Council Roundup: November 21, 2022

State Legislative Agenda, Property Tax Levy, Surface Water Management Service Charges, Budget, Comprehensive Plan, Planning Commission Work Program, Vaccine Mandate
Posted on 11/30/2022
Detail of illustrated notes from Burien 2044 Visioning Workshop.

The Burien City Council approved their 2023 state legislative agenda, an increase to the property tax levy and surface water management service charges, continued discussion on the 2023-2024 biennial budget, heard presentations on themes emerging from city planning outreach, previewed the Planning Commission’s 2023 work program, made amendments to the Rental Housing Inspection Program, approved recommendations to enhance communication with the Business and Economic Development Partnership (BEDP), approved a meeting schedule for 2023, and repealed the vaccine mandate for City staff.  

2023 State Legislative Agenda Approved

The City Council approved their 2023 state legislative agenda. Priorities featured in the agenda include healthy and thriving communities, quality of life and economic development, advancing climate progress, and behavioral health.

Property Tax Levy Increase Approved

The City Council approved a 1% increase to the 2023 Property Tax Levy. Property taxes constitute the City’s second-largest revenue source and help to fund general operations such as parks and police services.

Increase to Surface Water Management Service Charges Approved

The City Council approved a 10.1% annual increase to the Surface Water Management (SWM) service charges to adjust for inflation. SWM fees are the primary revenue source for Surface Water Management Fund which maintains and improves the City’s storm drainage system.

2023-2024 Biennial Budget and 2023 Financial Policies Discussed

Staff reviewed the process and key themes of the 2023-2024 biennial budget. Proposed changes to the City’s financial policies for 2023 were also presented, which include the addition of a Federal Criminal Forfeiture Fund to create a new account for funds related to the City’s participation in a federal task force and increasing the per capita rate for funding Human Services programs from $6.92 to $7.62 to adjust for inflation. The City Council directed $75,000 go to support house weatherization and heat source conversion installation and outreach. They also adopted doubling the Arts and Culture Grant program, increasing the annual amount from $20,000 to $40,000. Both the 2023-2024 budget and 2023 financial policies are scheduled for approval at the City Council’s next meeting on December 5, following the third and final public hearing on the budget.

Major Themes Emerge During Comprehensive Plan Major Update Outreach

The City of Burien is reimagining a long-term future of our city through a coordinated planning effort called Shape Your City that combines major updates to the Comprehensive Plan, Transportation Master Plan, and Parks, Recreation and Open Space Plan. Staff presented an overview of community engagement efforts and feedback specifically related to Comprehensive Plan topics.

Across more than 20 events and hundreds of comments collected via workshops, surveys, and an interactive map, staff identified the following themes:

  • 15-minute neighborhoods
  • Access to parks, trails, and shorelines
  • Equitable investments in city infrastructure and services
  • Prosperity and opportunity for jobs and businesses
  • Housing variety and affordability

A Comprehensive Plan Advisory Committee is currently forming and will begin meeting in January 2023. Both Councilmember Hugo Garcia and Deputy Mayor Kevin Schilling were appointed to the advisory committee. The first meeting of the new committee will occur January 25, 2023.

Planning Commission Previews Work Program for 2023

Planning Commission chair Charles Schaefer presented an overview of the commission’s accomplishments in 2022 and provided information about the upcoming work program for 2023.

Projects the Planning Commission worked on in 2022 include:

Projects identified in the Planning Commission’s 2023 work plan include:

  • Ambaum and Boulevard Park Community Plans
  • Burien 2044 Comprehensive Plan Major Update
  • Green Codes
  • Housing
  • Downtown and 1st Avenue economic development and zoning
  • Burien downtown TOD site
  • Housing Demonstration Program: ecoThrive
  • Housekeeping zoning amendments

Rental Housing Inspection Program Amended

The City Council placed on the consent agenda for the next regular meeting amendments to the Rental Housing Inspection Program. The amendments clean up and clarify language.

Recommendations to Enhance Communication and Collaboration Between City Council and the BEDP Adopted

The City Council approved recommendations from the Business and Economic Development Partnership (BEDP) to establish a joint City Council/BEDP meeting in the fourth quarter of every year and to appoint a representative from the City Council each January to attend BEDP meetings for a one-year term.

2023 City Council Regular Meeting Schedule Approved

The City Council approved the 2023 regular meeting schedule. City Council meetings will continue to be held on Mondays at 7 p.m.

Vaccine Mandate for City Employees Repealed

The City Council repealed a vaccine mandate for Burien employees in response to the decreased threat of COVID-19.