With council members Pam Fernald and Dave Bush absent because of illness, the SeaTac Council held a short, non-contentious meeting on Sept. 25.
Lawmakers met with the Highline School District’s dynamic new superintendent, Susan Enfield.
Enfield noted the district had received a “nice bump” in the latest state test scores, particularly in math.
She said the district is forming a new strategic plan and described teachers, principals, family and community partners and central staff as essential elements in providing a good education to students.
Enfield agreed with Deputy Mayor Mia Gregerson that the district has issues with truancy and discipline. She noted that African American and Latino students have a suspension rate three times that of other groups. She vowed to work on the disparity.
Enfield told Councilmember Barry Ladenburg that the district is seeking to graduate all students prepared to enter a four-year college. College should be a viable option but students should choose what path they want to take, she noted. She added that students haven’t been exposed enough to vocational options.
The city of Burien would balance its 2013-2014 budget by taking $1.4 million from its fund balance, according to the preliminary budget submitted Sept. 24 to council members.
The amount of the fund balance would still remain above the council’s policy of having 10 percent in contingency reserves. However, City Manager Mike Martin warned that the contingency fund could run out by 2016 if the city does not fix its structural deficit. City staff is recommending that the council increase Burien’s general fund reserve to 20 percent by 2022.
The proposed budget totals $72.2 million in all funds with $44 million for the general operating fund.
Martin told lawmakers that two main factors are preventing the city from matching outgoing expenditures with incoming revenues without dipping into reserves.
The ongoing recession has “decimated” property tax revenues because of declining home values, Martin said. The city expects to lose $1.7 million in property tax revenues during the two years of the upcoming budget cycle. City officials estimate Burien lost an additional $467,000 in property taxes this year.
Please join The City of SeaTac in the grand-reopening South 154th Road Improvement Ribbon Cutting Ceremony.
WHO: The City of SeaTac
WHEN: Wednesday, October 3, 2012, 11 a.m.
WHERE: Crystal Manor Apartments, 3020 South 154th Street
Ceremony in Parking Lot
DETAILS: This event is free and open to the public. Improvements include 3,400 lineal feet of new sidewalk, bicycle lanes, street lighting, a continuous two way left-turn lane, street lighting, lighted pedestrian crossing, retaining walls and street trees. Additionally, overhead utilities were relocated underground, and storm water facilities were improved. Total length of the project is 2,800 linear feet.
The project, which began in March of last year, was aimed at increasing pedestrian safety and traffic conditions for all commuters on the road. Contributions were made from the Federal Highway Administration, Transportation Improvement Board and Sound Transit. For more information visit www.ci.seatac.wa.us.
By Gwen Davis
Normandy Park experienced a wave of drama recently when several residents complained that the California-based Hanbleceya – a company serving individuals with mental illness – opened treatment facilities in their neighborhood.
The five homes Hanbleceya either bought or rented house individuals with mental illness and drug addiction issues.
However, rumors that the company will soon expand their facilities to Burien and Des Moines are unfounded.
“I don’t have any knowledge of that happening here,” said Mike Martin, Burien city manager. “I am aware of the general issue and we’re monitoring it.”
Des Moines Assistant City Manager Lorri Ericson gave a similar statement: “We are not aware they have any plans at this time.”
Dr. Ian Wolds, clinical director at Hanbleceya said plans for expansion is a nonissue.
“We will not be opening any treatment facilities in Burien or Des Moines,” Wolds said. “The only facility in the Seattle area is in the Normandy Park Towne Center… We have no specific plan to buy or rent houses in either of these areas as our needs are being fully met.”
The City of SeaTac has received the first overall municipality 5-Star EnviroStars Certification rating from the EnviroStars certification program that recognizes businesses on their environmentally friendly practices and policies.
Government facilities usually submit as individual departments and are certified independently as SeaTac’s Parks/Public Works Maintenance Facility did previously in 2011.
The City worked closely with EnviroStars Program Manager Laurel Tomchick and submitted the very first overall city government application earlier this year that included the Parks Maintenance Division, Public Works Maintenance Division, Fire Stations, City Hall, Facilities Division, and Community Center, that also encompassed parks properties (buildings and public land areas), public works properties and right of way practices, along with city staff behaviors and practices.
Two prominent Highline city staffers are leaving for other cities.
Normandy Park City Manager Doug Schulze was selected Wednesday night, Sept. 19 to become the city manager of Bainbridge Island. The town has a population of 23,000, considerably larger than Normandy Park’s 6,000.
While Schulze is going west to Bainbridge Island, Burien Community Director Scott Greenberg is headed east to another island, Mercer Island where he will be Development Services director.
Schulze denies that Normandy Park’s financial woes led him to bail out of the city.
“Almost every city or state has financial problems,” Schulze told the Highline Times. “Normandy Park’s problems may be a little more severe. But they were not a factor in my decision at all.”
Instead, Schulze noted, that after managing smaller cities for the majority of his career, he was looking to head a larger organization.
He said he has been admiring the 26 square-mile city for a number of years.
“It is an attractive community with lots of potential and some new challenges.”
Harbor Urban press release:
Harbor Urban, LLC presented new conceptual design plans for the proposed development of Phase II of the Town Square Project to Burien city staff on Sept. 14.
Construction of the proposal put forth by Harbor Urban would begin with a 173-unit high-quality, market-rate apartment community on Parcel 5.
Development of the conceptual plan was a collaborative effort lead by Harbor Urban with input from City staff, property management firms and market study experts.
The development of a residential complex in downtown Burien will contribute to a vibrant Burien Town Square. Harbor Urban’s plans for Parcel 5 reflect decades of experience designing and developing Transit Oriented Developments and urban mixed use projects throughout the Puget Sound region.
Amy Hoffman, development manager for the project with Harbor Urban said, “We feel very good about the direction the design is headed. The conceptual design takes into account features that are important to the City of Burien and to the sophisticated renter of today. It’s a thoughtful, quality building that continues to help activate the Town Square and the City of Burien.”
Burien City Manager Mike Martin assured Beverly Park and Glendale residents that there would be no abrupt changes if their neighborhoods annexed into Burien.
Martin made his remarks Sept. 13 at the latest in a series of annexation information meetings at Beverly Park Elementary School. White Center and North Highline residents will vote on annexation at the Nov. 6 election.
“The general theme is we will do as little as possible the first year,” Martin said. “We will talk to the neighbors, be very attentive, and try to accommodate everyone.”
On zoning, Martin said the city would try to match as closely as possible the current King County zoning.
The city manager said Burien is not proactive in looking for code violations and relies on citizen complaints.
“One guy’s rusty automobile is another father’s project with his 16-year-old son,” Martin noted. “We want people to solve their own problems without too much government regulations.”
He added the special districts such as sewer and water will stay the same with annexation.
The controversial topic of public employees compensation was the focus of the Sept. 11 SeaTac City Council meeting as lawmakers voted on a 4-3 vote to approve new contracts for city workers.
Employees will receive a 2.6 percent raise, which is 95 percent of the regional Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA), plus qualify for longevity bonuses. In turn, the employees will pay 1 percent more on their medical insurance premiums.
The contract covers 2012 through 2014.
The previous contract with the city’s labor union expired in December. SeaTac reached a tentative agreement on Aug. 14, which union members have ratified.
Non-union employees will receive a similar deal.
Councilmember Rick Forschler said the city faces an unusual situation where the cost of living is going up but the economy remains down. He said it is unfair to others whose wages are not increasing or who are out of work.
He also noted lawmakers had anticipated a 2 percent employee pay increase when approving the 2012 budget. The almost 3 percent increase meant lawmakers also needed to amend the budget to account for the increases.
The Puget Sound Regional Council is recommending $10.1 million in funding for projects serving SeaTac, Burien and Des Moines, part of more than $440 million in federal funds proposed by PSRC to improve transportation around the region.
Projects in Des Moines include:
• Barnes Creek Trail - $380,000
• Connecting 28th/24th Avenue South (S. 208th St to S 216th St) - $3,000,000
Projects in SeaTac and Burien include:
• South 188th Street Overlay, International Boulevard to 46th Avenue South - $585,000
• Lake to Sound Trail – Segment B - $1,000,000 South Corridor Transit Expansion Project (Sound Transit) - $1,000,000
• South Link (Sound Transit) - $4,264,839
“These projects were selected on their merits and support the region’s economic development and growth,” said Bellevue Councilmember Claudia Balducci, chair of PSRC’s Transportation Policy Board. “When Congress approved these funds earlier this year, their focus was on growing and sustaining jobs. These projects, large and small, will put people to work and sho