By Jack Mayne A new budget with thoughts of tax increases and the invasion of low flying and noisy turbojet planes were featured at the special meeting of the Burien City Council Monday night. The meeting (Aug. 22) also featured the physical return for the first half of the meeting of Councilmember Lauren Berkowitz, a phone-speaker voice for most of past eight months. LarryCripe082216Airplane noise before city budget Retired Alaska Airlines pilot Larry Cripe (pictured, left), who lives on 23rd Ave SW, said he has become “extremely concerned over the last four weeks about the new aircraft noise … and spent many hours on the phone with the FAA discussing what is going on.” Before the Council slipped into biennial budget mode, longtime area resident Cripe said low plane flyovers started about three weeks earlier during the rev-up of Seafair with the turning of flights taking off and turning westbound during Blue Angel practices. Cripe says he is tracking on an application on his phone and sees 50 or 60 northbound – primarily turboprop planes – turning over Burien, starting around 4 a.m. “It goes to 10, 11 o’clock at night and sometimes they are every five to 10 minutes,” adding that some of the flights are “as low as 1,500 feet.” He said he discussed the flights with the Federal Aviation Agency locally and “the head guy” says they are “trying to disperse the noise around Puget Sound.” The noise of the turning planes “is significant” Cripe said. “As a community, I can tell you now that if we are not careful and allow this to continue they are going to shove it down our throat and we are going to be impacted in a very big way – we are going to have flight paths that are going straight down to Des Moines.” “As a city, we are going to have to get involved and I am going to be very active in pursuing to terminate this process,” Cripe said. Even at 2 a.m. Nearby resident Robbie Howell said the neighborhood has “become a flight path that is waking me up at 4 or 5 in the morning and before that 2 in the morning and 3.” Howell said a few of the turboprop planes have expelled fuel onto her. “I hope you do what you can to help us,” she said. No increase in property tax Resident Charles Schaefer recommended no increase in the property tax levy, so that it will be easier in later years when the city loses a sales tax payment it receives for annexing part of North Highline. Pick up those #@& chips Byron Richardson lives on a gravel one-lane road serving seven residences, and one new resident has dumped woodchips on the side of the road, chips that have remained for many months. He said he filed a complaint with city staff and complained at a City Council meeting in early June. “I have heard nothing to date, no response,” Richardson said, for the third time of his complaint about the wood chips. “I’m getting quite fed up with it.” And still no reaction from the city, he said. Only one tiny fee hike Finance Director Kim Krause gave the biennial review of the proposed budget, followed by an obligatory public hearing at which since a requested increase – a $10 flat fee per vehicle tab renewal – was proposed. Krause said that most cities allocate all of the property tax income to the general fund, but Burien allocates only 90 percent of property tax to the city’s major fund and the rest to the capital projects expense reserve fund. Most cities have taxes on water and sewage utilities, as does Burien, she said, which are in the “middle range.” Councilmember Nancy Tosta wanted to know when the Council had the opportunity to review and perhaps change the way city money is allocated to human services, and the amount was set at 1.25 percent of the city general fund. Gurol said the Council did see the list. Tosta said maybe, but she didn’t know when. “I wasn’t super happy at how we did it last time,” Tosta said. Berkowitz, attending in person for only the second time this year, said it was a case of the staff coming to us and “saying this is how you are going to spend the money.” She said the same method was done recently when the city staff came up with plan to increase police presence. “It is time to upgrade that direction,” Berkowitz said, adding new directions could order how human services funds were distributed to groups and agencies. Gurol said that could be a problem since agencies applied for money on the basis of the outlines the city sent out earlier in the year. “We would need majority direction” of the Council to change the policies on how human service money is distributed, not simply the suggestions of Tosta and Berkowitz. Mayor Lucy Krakowiak said the Council should be aware of the timing of the cycle so it could contribute changes in a timely fashion. Not so fast, said Berkowitz, who added that when she said she wanted changes last year, she was told it was too late, and here she is again being too late to make changes. “That is a little too disingenuous,” Berkowitz said. No B&O increase asked Gurol said the city staff was not proposing an increase the Business and Occupations (B&O) tax for the coming biennium. Tax rates and the businesses it covered were changed in the last budget. But, the city staff was proposing doubling the city car tab fee to $20 a year, the city manager said. Krause said a $20 fee would raise about $350,000 a year. Another solution would be adopting water and sewer franchise fees, but there are seven different water districts serving Burien, making requiring the districts to identify city residents. Also, Gurol said other cities are eying similar fees – SeaTac just repealed under citizen pressure their franchise fees, but Des Moines and Normandy Park are adopting the fees. The estimated income could be $850,000. The city staff also wants Council approval to spend $2 million to replace major software and telephone systems and the technology in the Council chambers, which features microphones that do not work. The budget timetable is for a final, approved one on Nov. 21 with several budget hearings at meetings until then.]]>