Long-range Financial Plan

In 2018, the City of Burien hired the FCS Group to develop a long-term financial plan for the City of Burien. The group evaluated the City’s long-term financial health, focusing on the following financial challenges:

  1. The expiration, starting in June 2020, of the sales tax annexation credit that the City received for annexing the North Highline neighborhood.
  2. Revenues, in particular property taxes, which are limited to no more than a one percent increase each year, are not keeping pace with the cost of providing services.
  3. The need to enhance services for youth, hire additional police, and invest in a new community center.

Long-term Financial Plan in Detail

Read the City of Burien General Fund Long-term Financial Plan Final Report (May 2019)

The FCS Group identified several strategies to help prevent this structural imbalance, grow services for youth and public safety, and ensure the City’s finances were able to weather any future downturns in the economy. The strategies presented in the plan included both revenue gap solutions and strategies to enhance services. As of October 2019, Council has only approved three revenue options (see below).

Revenue Gap Solutions

  • Council Action Revenue Options: City Council has authority to approve certain revenue options. The plan provided several options including increase of Seattle City Light franchise fee, a 6% utility tax or franchise fee on water and sewer, increase of the business license fee, increase of the gambling tax, and increase of the B&O tax. Council adopted as part of the financial planning process an increase in the gambling tax from 8% to 11%, directed staff to negotiate with Seattle City Light to increase their franchise fee from 6% to 8%, directed staff to negotiate with water and sewer districts for the imposition of a 6% utility tax or franchise fee.
  • Potential Expenditure Reductions: This plan illustrated the impact of an annual reduction of expenses, which would result in reduced services to the Burien community.

Enhanced Services Options Requiring Voter Approval

  • Public Safety Sales Tax: This plan designates funding for four additional police officers and enhanced youth services. Does not solve revenue gap.
  • Creation of Metropolitan Parks District: This plan designates funding for a new community center, two additional police officers, and enhanced youth services.
  • City Manager’s Option: This plan adds additional police officers, enhances youth services, and uses a combination of council-action revenue options and voter-approved options to increase revenue. Several versions of this option, with different property tax implications and expenditure levels, were presented in the plan.

Watch Council discussions of the long-range financial plan and alternative revenue options: