City staff gave the first of several presentations on a proposed 2023–2024 budget to the Burien City Council during their October 3, 2022 meeting.
This was the first detailed presentation of the proposed budget and focused on the City’s three primary operating funds: General Fund, Street Fund, and Surface Water Management Fund.
Key themes of the 2023–2024 budget include:
- Maintaining the City’s financially sound position
- Presenting a balanced budget, aided by use of money from the City Manager’s Reserve Fund
- Continuing important programs and services
- Partial allocation of federal pandemic relief (American Rescue Plan Act) funding
- Maintaining healthy reserves to provide an extra layer of protection for economic risk and unexpected costs
- Maintaining a balance of funding for a new public works and parks maintenance facility for future use
General Fund revenues are forecast to be $65.8 million over the next two years, with the majority coming from sales tax and property tax. Expenditures will be $70.9 million. Money from the City Manager’s Reserve Fund will make up the difference between revenues and expenditures. Funding from fees, grants, county, state, and federal sources also contribute to General Fund revenues. Intergovernmental revenue will be larger this year thanks to American Rescue Plan Act funding.
One of the biggest cost drivers of the budget is the contract to provide police services with King County Sheriff’s Office. It’s anticipated that there will be a 9% increase due to the cost of implementing a body camera program, labor costs, and increased insurance costs.
The City’s insurance rates, like insurance rates across the state, have risen because insurance provider Washington Counties Insurance Authority needs to replenish their reserve fund.
The proposed budget also includes a cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) that would increase staff salaries by 6% in 2023 and 3% in 2024. The cost of medical benefits will likely rise between 3-4% each year. Staff are also proposing several job reclassifications to reflect more accurately the scope of work being performed in certain positions. A new salary survey, conducted every three years, is scheduled to be presented during the City Council’s October 24, 2022 meeting.
Two new financial policies are also being proposed. One is to add the Federal Criminal Forfeiture Fund to the City’s list of operating funds to account for money received through participation in the federal task force. It’s also proposed that the Human Services Fund per capita rate increase from $6.92 to $7.62. An annual adjustment of the rate is currently in the City’s financial policies.
The financial policies are guiding principles and best practices that ensure financial accountability and stability. They are adopted and amended by the City Council.
The next proposed budget presentation and discussion will continue on October 17, 2022 and focus on the City’s Capital Improvement Program and other funds. The first public hearing on the budget is also scheduled to take place that same evening.