City of Brier, Washington

City of Brier FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

We all enjoy city events and would love to see more in Brier. Our team of Parks Board volunteers run the SeaScare Parade, Music in the Park, Dog-O-Ween, Holiday Tree Lighting, Traditional Egg Hunt and more. The Parks Board oversees all event planning, and the city provides modest financial support for equipment, supplies and additional staffing when needed. If anyone has suggestions for future events, the first step would be to attend a Brier Parks Board meeting, held the second Wednesday of each month at 7:00pm.

Not at this time. Residents who've enjoyed taking their dogs to off-leash parks in nearby cities have expressed interest in adding a dog park to Brier's park system. After careful consideration and research, including public testimony and tours of other dog parks, City Council concluded that the costs are just too high for a city as small as Brier. Construction, maintenance, and additional liability insurance expenses just put dog parks out of our league. We'd love to offer Fido a place to run free, but we have to ask dog owners to keep the leash on when in Brier.

Yes. Our website has aged gracefully but is ready for a redesign. This process began in summer 2021, with preliminary content, design and branding discussions. The goal is to have a city website that is simple to navigate, so that citizens can easily find information about city events and get involved in city governance.

No. The city operates on a tight budget and we don't have staff to maintain a Facebook page. Having an active social media presence requires dedicated staff time and also poses data management challenges, in order to comply with the Public Records Act (PRA). Our revised website is intended to be a better resource for residents to find public notices and current information regarding city events.

There are a few closed Facebook community groups administered by local residents; these are private pages and not sponsored by the city. The business of the city must take place before the public, so these closed forums are not the place for official statements or dialogue with the Mayor or Councilmembers. However, city officials love to hear from citizens - so please Contact Us!

Find these documents online on the City Council Agenda and Minutes Page. Agendas for City Council meetings are typically posted to this page the Friday before each meeting, at the same time that they are provided to Councilmembers. By state law, meeting agendas must be posted online no later than 24 hours in advance of the meeting start time. Minutes of City Council meetings are published online after City Council approves them during a regular meeting (usually a 1-2 week delay).

Brier City Council minutes are recorded in the Acrobat format, and are a straightforward recording of actions taken during the meeting: comments, motions, seconds. Members of the public may request a copy of an agenda, agenda packet, meeting recording or meeting minutes by contacting the City Clerk.

Brier is in a solid financial position with a general fund of approximately $3M. The majority of city revenue comes from property taxes collected by the county, and a much smaller portion is derived from sales tax. About 13.6% of each residence's property tax goes to fund the City of Brier, and almost a third of that amount is earmarked for Fire & EMS services. See the Brier Budget FAQ to view the current budget and learn more about the city's budget and sources of funds.

Brier's Annual Budget posted online breaks down revenue and expenses in a fund balance format. Several of the city's funds have restricted balances, so these funds may be spent only in specific ways detailed by municipal ordinance or state law. On the whole, the city maintains a sustainable budget with city staff and emergency services as its largest expenses. The Mayor and City Council are exploring possible options to increase revenue for the city from several sources, and regularly fund projects in collaboration with county and state agencies. Contact Mayor Kaemingk or the City Clerk with questions about the annual budget.

Brier citizens support our police and want to retain our independent police department. We value the security of our community and the small town feeling that comes with local police officers who know our residents and neighborhoods.

Staffing and funding a small police force is an ongoing challenge for small cities - and Brier is no exception. We manage our budget with fiscal prudence, with an eye to the long-term financial health of our city. When negotiating contracts for services and employees, we and are mindful that contracts we enter today set the basis for future negotiations.

Many cities similar in size to Brier have made the decision to contract for law enforcement services with a neighboring city or the county. This includes the cities of Woodway, Kenmore, Shoreline, Granite Falls and Snohomish, and others.

Cities opt for this for several reasons, including the challenges of staying fully staffed and the higher overhead costs for management, training, insurance, equipment, paperwork handling, etc. These costs exist for small and large departments alike, but scale to a lower per-officer cost when a department has more employees.

We could hope that officers would stay in Brier longer if we paid more, but retention is not simply a matter of pay and Brier can't match the salaries that larger cities pay. So why is that?

First, there is overhead and ongoing expenses of maintaining a police force. This includes a police chief, a records person, police cars, maintenance, training, equipment, etc. For Brier that is amortized over far fewer officers than other police departments. It is also why we don't have other specialized capabilities like our neighboring cities. Ultimately, this means we start with a higher percentage of our costs allocated to overhead than larger municipalities.

We do our best to make Brier a great place to work, pay an equitable wage, and offer good benefits. When it comes to compensation, Brier strives to maintain a pay scale equivalent to that of cites that are "comparable" to Brier. Comparable cities for Brier aren't necessarily the cities right next door, like Lake Forest Park, Mountlake Terrace or Kenmore. Rather we look at cities west of the Cascades, of similar size with roughly similar budgets and communities. The selection of comparable cities and compensation analysis is done by both the city and the police union as part of the contract negotiation process.

The second part of the answer is that although pay can sometimes be a short-term help, it does not generally contribute to longer term retention. Many officers are looking for advancement in career, perhaps a broader range of experience, or other opportunities that our city does not afford them. That said, there are some candidates who prefer a smaller city's pace and sense of community.

Brier has "Mutual Aid" agreements with neighboring cities such as Mountlake Terrace, Lynnwood, Edmonds and Mill Creek, where officers from one city will respond to another city's calls for assistance. These agreements are common and serve to promote cooperation between agencies during critical situations.

In July 2021, Brier signed a short-term agreement with the Snohomish County Sheriff for additional coverage during a staffing shortage. The Sheriff's office provided an interim Chief and additional officers as needed.

Brier welcomed its new Police Chief Nick Almquist in January 2022 and will phase out the agreement with the Snohomish County Sheriff as the Brier Police Department is able to reach target staffing levels.

The minimum lot size in Brier continues to be approximately ¼ acre. There are a few small areas where lots are smaller, mainly due to annexation. New construction within the City of Brier must conform to standards detailed in the Brier Municipal Code, including a maximum lot coverage of 45%, adequate setbacks, structure height, landscaping, tree removal, in addition to the minimum lot size of 12,500 square feet.

It can be disappointing to lose the rural feel of the neighborhood when pasture is subdivided for new housing. However, it is within the land owner's right to develop their property as long as they conform to city and state laws.

Brier has great wooded areas and beautiful big trees. When a lot is subdivided and developed, trees often must be removed in order to prepare land for the construction of houses, streets, drainage, and underground holding tanks. Brier's code has strict requirements around tree removal and stormwater management, to preserve a natural landscape and control runoff to protect property and waterways. Sometimes it is possible - and encouraged - to leave original trees, especially at the edges of a developed lot.

Many trees that are more than 8 inches in diameter are considered "significant trees" and are provided additional protection under city code. Homeowners or developers must acquire a permit prior to the removal of any significant tree. Tree permits are classed as "minor" (fewer than 5 significant trees) and "major" (6 or more significant trees, part of a development, or in a critical area). Any healthy significant trees that are removed as part of a major permit must be replaced two for one - so two trees planted for each significant tree removed. In time, these new trees should help reestablish a healthy tree canopy.

Plant a tree! Request a City of Brier Tree Certificate with an email to Brier's City Planner. This program, in partnership with the Washington State Nursery and Landscape Association, provides homeowners with $50 vouchers toward the purchase of a tree. Some restrictions apply to the tree species and possible planting locations.

Paine Field opened a commercial terminal in March 2019 and Brier is beneath a flight path. Having a nearby airport is super convenient for locals, but when planes fly right overhead, it can be unpleasant. The airport has limited control of flight paths, but works with the FAA to manage, track, and address noise complaints within a 10-mile radius of the airport (which includes Brier).

Citizens are encouraged to submit a noise complaint or call the hotline: 425-284-0500 regarding planes that are too loud or too low. You'll need to know the day/time that the plane passed overhead, whether it was commercial, freight, private or military, and (if possible) which direction it was headed.

There are some strong feelings about fireworks. Some families love them, some families - not so much. We've heard from responsible citizens who just want to light a few fireworks off on holidays, and from dog-owners, veterans who suffer from PTSD, and firefighters who hope never to hear a firework again. In 2015 a majority of Brier citizens voted in favor of an advisory to ban fireworks within city limits. Following this vote, City Council took action and fireworks have been banned by city ordinance since 2017. All of Brier's surrounding cities have followed suit in recent years by also banning fireworks; and in 2021 Snohomish County added a ban in south county unincorporated areas.

If Brier were to allow fireworks again, we could expect increased fireworks participation and parties from neighboring communities on July 4 and New Year's Day. Even those of us who love the smell of sulfur are forced to admit that it's not a great idea to be the only game in town.

Online bill pay will be available starting in April 2022. Brier residents will have the ability to pay with a credit card online, or may continue to pay with check or cash.

Until then, the city accepts checks or walk-up payments. Many citizens have auto-payments scheduled through their bank's online bill payment software - for that we ask that you provide 10 - 14 days lead time before the bill's due date.

The process for repair of the North Brierwood bridge has begun. The bridge, which spans Scriber Creek between 214th Pl SW & Elm Way, was scheduled for maintenance & repair in 2022 per Brier's Capital Facilities Plan (last page). The bridge deteriorated faster than anticipated, and was closed for safety in August 2021. At this point, the structural deficiencies have been identified and the repair proposal is in for environmental review. Although we are not able to estimate when the repairs will be completed, we are hopeful to see progress soon and will keep citizens updated. We love this bridge for its practical shortcut and sweet opportunity to view wildlife (Hello, Mr. Otter!), and continue to work toward a solution.

Information regarding Snow/Ice for residents

The City of Brier has identified a snow removal route including the primary streets and many hills that may be problematic during a snow or ice emergency. When it snows, the city plows focus on the snow route first, to provide safe passage for first responders. Then the snowplows move out to address other streets. Brier will continue to focus on the snow route if snow continues to accumulate or additional attention is needed. With limited staff and equipment, we are unable to fulfill every plowing request we receive.

City plows sometimes travel with their blades lifted. This is the case when sand and/or salt material may have just been applied or is in the process of being applied, or the plow is simply traveling place to place at the request of law enforcement or similar. It is not advised to travel over approximately 15MPH while plowing.

If it's necessary for you to drive in snow, make sure you plan ahead! The Brier Public Works team, Snohomish County and neighboring cities clear roads according to the maps listed below:

Brier Snowplow Routes Map
Snohomish County Snow Removal Map
Mountlake Terrace Priority Snow Routes Map
Kenmore Snow and Ice Routes Map

The city operates 2-3 trucks with snow plows, depending upon snow accumulation and available staff. Our plows are equipped with rubber bits to prevent damage to raised pavement markings, utility castings, and other infrastructure; therefore ice, compact snow, and heavy slush is difficult to remove.

People are surprised to see our plows do not remove the snow to bare pavement, but this is typical when using rubber bits and is the standard for Western Washington. The plows remove recent snow accumulation and we spread course road sand as needed for traction. During particular events or in specific areas where ice forms on the roadway, rock salt may be used in combination with the sand to assist in the melting process.

A clear and clean road surface is typically only possible with a combination of the heat and friction of regular traffic and chemical compounds that prevent ice from forming, or bonding to the road. The City of Brier is not equipped to use De-Icing or anti-Icing liquid products such a as Calcium Chloride or Magnesium Chloride. These chemicals require specialized storage tanks and application equipment, and degrade our road surfaces and cause corrosion to vehicles. In addition, the city is mindful of the threat regular use of these chemicals poses to vegetation, streams and wildlife.

Plow operators do not intentionally block driveways with berms of snow. Plows are typically angled to the right and streets are cleared from the center line to the road edge. If an operator sees a resident has attempted to clear their driveway, they will often attempt to straighten the plow blade to carry the snow past the cleared driveway. At times this may be difficult due to the weight or amount of snow being pushed, and it may roll off both sides of the plow blade causing a berm in both the center of the roadway and the driveway apron.

When clearing your driveway, pile the snow on the right hand side. Then when a plow passes it will not push as much snow back into your driveway.

Also See - Our Budget FAQ Page

Brier City Hall | 2901 228th St
  • SW | Brier, Washington 98036
    (425) 775-5440 | Fax (425) 672-9025 |

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