Council Roundup: January 4, 2021

Deputy Mayor Election, Human Trafficking Awareness, COVID-19, Utility Tax Relief Program, Growth Targets, Plastic Bag Ban, Council Retreat
Posted on 01/07/2021
Dart board.

Council elected a deputy mayor, issued a proclamation marking January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Burien, provided an update on COVID-19 in Burien, discussed updates to the utility tax relief program, discussed the process for establishing housing and employment growth targets, passed x to plastic bag ban, and discussed topics for the upcoming Council Retreat.

Krystal Marx Re-elected Deputy Mayor

Council elected Krystal Marx to serve as deputy mayor through December 31, 2021. This will be her second term. Deputy Mayor Marx commented on her nomination, “I would look forward to serving in this position in the next year as we move out of this pandemic and find more ways for council to work together.”

Photos of silhouettes.

Proclamation Human Trafficking Awareness Month

Council issued a proclamation to mark January as Human Trafficking Awareness Month in Burien. Prior to reading the proclamation, the Mayor stated that combatting human trafficking requires the cooperation of law enforcement, businesses, and community members. He also recognized the work of local organizations and law enforcement combatting human trafficking in our community, including:

If you need to get or give help, please call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

COVID-19 Update

Council heard an update on local and regional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic from Chief Mike Marrs, King County Fire District #2. He noted that cases continue to be high in south King County and in Burien.

Vaccinations have begun for group 1a, which includes health care workers and high-risk patients at skilled nursing and long-term care facilities Some of the key hurdles to vaccination are funding, number of doses available, and having enough trained people to give vaccinations. King County estimates 14,000 doses per day for six months to get to 70 percent of entire King County population vaccinated.

Marrs also noted that the new variant is more contagious, but that the strategies we’ve been using to fight spread of COVID are still are most effective tools: wearing a mask, continue to physical distance, wash your hands, and stay home if you are sick. It’s more important than ever that we continue to practice these measures we don’t overwhelm our local health care system.

Utility manhole cover.

Utility Tax Relief Program Update

Council heard an update on planned improvements to Burien’s Utility Tax Relief Program. Improvements to the program will include adding water and sewer utility taxes, improvements to the application process, and increased publicizing of the program. The expanded program is set to launch in October 2021 so rebate checks can be issued in mid-December. More information will be released later this year on how community members can apply for the rebate program.

New Representatives Selected for Local and Governmental Organizations

Council selected who will represent Burien on the local and governmental organizations. The final list will be published in the next City Manager’s Report.

Person holding plastic bag.

Burien’s Plastic Bag Ban Suspension Adapted to Align with State Law and Emergency COVID-19 Measures

Council passed a resolution to align the end date of Burien’s suspension of the plastic bag ban with the Washington State law banning plastic bags at retail points of sale. Resolution No. 427 temporarily suspended the Burien plastic bag ban and $0.10 pass through charge for paper bags in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and support local workers.

Adoption of this resolution harmonized Burien's ordinance with the State's waiver and suspension of the state equivalent law, so that whenever the state waiver and suspension expires without renewal, Burien’s suspension shall also expire.

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2044 Growth Targets Discussed

Council discussed the process for developing 2044 housing and employment growth targets. Setting these targets now will aid in a major update to the Comprehensive Plan scheduled for 2024.

What is a growth target?

Growth targets are planning estimates. They serve as a policy statement about how much future growth—in the form of housing units and jobs—is being planned for in the next planning horizon from 2024 to 2044 based on forecasted growth for the region. It is a planning tool used by King County to allocate growth targets set by the state Growth Management Act (GMA), adopted in 1990, which requires all Washington counties to accommodate forecasted growth. The process to develop growth targets requires collaboration with King County and similar jurisdictions.

Burien is a considered a “core city” by the Growth Management Planning Council (GMPC). Core cities are located right outside King County’s metropolitan cities.  Currently, King County is convening with all cities within King County including all the core cities to discuss these targets in order to collaboratively determine local growth targets. Core cities are anticipated to accommodate 40 percent of King County’s population and 45 percent of the County’s job growth. This equals 113,000 new housing units and 222,800 new jobs countywide between 2019–2044.

Next steps

  • January 2021: Consensus on countywide draft targets will be established.
  • February/March: Public review draft available which will be presented to Growth Management Planning Council (GMPC)
  • June 2021: GMPC approval of the countywide growth targets
  • Summer: Council discussion on scope of work for major update to the Comprehensive Plan

2021 Council Retreat.

2021 Council Retreat Topics

Council is scheduled to hold a two-day, virtual retreat on February 20 and 27, 9 a.m.–noon. The retreat will be open to the public, but no public comment will be accepted. The purpose of the retreat is to provide an opportunity for Council to discuss long-term goals and initiatives.

Proposed topics include:

  • Development of a 2021-26 Strategic Plan
  • City of Burien’s Ten-Year Financial Plan
  • City Infrastructure Assessment and Needs
  • Public Safety Services
  • Climate Action Plan
  • Economic Development
  • Housing Action Plan Development and Implementation
  • Human Services Alignment and Strategy
  • Sea-Tac Airport Operations
  • Equity and Inclusion in City Operations
  • Community Engagement
  • Post-COVID-19 Recovery
  • Summary of current staff workload