Council Roundup: October 3, 2022

Budget, Arts and Culture Grants, Youth Programs, State Legislative Agenda, Crime Report, Affordable Housing Demonstration Program, Strategic Plan
Posted on 10/07/2022
Close up of Burien Police decal on a police vehicle door.

The Burien City Council adopted new tree regulations and continued discussions of the 2023-2024 budget, Affordable Housing Demonstration Program, and Strategic Plan. They heard a presentation on the latest crime statistics and two new youth environmental programs and issued a proclamation in honor of Italian American Cultural Heritage Month. They began discussions on their lobbying priorities for the Washington state legislative session.

Proclamation Honors Italian American Heritage Month in Burien

The Burien City Council issued a proclamation in honor of Italian American Heritage Month. Members of Casa Italiana Italian Cultural Center accepted the proclamation. The cultural center, located in north Burien, is “dedicated to embracing and renewing the joy and vibrant diversity of the soul and spirit of Italy, including its historical, linguistic, and culinary significance.”

New Programs Support Youth Leadership Development, Outdoor Recreation, and Green Jobs Training

Staff presented an overview of two new grant-funded programs that support leadership development, green job skills development, and enriching outdoor experiences for Burien youth.

The Green Teen Program provided Burien youth with 50 hours of instruction in ecological restoration with the goal of increasing their access to green careers. The program also helped City staff develop a partnership model with DirtCorps and Greenway Trust for future green job training programs.

The eight-week Outdoor Explorers day camp program in Seahurst Park introduced outdoor recreation and environmental education for youth 10-14 years old. The City hired local high school students to serve as recreation leaders. Staff partnered with WELS, South Sound Nature School, Environmental Science Center, Alki Kayak, Des Moines Food Bank, and Y.E.T.I. to provide the program.

Staff are actively seeking grants to continue financial support for these programs.

2021 Annual Crime Report Presented

Burien Police Chief Ted Boe presented the annual crime statistics report. He also shared current staffing data, stating that Burien continues to spend the least amount of money per capita on police in south King County. He also highlighted new programs including dedicated foot patrol for downtown Burien’s commercial area, park and neighborhood patrol increases, hot spot emphasis, implementation of programs that pair mental health and social work professionals with law enforcement, the new storefront resource officer for downtown Burien, and participation in regional public safety programs.

He pointed to trends that will continue to impact police services in the coming months and year, including new police leadership, updated state legislation regarding drug violations and law enforcement policy, continued challenges in hiring and recruiting, and opportunities to improve service through collaborative and multidisciplinary approaches.

Native Land and Peoples Acknowledgment Read for First Time

The City Council adopted through the consent agenda an official Native land and peoples acknowledgment. Mayor Aragon read it out loud for the first time. The acknowledgment will be read at all future City Council meetings and incorporated into other public meetings, events, and materials.

Tree Regulations Adopted, Fines for Violations Begin March 1, 2023

The City Council adopted tree regulations designed to protect trees on private property that go into effect October 12, 2022. Fines will go into effect next March to give City staff time to conduct an education campaign.                        

City Council Begins Discussions on State Legislative Priorities

The City Council discussed the process to develop their 2023 state legislative priorities. The state legislative session will have a few key changes. State lobbyist Lyset Cadena provided insights into things to expect in this legislative session including the possibility of in-person sessions while still allowing for some virtual participation and that the 2022 election will likely shift both the number and membership of policy committees.

The preliminary legislative priorities are healthy and thriving communities, quality of life and economic development, advancing climate progress, and behavioral health.

Staff Present 2023-2024 Budget to City Council

City staff gave the first of several presentations on a proposed 2023–2024 budget to the Burien City Council during their October 3, 2022 meeting.

This was the first presentation that presented details of the proposed budget and focused on the City’s three primary operating funds: General Fund, Street Fund, and Surface Water Management Fund.

Key themes of the 2023–2024 budget include:

  • Maintaining the City’s financially sound position
  • Presenting a balanced budget, aided by use of money from the City Manager’s Reserve Fund
  • Continuing important programs and services
  • Partial allocation of federal pandemic relief (American Rescue Plan Act) funding
  • Maintaining healthy reserves to provide an extra layer of protection for economic risk and unexpected costs
  • Maintaining a balance of funding for a new public works and parks maintenance facility for future use

General Fund revenues are forecast to be $65.8 million over the next two years, with the majority coming from sales tax and property tax. Expenditures will be $70.9 million. Money from the City Manager’s Reserve Fund will make up the difference between revenues and expenditures. Funding from fees, grants, county, state, and federal sources also contribute to General Fund revenues. Intergovernmental revenue will be larger this year thanks to American Rescue Plan Act funding. 

One of the biggest cost drivers of the budget is the contract to provide police services with King County Sheriff’s Office. It’s anticipated that there will be a 9% increase due to the cost of implementing a body camera program, labor costs, and increased insurance costs.

The City’s insurance rates, like insurance rates across the state, have risen because insurance provider Washington Counties Insurance Authority needs to replenish their reserve fund.

The proposed budget also includes a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) that would increase staff salaries by 6% in 2023 and 3% in 2024. The cost of medical benefits will likely rise between 3-4% each year. Staff are also proposing several job reclassifications to reflect more accurately the scope of work being performed in certain positions. A new salary survey, conducted every three years, is scheduled to be presented during the City Council’s October 24, 2022 meeting. 

Two new financial policies are also being proposed. One is to add the Federal Criminal Forfeiture Fund to the City’s list of operating funds to account for money received through participation in the federal task force. It’s also proposed that the Human Services Fund per capita rate increase from $6.92 to $7.62. An annual adjustment of the rate is currently in the City’s financial policies.

The financial policies are guiding principles and best practices that ensure financial accountability and stability. They are adopted and amended by the City Council.

The next proposed budget presentation and discussion will continue on October 17, 2022 and focus on the City’s Capital Improvement Program and other funds. The first public hearing on the budget is also scheduled to take place that same evening.

Download the Proposed 2023–2024 Budget (PDF)

Arts and Culture Grants Will Support Local Organizations

City Council placed on consent agenda approval of the Burien Arts Commission’s recommendations for 2023 Arts and Culture Grant recipients.

The City currently allocates $20,000 each year to grants to support arts and heritage organizations as well as artists who provide cultural opportunities for Burien residents. Another goal is to attract regional artists and audiences that can contribute to Burien’s identity as an arts- and culture-oriented city.

Grants will go to the following organizations in 2023:

Name of Agency Program Description Amount Recommended
Burien Actors Theatre 2023 Season $2,500
Burien Arts Association 7 Stories Program $1,000
Encanto Arts June Concert $1,000
Highline Community Symphonic Band 2023 Concert Series $500
Highline Heritage Museum Sustained Support $3,500
The Hi-Liners Inc. Mainstage Production - Mary Poppins $2,000
Momentum Dance Ensemble 2023 Ballet Productions $2,000
Northwest Associated Arts (NWAA) NWAA Spring Concert $3,500
Northwest Symphony Orchestra 2023 Season $3,500
Orchestra of Flight Orchestral Music to Nontraditional Communities $500


City Council Adopts Framework to Guide Final Development of New Strategic Plan

The City Council continued discussion of a new 3–5-year strategic plan, adopting high-level strategic priorities. City directors and managers will work with the planning consultants to develop a more detailed strategic plan, which will be presented to the City Council later this year. 

Affordable Housing Demonstration Program Discussions Continue

The City Council continued discussion of the Affordable Housing Demonstration Program. They did not approve the proposed changes to the program which would have extended the program to 2025. They will continue discussions at a future meeting.