Port of Seattle and administered by the nonprofit Forterra. The program also supports restoration work parties to replace invasive plants with native species.  

Forterra also announced a partnership with the Highline Public Schools. Funding from a state grant will be invested into the planting of trees on school grounds and into providing environmental educational opportunities for Highline youth.

Proposed policies governing the removal of trees on private properties will be presented to Council for consideration in 2021. 

Annual One Percent Property Tax Increase Approved

Council discussed a resolution declaring Burien has a substantial need, which would enable the city to raise the property tax levy by one percent. The resolution will be adopted in December.

State law prohibits jurisdictions from raising property tax by more than one percent each year. Burien’s financial policies require that the property tax levy increase by one percent each year, plus the amount received from new construction. The amount of property tax a city can levy is tied to the Implicit Price Director, which measures personal spending in a community. The IPD for 2020 was .60152. Because the IPD for 2020 was lower than one percent, Burien had to declare a “substantial need” so that the full one percent property tax levy increase could be collected.

Capital Improvement Program Budget

 The Capital Improvement Program provides a working blueprint for sustaining or improving Burien’s public facilities and infrastructure and includes capital projects for parks, transportation, and surface water management. It is approved during the biennial budget cycle.

Overall, current City revenue sources for capital projects are modest with significant grant awards for some projects. The City is actively pursuing other sources of revenue like grants and impact fees. Deferred maintenance may mean more expensive costs in the future.

Examples of compostable and non-compostable food serviceware.

Businesses Will Have Until July 1, 2021 to Get Ready for New Compostables Law

Council placed on the November 2 consent agenda a resolution that would delay the effective date of a ban on non-compostable food service products, making the new effective date July 1, 2021. The delay will help City staff conduct more outreach and allow businesses more time to prepare and order supplies.

Discussion of Solid Waste Management Requirements for Burien Businesses

Council directed staff to bring back an ordinance that would require the following:  

  1. All 'brick and mortar' businesses with a physical location in the City of Burien should be required to maintain garbage, recycling, and compostable solid waste removal services.
  2. Businesses located in the downtown Burien area should be required to equip their solid waste containers with locks.

These new policies were recommended by the Burien Business and Economic Development Partnership (BEDP).

Rainbow flag waving outdoors with sun shining through.

Celebrating Burien’s Diversity

Council approved a proposal to formally recognize a set of national observances that celebrate the many cultures and identities in Burien.

Overview of Enhanced Services Facilities

Staff presented an overview of the process for review of permits for enhanced services facilities. There are currently no proposals to site an enhanced service facility in Burien.

Council Approves Items on the Consent Agenda

Council approved the following items on the consent agenda: updates to the storm drainage master plan and the selection of Habitat for Humanity development as part of the Affordable Housing Demonstration Program. Council also discussed and placed several items on the consent agenda to be approved at the November 2, 2020 meeting. The Council usually follows a “two-touch” process and will often place items on the consent agenda to be approved at the next regular Council meeting.