Council Roundup: July 20, 2020

Community Safety and Police Reform, COVID-19, Budget, Floodplain Code Amendments
Posted on 07/23/2020
Close up of police car.

Council discussed community safety and police reform, why wearing a mask is important to fighting the pandemic, crime rates in Burien compared to other south King County cities, code amendments for buildings in floodplains, and adjustments to 2019-2020 budget.

Wearing a Mask Will Help Halt the COVID-19 Pandemic

Chief Mike Marrs, King County Fire District #2, urged community members to wear a mask or face covering when in public, maintain a minimum of six-foot physical distancing, and wash hands frequently. He stated that we must get control of the virus or we will get another stay home order and see more deaths.

Burien Small Business Relief & Recovery Grants

The City of Burien established a grant program to support small businesses impacted by COVID-19. Grants will be made in amounts up to $5,000 and will be awarded to qualifying businesses. Funding is limited and applications closed July 13, 2020.

The grants are to help those small businesses have been left out of previous economic recovery programs. These grants are intended to help fill that gap and help Burien move forward together.

Preliminary data on the applicants shows that 127 applied and 65 met the grant criteria and will receive a $5,000 grant. The most common criteria that made businesses ineligible is they had received Paycheck Protection Program funding previously. 46% of grantees are minority-owned, 49% are women owned and two were veteran owned businesses.  Grantees will be notified this week, and will receive funding in the next two weeks.

Burien was one of the first cities in King County to launch a small business grant program in response to COVID-19.

Burien Crime Rates Among Lowest in South King County

The City Manager announced a new report that details crime statistics for 2019 in Burien as compared to other south King County cities. According to the report, Burien’s overall crime rate is the second-lowest crime rate in south King County.  

In July, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs released the 2019 Crime in Washington annual report. This report represents the first full year of King County Sheriff’s Office (KCSO) data, which includes Burien data, being reported using the NIBR’s reporting system, the industry standard for reporting crime data.  This move allows KCSO contract cities, such as Burien, to compare their crime data more accurately to other King County cities. The report also contains staffing levels for all police agencies, confirming that the Burien Police Department has the smallest number of staff per capita among all police departments in King County. 

The City Manager stated that the report shows that while we have more to do to reduce crime and enhance services, the Burien Police Department does provide both efficient and effective service, and that the establishment of more robust human services is making a difference. Burien Police Chief Ted Boe will present more detail on the report during the August 3, 2020 council meeting. 

Street flooded with water.

Council Adopts New Floodplain Code, Flood Insurance Study, and Flood Insurance Rate Maps

The City of Burien participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) in regulating floodplains. As a member of NFIP, the City is able to pass along insurance savings to those Burien households located within floodplains or Special Flood Hazard Areas (SFHA).

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and Washington State Department of Ecology (DOE) identified floodplain code amendments that are required to be updated by the community and formally adopted by August 19, 2020.

FEMA also revised the King County Flood Insurance Study and revised the Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRMs). FEMA updated the maps to reflect the most recent flood studies based on new topography and modeling. The new set of maps more accurately depicts floodplain and floodway boundaries and associated information in many areas throughout King County. The Burien City Council approved the code amendments and adopted the revised Flood Insurance Study and revised Flood Insurance Rate Maps for the city of Burien.

The study revealed that of the 359 properties that lived in a flood-prone area, only 65 property owners held flood insurance policies.

Information for Property Owners

If your property is in the floodplain, reach out to your mortgage lender or insurance provider to review your flood protection insurance. 

The City’s Floodplain Administrator, Chad Tibbits, is available for technical assistance at (206) 812-7575 or chadt@burienwa.gov.

People seated around table working on budget documents.

Council Adopts Changes to 2019-2020 Biennial Budget

Council adopted an adjusted 2020 budget to account for the acceptance of a grant award, Council-directed actions, and technical adjustments. These adjustments reflect additional revenues ($30,000) and expenditures ($155,087) for the entire year. Specifically:

  • $30,000 for a grant from the King County Councilmember McDermott’s fund for a Severe Weather Shelter.
  • $200,000 for support for most vulnerable residents affected by COVID-19 pandemic.
  • $25,000 for maintenance of the Burien Annex.
  • $99,913 technical adjustment to the King County Sheriff’s Office contract. This change is due to revised budget projections and does not impact the level of police services delivered.

Close up of police car.

Council Creates a Public Safety Study Task Force

Council had the first of two scheduled discussions on the creation of a task force to address public safety, specifically with how it intersects with police serves. City Attorney Garmon Newsom II detailed statistics on police violence and how it disproportionately affects communities of color. After a lengthy conversation, council voted to gather comments from council on the elements of the ordinance to discuss at an upcoming meeting.

Arts, Parks, and Recreation Work Plans Approved

Council approved through the consent agenda the work plans for the Arts Commission and Parks and Recreation Advisory Board as well as the art selections for the second round of signal box art installations.

Want to hear what’s on the agenda for future council meetings?

You can view the Planning Calendar at the end of each council agenda. This is a living document and is adjusted based on council priorities and speaker availability.