Council Roundup: September 20, 2021

Proclamations, KCSO Use of Force Policies, New Staff, Bond Rating, CDBG, SKHHP, Sustainable Airport Master Plan, Refugee Support, Employee Vaccine Mandate
Posted on 09/23/2021
Photo of COVID-19 vaccine vials on white background.

The City Council issued two proclamations, heard an update on new use-of-force policies from King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO), announced an intention to extend Burien’s eviction moratorium through December 31, approved contracts to support new technology in council chambers and evaluation of the Sustainable Airport Master Plan (SAMP), passed a resolution to support refugees, and approved a vaccine mandate for City of Burien employees.

Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month and National Recovery Month Proclamations

Burien City Council declared September 15–October 15 Hispanic/Latinx Heritage Month in Burien. The City of Burien is celebrating by hosting three events: Welcoming Burien on September 18, B-Town Fiesta on September 25, and Día de los Muertos as a virtual event in November. Liliane Ballesteros, executive director of Latino Community Fund, accepted the proclamation.

The City Council also declared September as National Recovery Month, stating support for King County’s Recovery Month theme, “Recovery is for Everyone: Every Person, Every Family, Every Community.” Kate McIntyre, clinical programs director at Navos, and Kathleen Murphy, behavioral recovery specialist at King County, accepted the proclamation.

King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) Updates Use-of-Force Policies

Jesse Anderson, KCSO Patrol Operations Chief and Erin Overbey, KCSO Legal Advisor, presented an outline of policy updates that govern KCSO deputies’ use of force. The updates expand KCSO’s existing policies that limit use of force and helps the agency comply with new state laws implemented by the legislature this spring. Following is a summary of the policy updates:

  • Deputies must use the least amount of force necessary. This is known as duty of reasonable care. When possible, deputies must exhaust available and appropriate de-escalation tactics prior to using force. Law enforcement officers may use physical force in limited circumstances, including protecting against criminal conduct where there is probable cause to make an arrest, to effect an arrest, prevent escape, or protect against imminent threat of bodily injury.
  • Obstructing a law enforcement officer cannot be used as the sole justification for using physical force. Use of physical force must end as soon as the necessity for use of force ends.
  • Shooting at a moving vehicle, warning shots, shooting from a moving vehicle, and anything that restricts blood or air flow are prohibited. KCSO had already stopped training its new recruits in these techniques prior to the state law prohibiting these tactics was passed.
  • There are separate rules for responding to a person in mental health crisis. Deputies are required to stand by and defer to designated crisis responders unless a crime occurs or there is an imminent threat to a person. Deputies must have permission to enter residence and per new state law, must walk away if there is no voluntary cooperation when no imminent threat or crime has been committed. Unlike other law enforcement agencies, KCSO is still responding to all calls for service.
  • Deputies are allowed to conduct investigative detentions (Terry Stops) and conduct pat down searches for weapons, but they are not allowed to use physical force in conducting the detention.
  • Deputies are not allowed to engage in vehicle pursuits unless they have established probable cause for a violent offense, sex offense, or driving under the influence. KCSO expanded the policy to include a requirement that dangerous driving must be observed before a vehicle pursuit occurs.
  • Law enforcement officers have a duty to intervene if they observe any use of force that violates their own policies regardless of the agency using force’s policy. They are also required to take action to stop the force if possible and report it to a supervisor.

New Staff Introduced

Four new staff members were introduced:

  • Carla Lundgren, Assistant Planner (Community Development)
  • Alexis Williams, Parks & Facility Maintenance Worker (PaRCS)
  • Andrew Mitzel, Customer Service Representative III (PaRCS)
  • Eric Torres, Project Manager - Limited Term (Public Works)

Grant Funding to Support Flood Mitigation

The City Manager announced that a study of localized flooding in the Boulevard Park neighborhood will be presented to the City Council on October 25. He also shared that King County Flood Control District had awarded the City funding for this study and for another project to improve drainage on Occidental Ave S.

City’s Bond Rating Upgraded to Aa1

The City of Burien has had its bond rating upgraded from “Aa2” to “Aa1” after a credit opinion issued on August 24, 2021 by Moody’s Investor Services.

Extension of Eviction Moratorium through December 31, 2021 Discussed

The City Council directed staff to present an ordinance during their September 27 meeting that will extend Burien’s local eviction moratorium through December 31, 2021. The purpose of the extension is to give more time for rental assistance funding to be distributed. The City Council also agreed that a letter should be sent to King County that expresses the need for faster distribution of rental assistance funds, emphasizing this will support both tenants and landlords.

Federal Grant to Support Human Services and New HVAC System for Burien Community Center

The City Council discussed allocation of $265,309 in federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funding for 2022. The funding must be used for planning or administration costs, human services, or capital projects that serve low- to moderate-income Burien community members. The City of Burien is a “joint agreement city” with the King County Community Development Block Grant Consortium. King County produces annual reports to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) on behalf of the Consortium and Joint Agreement Cities and implements HUD guidelines for funding allocations.

Approval of the proposed use of the funding was placed on the next meeting’s consent agenda. The funding will support:

  • Planning/Administration: $45,743 for continued use for staff salaries and benefits to administer the City's CDBG program.
  • Human Services: $45,743 for continued support of the Southwest Youth and Family Services New Futures program at the Alcove at Seahurst Apartments. The Human Services Commission recommends this allocation.
  • Capital: $173,823 for the Burien Community Center Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) Replacement project. The Parks and Recreation Advisory Board recommends this allocation. This project is in the design phase, which is being funded by a previously awarded $90,000 grant from the King County Veterans, Seniors, Human Services Levy. The Burien Community Center’s HVAC is 50 years old and is at the end of its life, causing irregular temperatures and additional labor costs so staff can be physically present to make adjustments in temperatures for event and staffing needs. This system serves the main foyer/customer service desk area, the Shorewood Room, and the administrative area. When the City acquired the building and conducted renovations in 2009, a new multi-zone HVAC system was installed to serve all the program rooms. However, there was insufficient funding at the time to also extend the new system into the original zones of the existing unit. This project is necessary to continue providing heat, air conditioning, and ventilation to the building for the public and staff. The City is also taking steps through the Hazard Mitigation Plan to ensure that the Burien Community Center meets emergency shelter building standards, where heat and cooling are imperative.

South King County Housing and Homelessness Partners Work Plan and Budget Approved

The South King Housing and Homelessness Partners (SKHHP) was established through an interlocal agreement between nine cities and King County to work together and share resources to increase and preserve affordable housing in South King County. Their annual work plan and budget must be approved by each member jurisdiction and the Executive Board.

The 2022 work plan will focus on strategic planning, reporting progress to stakeholders, administering and allocating the SKHHP Housing Capital Fund, helping member jurisdictions develop housing policies and programs, and representing South King County at local and regional decision-making forums. The plan builds on the previous two years of work establishing the SKHHP Housing Capital Fund through pooled public resources, increasing philanthropic and corporate investment through the creation of a SKHHP 501(c)(3) fundraising branch, and establishment of an advisory board to ground decision making in community needs and interests. The 2022 budget increases jurisdiction contributions by 15 percent to help the organization work toward a balanced budget, increase staff capacity, and consider a compensation structure for advisory board members.

Council Approves Funding for Council Chambers Technology Upgrade

The City Council approved a new contract and budget to enhance City Council Chambers so they could support public meetings that allow simultaneous in-person and virtual attendance.

A significant upgrade to City Council Chambers technology was completed in March 2020, just as virtual public meetings were starting to occur. This upgrade included new audio and visual equipment and improved systems to facilitate a better experience for staff, councilmembers, and meeting attendees. Those upgrades were made to support in-person meetings. Since the completion of that project, City leadership made the decision that City Council meetings should support both in-person and virtual attendance and participation. Therefore, additional modifications to the audio-visual system are required to support this hybrid meeting experience.

Budget Increase for Consultant Approved to Help the City of Burien Respond to SeaTac Airport’s Sustainable Airport Master Plan

The City of Burien has joined with the Cities of Des Moines, Normandy Park, and SeaTac to hire a consultant to help them evaluate and respond to the SeaTac Airport’s Sustainable Airport Master Plan. The Port of Seattle has communicated that the publication of environmental impact documents has been delayed. This means the contract must be extended. The City Council approved a $100,000 budget increase for the consultant contract.

Resolution Encourages Burien Community Members to Welcome and Support Immigrants and Refugees

The City Council approved a resolution that encouraged support for immigrants and refugees seeking to live in Burien. The resolution encourages Burien community members to welcome, host, and support immigrants and refugees.

City Employee Vaccine Mandate Approved

The City Council approved a vaccine mandate for City employees, effective November 1, 2021. The mandate applies to volunteers, including advisory board and commission members.