Council Roundup: April 17, 2023

Proclamations, Crime Reduction Pilot Program, BEDP, City Revenues, Youth Summer Camps, Opioid Settlement
Posted on 04/25/2023
Children sitting outside at a park waving at camera.

The Burien City Council issued proclamations, heard a presentation about a crime reduction program, appointed members to the Business and Economic Development Partnership, discussed revenue options to stabilize City finances, voted to re-instate City-sponsored youth summer camps, approved the City’s participation in an opioid settlement agreement, and called for a statement clarifying who directed residents of the encampment around Burien City Hall to a new site.

Proclamation Raises Awareness about Mental Health

The City Council issued a proclamation in honor of Mental Health Awareness Month. The theme of the proclamation focused on how our surroundings impact mental health and highlighted the need to strengthen our mental health care system.

Proclamation Honors Jewish American Heritage Month

The City Council issued a proclamation in honor of Jewish American Heritage Month, the first time the City Council had acknowledged the heritage celebration.

The proclamation acknowledged and celebrated the crucial contributions Jewish Americans have made to a just and fair society including leading movements for social justice and working to ensure that the opportunities they have secured are extended to others.

“Hot Blocks” Crime Reduction Program to Provide Focused Patrols in Areas Experiencing Higher Crime Rates

Burien Police Chief Ted Boe presented on the pilot “hot blocks” program to reduce crime. A King County Sheriff’s Office crime data analyst will identify three blocks per month where a high number of 911 calls are received. A police officer and vehicle with emergency lights running will be deployed to that block for 12- to 15-minute intervals. The police unit will leave then come back every 90 minutes. The program is set to run through this summer, with results presented to the City Council in six months.

The program uses patrol resources, which means some non-emergency calls for service may have a longer response time. Priority calls will always be responded to quickly.

Similar programs have been deployed in other cities like Dallas and resulted in significant reduction in crime.

Business and Economic Development Partnership Appointments Made

After interviewing the final candidate for the Business and Economic Development Partnership, the City Council appointed six community members to the advisory board. Linda Akey currently serves on the advisory board.

  • Linda Akey
  • Dean Anderson
  • Marie Bravo
  • Richard Creamer
  • David Hinshaw
  • Anne Sivley

Revenue Options to Stabilize City Finances Discussed

The City Council discussed options they could take to address the City’s forecasted budget deficit and increase the City’s long-term financial stability. The options include:

  • Increase B&O tax from 0.1% to 0.2% would increase 2025 revenues by $1.7 million
  • Increase tax on sewer and water utilities from 8% and 10% would increase 2025 revenues by $.4 million
  • Increase building and planning permit fees would increase 2025 revenues by $0.1 million

These increases, totaling $2.2 million, would eliminate deficit to maintain existing service levels. To increase city services, voter-approved revenue options such as levy lid lift and parks district would be necessary.

The City Council asked staff to bring back options for them to take action on the revenue options they have the power to approve. They will be discussing other options, including a voter-approved levy lid lift and additional expenditure reductions, at a future meeting.

Summer Youth Camps Coming Back in 2024

The City Council voted to re-instate City-sponsored youth summer camps in 2024. It is forecasted that the camp will earn enough revenue to pay for the staff and supplies necessary to implement the camp.

City staff presented an overview of the in-house summer camp programs for first through ninth grade youth that was offered until 2019. The ten-week program, full day program offered arts and crafts, environmental science curriculum, dance, swimming at the Evergreen Pool, and weekly field trips to destinations around King County. Summer Teen Scene was a traveling summer camp that ferried participants on expeditions that included hiking, swimming, camping, kayaking, rock climbing, visiting museums, urban experiences, and more.

In its last year of operation in 2019, each program cost $150 per week and scholarships were available for up to 50 percent of the cost of two weeks.

The programs were popular, and every week was booked and had a waiting list. Many of the youth who participated in the summer camp programs would come back to be volunteers in the program and later be hired as recreation leaders who helped run the program.

In 2020, due to pandemic and budget constraints, the City cut the summer day camp program. They instead supported a summer camp in partnership with Boys and Girls Club, and in 2022 and 2023, they partnered with Skyhawks Sports Academy to offer summer camp experiences.

City to Receive Funding from Opioid Settlement

The City Attorney presented an update on a settlement agreement between the State of Washington and five pharmaceutical companies. Because the City joined the lawsuit, they will receive a share of the $217 million that will be directed to Washington local governments for use on projects to abate the opioid crisis. Burien is expected to receive an annual payment from this second settlement in the amount of just over $3,457.

The City Council discussed ways for Burien to have a voice in statewide conversations about use of funding. They approved the City’s participation in the opioid settlement agreement.

City Council Calls for Official Statement on Encampment

The City Council discussed Planning Commission Chair Charles Schaefer, and his actions on the night of March 30, 2023 in communicating with residents of the encampment around Burien City Hall and directing them to the lot at 6th Ave SW and SW 152nd St.

The City Council voted to issue a statement that Charles Schaefer and Councilmember Cydney Moore were the ones that shared the information, not the City of Burien. They acted on their own and not in their official City role.

Council Reports and City Manager Report

During their Council Reports, Councilmembers shared their personal views on how to address short- and long-term investments in housing and addressing homelessness. The community was also encouraged to participate in the 4th of July parade, which will be celebrating its 100th anniversary.

The City Manager provided an update on work to find shelter and services for people living in an encampment in downtown Burien. He also provided an update on the current status of the state legislative session, including laws addressing drug use and possession, property tax, and affordable housing.

Consent Agenda and Planning Calendar

The City Council approved the City of Burien taking over management of a hazardous waste collection and recycling program that is shared with Normandy Park. The grant funding supports recycling collection events. The King County grant was previously administered by the City of Normandy Park.

The City Council asked staff to bring back information for permitting requirements for churches and organizations to open homeless shelters in Burien. This is also a topic on the Planning Commission’s agenda.