Home Local Government July 24 City Council Meeting Focuses on Minimum Wage

July 24 City Council Meeting Focuses on Minimum Wage

by Martin Barrett

Public comment was overwhelming in favor of raising the minimum wage. At least six unions showed up, including the Teachers Union, Highline Education Association, Working Families, Labor Coalition, and Transit Union all spoke in favor. Alongside were ten people, some from unions and some private individuals who also lent support. Only two voices spoke up against it. 

In an irony, at the start of the meeting, John White pointed out that in recent City Council Meetings, comment has been cut short due to the significant number of non-Burien speakers. In this set, the majority, once again, were not from Burien.

It was clear that the majority of the council was in favor of raising the minimum wage. It was also clear that most of the council believed that, unlike other cities such as Tukwila, where the increase was instituted by a citizen-led initiative, this needed to be council-led in Burien. 

Council Member Jimmy Matta put forth the following motion, which Deputy Mayor Kevin Schilling seconded:

“I move to direct the City Manager to conduct a study on minimum wage ordinances adopted by other cities and bring back a recommendation for a councilmatic process to establish a minimum wage in Burien.”

The motion was approved unanimously.

At the meeting, Schilling shared that City Manager Bailon had worked long hours over the past week and created an organization in Renton to provide housing for the Burien homeless population. City Manager Bailon said the facility had 116 beds available. Bailon did not expect Burien to use them all. The City is waiting on the King County Regional Homeless Authority for approval. There was very little information presented. For example, does this option qualify for using the $1,000,000 put forward by King County for Burien to find housing? How long will the City be financially responsible for the cost? We await greater clarity.

Bailon also mentioned that the City is now aware of RCWs and state law requiring the City to move forward in filling the planning commission seats vacated in protest to Charles Schaefer’s dismissal. Burien News brought this forward last week. Bailon said the staff would put a process together quickly. As noted in the article, the process and application are already established. Why the delay?

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