By Mellow DeTray

Here’s a recap of Monday night’s (Jan. 9, 2023) Burien City Council regular meeting:

2023 Deputy Mayor Election
The meeting began with the election – by Council vote – of Kevin Schilling to continue his role as Deputy Mayor for another year. The vote was split 4–3, with three Councilmembers favoring Cydney Moore for the position.

City Manager’s Report: Opioid Settlement & Chief Boe’s Return
The City has received the first installment of the Washington State opioid settlement money. The $518 million settlement with three major opioid distributors is being shared between dozens of Washington communities. Washington State independently sued the opioid distributors, rather than accepting a national settlement, gaining the state $46 million more than if they had gone along with the original settlement. The settlement money is meant to be used to alleviate the various problems caused by the opioid epidemic, and Burien plans to work with other local municipalities to use the funds for a cohesive, intercity plan.

In other good news, Police Chief Ted Boe has returned to the Burien Police Department. He recently graduated from the FBI National Academy, a rare accomplishment for a police chief and Burien’s first FBI Academy graduate on the force.

Public Comments
Comments included thanks to the Council for another year of public service, specifically for work on climate action, increasing tree regulations, and renter protections. Another community member asked Council to add flooding issues in Boulevard Park to the Planning Calendar, as drainage problems in that community still need to be addressed.

Arts & Culture Grant Allocations
The Burien Arts Commission was able to fully fund, for the first time, all 11 of its grant applicants, totalling more than $38,000 in requests. This historic moment was enabled by the Council doubling the Arts budget this year, from $20,000 to $40,000. Recipients of arts funding grants include the Hi-Liners, Momentum Dance Academy, Burien Actors Theatre, Northwest Associated Arts, and Northwest Symphony Orchestra.

2023 Local & Governmental Appointments
The remainder of the meeting was an amicable discussion of who among the Council would like to serve on which committee or forum for the year. Each position vote was supported unanimously. Some seats changed; for example Sarah Moore will now be serving on the Airport Committee, with plans to keep Burien’s Climate Action Plan front and center during discussions. Sarah is also excited to continue to serve on the Water Resource Inventory Area (WRIA) 9, which she says she learns so much from and will never want to give up. Jimmy Matta will take on the “ex officio” (non-voting) position with the Burien Economic Development Partnership (BEDP). Cydney Moore is officially able to serve as a full member of the Domestic Violence Initiative (DVI) Regional Task Force, after being an alternate for the past year. This position requires being chosen by the organization itself, rather than election by Council. Mayor Sofia Aragon will stay on as Public Issues Lead (PIC), and City Manager Adolfo Bailon will serve on the Highline Forum, which deals with impacts from the Airport. There are about 15 organizations Councilmembers serve on, with most including both a lead and alternate member, and nearly all Councilmembers commit to multiple different committees or forums.

The video of this meeting can be found here.

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 16 years raising her family in Burien. She has volunteered at many local establishments over the years, including the Burien Library, Burien Actors Theatre, and Hot Feet Fitness. After working for 10 years at Burien Community Center, she moved on to teaching fitness classes and to work the front desk of a Burien yoga studio. For many years Mellow kept a moderately popular cooking & lifestyle blog, and she had a brief stint in political journalism during a local election. Clear and informative writing has always been a side hobby of Mellow’s and she looks forward to bringing you unbiased coverage of City Council meetings.

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