by Jack Mayne Even though the financial outlook for Burien is improving along with the state’s economy, a 1 percent increase of resident’s property taxes was given initial consideration by the Burien City Council. The Council on Monday night (Nov. 2) began the process of increasing the city’s property tax by 1 percent for 2016 during the start of its mid-biennial review of the 2015-2016 Budget. With some additions proposed, the city budget will remain balanced. Police to cost more City Finance Director Kim Kraus said the city currently has a structural deficit, where revenues grow slower than expenditures: No.1-Rev-vs She said the police contract will increase $450,000 in 2016 and the contract grows faster than any other expenditure. Burien contracts with the King County Sheriff’s office and the amount takes up more than half of the city’s budget. Krause said city revenues are a bit down and flat until 2017 because the sales tax rebate that came with the incorporation of the southern part of the North Highline Unincorporated Area expires. All of the city’s current construction has brought in an additional $275,000 in permit fees and a reauthorization of the Legislature has increased the city’s liquor tax revenue by $170,000. But revenue from the utility taxes are decreasing by an estimated $250,000 because people are “getting rid of their land lines and partly because of the way cell phone carriers are allocating revenues,” said Krause, calling some of their revenues from data which isn’t taxed. Some revenue increase “Another good news item is the real estate excise tax,” she said. “We’ve increased those by $475,000. We’ve had some big sales in the last year – large commercial properties and multi-family complexes.” On the expenditure side, Krause said there is a 1 percent cost of living adjustment for city staff, down from the 2 percent originally proposed in the city budget. Krause told the Council that some additions to the second year of the biennial budget include $200,000 each for “potential litigation (as needed)” and for its contract for District Court services because of a higher number of DUI cases. Another addition to the budget is $81,500 for lighting and security cameras at Town Square and Dottie Harper Park and $60,000 to pay for off-duty police officers to monitor the City Hall/Library lobby and parking lot, she said. Some other capital improvement additions were made, she said, but they were mostly offset by grants and donations. ‘Substantial need’ She said the staff is asking the Council to declare a “substantial need” for the 1 percent increase in the property tax, noting that one of the “needs” is the increase of “over $450,000 for the police contract.” BurienPropTax1 Krause said the average Burien resident pays $13.63 per $1,000 (chart No. 2, above) of assessed valuation and Burien gets $1.59 of that amount, about 12 percent of the total property tax, while about 56 percent of the property tax dollar goes to schools with the Highline School District getting $5.38 and the state school fund getting 2.28. Krause said the Council would be asked at the Nov. 16 meeting to approve the budget changes.]]>

Senior Reporter Jack Mayne passed away in December, 2021. In his honor we have created the Jack Mayne Journalism Scholarship.

9 replies on “Burien City Council considers 1 percent increase in 2016 property taxes”

  1. If that’s what it costs to bring more safety and security to Burien through the continued enforcement of Ordinance 624, that’s money well spent. More support given to law enforcement always brings about a positive net return to the community through the reduction in crime. It’s sad that Berkowitz will inevitably fight this increase as her disdain of law enforcement is so well known and it would effect her fan club.

    1. I agree with you we need to fully fund our police, but the fact is that will happen regardless of the “substantial need” being adopted or not. The cost of the police will be funded by cutting some less essential expenditure yet we don’t know what that is because it is not mentioned in the resolution. They are trying to scare you with the threat of danger to the police services to gain support for this increase. Also, the $2 million for Capital Partnerships is a general fund revenue, they could very well use some of that since they did not respond to my question of if we actually had gotten interest from any other government agencies or organizations. CM Robison’s comment was very illustrative. He pointed out that if we adopt a smaller increase, we would have a lower baseline next year and would not be able to increase taxes as fast. That is exactly my point. I’m glad he gets it. 🙂

  2. Wouldn’t getting the empty business spaces in Town Square and the Bartell’s complex bring in additional tax dollars? For a thriving downtown, Burien should have no empty retail space. Residents would have more retail to spend their tax dollars at.

    1. Charging high rent to pay off the investment is one thing, having somebody shooting up in your doorway also breaks the potential deal with most interested leasing parties.

  3. Never, ever, ever, ever let the middle class keep any of what they might get in an upturned economy. Even from a weak upturn like this one.
    Take it from them as soon as you can.

    1. I agree with Jimmy Jr. and with Carol’s comment on filling those empty business spaces. THAT should be the motivation for increased tax revenues. Property owners aren’t open checkbooks for union contracts, litigation troubles (thank you lawyers!) and failed, wasteful actions by the City (annexation attempt and that empty Fire Station off Ambaum).
      Taxman, you’re killing me! Burien property owner lives matter!

  4. ALL the money Burien needs can be done with a little effort. Open a City owned Legal Pot shop. Tax the stoners.. not the homeowners. No New Taxes….

  5. Not a big deal. Each city has to do this EVERY year. Folks, cities and other jurisdictions are limited by the constraints of I-747, and are limited to 1% a year. Do establish their budget, they must announce that they intend to take the 1%. Cities used to be able to take 6$, but I-747 nixed that.
    Burien has done this before, as have many other cities and jurisdictions. Nothing to see here people….

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