Burien City Council Prepares To Approve Adjustments To Biennial Budget
Burien lawmakers are poised to approve adjustments to the city’s 2012 budget on Nov. 28, following a second public hearing on next year’s spending plan and property tax levy.
The first public hearing was held at the city council’s Monday night meeting (Nov. 14), at which Burien Finance Director Kim Krause told them there will be no property tax increase in Burien next year.
In fact, a statutory limit on what the city can collect in 2012 will result in a decrease of approximately $467,000 in property tax revenues compared to the current year.
“For the first time in many years, the city will receive less property tax next year than this year,” noted City Manager Mike Martin.
Krause said this will result in a small property tax reduction in Burien, but she could not specify at this time how much it will be.
City council members adopted a 2011-12 biennial budget last year, which included general fund spending of 20,362,411 this year and $20,375,199 next year.
The budget revisions will increase projected 2012 spending by $436,963.
State law requires local governments to adopt their budgets for the following year by Dec. 31.
In addition, Krause presented a proposed policy change to reallocate 90 percent of property tax revenues to the general fund and 10 percent to the Capital Projects Reserve Fund.
The current policy, adopted by the council in 2004, allocates 80 percent of property taxes to the general fund and 20 percent to the Capital Projects Reserve Fund.
Councilwoman Lucy Krakowiak expressed concern about shifting an additional 10 percent of property tax revenues to the general fund.
That prompted Councilman Gordon Shaw to “wonder if Councilwoman Krakowiak is asking for a tax increase,” since that allocation is designed to maintain a balanced budget without increased revenue.
Krause said general fund expenditure amendments for 2011 and 2012 total $889,263. These are:
- Reduced salaries and benefits, $211,287.
- Increased red light camera professional services, $428,000.
- Increased SCORE Jail startup expenses, $216,750.
- Increased King County District Court costs, $356,000.
- Increased litigation attorneys’ fees, $125,000.
- Miscellaneous expenses for annexation, $100,000.
- Increased miscellaneous services (voter registration, city newsletter, utilities, city memberships), $74,000.
- Decreased King County Sheriff’s police services contract, $200,000.
General fund revenue amendments include:
- Increased sales tax revenues to reflect 2011 activity, $84,343.
- Decreased utility tax revenues to reflect actual receipts, $997,140.
- Increased permit revenues to reflect 2011 activity, $500,000.
- Increased liquor tax and profits to reflect 2011 activity, $180,000.
- Decreased Seattle City Light revenues to reflect actual results, $300,000.
Total general fund revenue adjustments reflect a decrease of $335,292.
Krause earlier told The B-Town Blog that while Initiative 747 allows local governments annual property tax increases of 1 percent or the rate of inflation, whichever is less, “the city has received notification from the King County Assessor’s Office that the preliminary assessed valuation [of property in Burien] is 9.23 percent lower than 2011.
“Due to this reduction, the city can only collect the statutory limit of $1.60 [per $1,000 of assessed value], which is approximately $467,000 less than 2011,” Martin said. “As the values of homes go down, people pay less property taxes,” Martin said.