The City of Burien, like municipalities across the country, is facing the economic, social, and human impacts of the pandemic, rising inflation, skyrocketing housing costs, aging infrastructure, and the need to create climate change-resilient cities. Public safety, affordable housing, and addressing homelessness are top concerns for Burien residents according to responses to Burien’s latest community survey. As Burien grows, there are opportunities to change how we provide service to our community.
All of these factors, including a new strategic plan, which is still being developed, and the plan to use federal pandemic recovery funding, will influence the next budget cycle.
“Our goal is to have a balanced budget and maintain a financially sound position while continuing to provide important programs and services,” said Adolfo Bailon, Burien City Manager. “We will continue discussions about ways to address some long-term financial and operational structural issues, level of service goals, and related budget impacts, and discuss possible revenue options to ensure the City’s financial outlook remains healthy in the years ahead.”
A city’s budget serves as the financial plan for the City. In the current budget, the main priorities are to provide public safety services, street and storm drainage maintenance, City parks maintenance, and recreational activities to residents.
The City pays for these services through property tax, sales taxes, utility taxes, fees and service charges, and grants from county, state, and federal sources.
The City received $10.8 million in federal funding to aid our community and local government’s recovery from the pandemic. The community provided input on the priorities for spending and the investment plan approved by the City Council in September will be incorporated into the next two biennial budgets.
The City Council begins public discussion of the budget in October which will continue through December, when the final budget is adopted. Public involvement in the budget process is crucial to ensuring our City budget reflects community priorities.
Tax Revenue 101
The City pays for services and programs through various revenues including property tax, sales taxes, utility taxes, and fees and service charges. Grants from federal, state, and county governments also make up a portion of the City’s total revenues.
Property tax is one of the City’s major revenue sources, accounting for approximately 26% of all projected revenues for 2023. Property taxes are distributed to the state, county, city, and several other taxing authorities including public schools, Sound Transit, and the local fire district. The City receives a relatively small portion of a property owner’s total bill.
State law limits the amount of property tax that can be assessed to $10 per $1,000 assessed value. Cities are not allowed to collect more than $5.90 per $1,000 assessed value on properties. King County receives a portion of property tax for roads, police, criminal justice, public health, elections, and parks, among other services.
Learn more about what it takes to develop a City budget in this installment of “Your City at Work”.