Burien gets grant for new police officers; ‘Quiet Skies’ will fight airport noise 1By Jack Mayne The Burien City Council was told Monday night (Oct. 3) that it had received a $375,000 federal grant to pay for part of the salaries of up to three additional police officers. and that a new non-profit organization had been chartered to fight additional airplane noise from Sea-Tac airport. Council also was told of a request from Highline Public Schools to implement an impact fee on building permits for new private homes and multi-family apartments and condominiums. Fired City Manager Kamuron Gurol, whose last day is Thursday (Oct. 6), expressed no animosity at leaving and gave “heartfelt thanks to the Burien City Council for hiring me and providing me with one of the most rewarding jobs I’ve ever had. You gave me a wonderful opportunity, I’ve learned a lot, and I’ve enjoyed serving you and this community,” he said (read his full parting letter here). ‘Quiet Skies’ Two members of a new nonprofit citizens group called the ‘Quiet Skies Coalition’ (read our previous coverage here), formed to fight increased airliner noise over Burien instigated by changes in flight patterns ordered by the Federal Aviation Administration, told the Council of its efforts. John Parnass said Quiet Skies Coalition is seeking “legal options, raising funds necessary to support the community effort, launching our advocacy website and a host of other activities.” Parnass told the Council it is a “very serious enterprise” and will work to see that “what is happening to our community will not persist.” During comment session of the Burien Council meeting on Monday night (Oct. 3), Parnass noted the Council earlier had suggested scheduling a public meeting on the noise problem. When will it be scheduled, Parnass asked Council members, and who is to attend the meeting. ‘When will it stop?’ “We need to know why this (added plane noise) is happening and we need to know when it is going to stop,” Parnass told the Council. Burien resident Larry Cripe has been elected to head the Quite Skies Coalition, which, he said, “is gaining momentum daily” with a search for money to finance the group underway. Cripe, a retired Alaska Airlines pilot, said the group would prefer a meeting with the Port of Seattle, the FAA and Alaska, the largest user of the airport. Cripe said he had been contacted by Alaska and plans to meet with their representative soon “to express our concerns as residents of Burien.” “There is probably not a greater threat to the overall community than what is taking place – I can’t reiterate enough the quietness you hear it is only because they (airliners) are in south flow,” meaning when the wind is such that planes take off to the south. “North flow is when we have the good weather and be advised it is not going away and we hope not to have a battle.” School impact fee At the request of Highline Public Schools, the City Council is contemplating an ordinance that would implement school impact fees, a way to charge and collect fees to ensure “all new residential development bears its proportionate share of the capital costs of school facilities” needed because of new residents. The fees would be collected as part of the building permit. After discussion, Mayor Lucy Krakowiak said that since Burien is the first jurisdiction in the district to consider the impact fee, she wanted to hold the matter for further Council discussion at the next meeting. The proposed fee would be $7,528 for a single family home and $6,691 for each unit of a multi-family building. City Community Development Director Chip Davis said the fee would only apply to new residential development and will not be applied to existing homes. The idea of the fee is that growth should pay for growth. Denise Stiffarm of the Pacific Law Group is advising the Highline District on the fee and said similar impact fee ordinances have been widely adopted both locally and nationally. There is nothing unusual in this ordinance over others in the area or state, she said. The formula uses a “student generation rate” to show the impact of single family and multiple dwelling units on the school district, Stiffarm said. Support and objections Rose Clark, co-chair of Highline Public Schools’ Capital Facilities Advisory Committee and a former Burien Councilmember and deputy mayor, said the idea of the proposed ordinance is “growth should pay for growth.” New homes are often coming into “places where we are overcrowded” so there would have to be a new school and that is the reason for the impact fee ordinance. Clark said part of the reason for the district’s $299.8 million bond issue on the November ballot is because “we are overcrowded and more students to come.” The proposed impact fees are “normal and not unusual” for cities in King County but “the fees are not collected here because the city decided not to do that,” but she urged the Council to pass the ordinance and collect the fees. Resident Eric Saalfeld told the Council he opposed the ordinance because it was “overly broad, it’s ambiguous and I suspect it is going to lead to a lot of litigation.” Greg Anderson of Burien said the city reduced property taxes on the new Merrill Gardens development but “you are going to turn around and charge more taxes to just a certain few.” First glance at budget Finance Director Kim Krause laid out the first view of the city’s proposed 2017 – 2018 biennial budget that must be approved by the end of the year. Krause said the city’s assessed valuation increased 7.5 percent and sales tax revenues are projected to grow 12 percent over the current budget. She said utility taxes continue to decline mainly because of the public’s shift from hard telephone lines to cellular and the reclassification of some of their income to data costs, which are not taxable under federal law. The staff recommendation is a $10 increase in the car tab fees – to $20 – that are used for street care and money to manage upkeep of city streets. Because of the nature of how the city taxes residents, the city is more affected by a recession, she said. The city’s utility tax, the sales tax and the property tax account for 72 percent of the entire city general fund. The city gets only 11 cents of every property tax dollar paid with the larger share of 57 percent going to the Highline School District and the state school funds. Grant for more police The proposed budget includes two new police personnel, a sergeant and a detective, and the Burien Police Department on Monday received a U.S. Department of Justice grant of $375,000 that would pay $42,000 per officer, per year of the salaries each of up to three officers. That amounts to about one-third of each officer’s salary. “We can take one, two or three (officers),” Kimerer said. Chief Scott Kimerer said department applied for the grant last year and was told of the approval on Monday. The Council will have to decide if it will authorize the addition of three new police officers, said City Manager Gurol. Upset over Gurol leaving Carol Lumb told the Council during public comment that she was concerned about the loss of City Manager Kamuron Gurol, noting Gurol was always “professional, he was responsive – he was dedicated to making this the best community it could be. I am concerned that we are losing a talented individual by what appears to be a capricious action,” and worries whether a talented successor can be attracted. Lumb said the members who voted for his ouster should say “what goals and policies he wasn’t following.” The Council unanimously approved an interlocal agreement with the Port of Seattle for the 8th Avenue storm water retrofit project that would clear contaminants at the Lora Lake Apartments site. The city has a state grant to up to 75 percent of the design and construction for relocation of water treatment facilities to the street right of way. The port has agreed to pay up to $278,000 of the cost.]]>