Message from the Burien City Council (Fall 2023)

We hope you will stay engaged as we discuss ways to raise revenue for essential city services, public safety, neighborhood planning, and more.

For the last six months, we have been working to address one of the most difficult and complex issues to face our community. People living unsheltered in our community are experiencing extreme vulnerability. Their presence also challenges our community’s sense of safety.

Many of those conversations have been difficult, but one thing we do agree on is that none of us want to see people living unhoused. Since the causes of homelessness are complex and individual—from losing a job or experiencing a sudden financial challenge such as a medical emergency, to mental health or substance use disorders—our approach to addressing the impacts of homelessness should be as well. 

We have taken steps to get closer to some solutions. We have directed the city manager to seek a site for temporary shelter. Our human services funding supports programs that helps address root causes of homelessness. And, over the last two years, we have approved almost half of the City of Burien’s $10.8 million allocation of American Rescue Plan Act funding to pay for public safety and human services programs. Those programs enhance our currently under-resourced public safety system and support programs that can alleviate poverty and prevent homelessness.

Burien is not a well-resourced city. If you were to divide our total City government budget by each person and compare it to other cities in our region, you would find that we have one of the lowest spending levels in the region. That impacts our ability to address the many challenges faced by our community.

But even with so few resources, our impressive staff comes to work each day to serve our community well. From maintaining our roads and parks to offering afterschool programs, and ensuring public safety through emergency services and building code compliance, our staff do their best to meet the many demands and needs from our community.

We’ll be beginning our mid-biennium budget process soon. This is when our staff ask for minor adjustments to the budget to meet emerging needs and issues.

To support that work, we are exploring many options to raise revenues. We hope you will stay engaged as we discuss ways to raise revenue for essential city services, public safety, neighborhood planning, and more.

Get involved

We encourage Burien residents to understand and follow the business of the City as well as discussions on specific topics that are brought before the City Council.

We want to hear from you! Public comment is an important way for the City Council to hear from residents and businesses. Ways to provide meaningful input include:

Burien City Council

As the City's governing body, Burien's seven elected City Councilmembers establish City policies and laws, adopt an annual budget, approve appropriations, contract for services, and grant franchises. City Councilmembers serve staggered four-year terms; roughly half the Council is up for election every two years. All Councilmembers are "at-large" meaning that they serve the City as a whole as opposed to a specific district.

The City Council chooses a Mayor and Deputy Mayor from among its members at the first meeting of the new year following an election. The Mayor presides at Council meetings and represents the City at ceremonial functions and inter-governmental meetings. The Deputy Mayor presides in the Mayor's absence.

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