UPDATE: Kent Police Levy Fails

Chief says department has no back-up plan for special election or other levy attempt

It's unclear if another attempt is in the works for the Kent Police Department to raise money for a new police station via voter initiative following Tuesday's defeat of Issue 11, which would have paid to build a new safety building in Kent.

The issue, which would have raised Kent's income tax from 2 percent to 2.25 percent, failed by 923 votes, according to final but unofficial results from the Portage County Board of Elections.

Kent residents cast 4,240 votes for the tax increase and 5,163 against the tax, according to the board of elections.

Kent Police Chief Michelle Lee posted this message on the department's Facebook page this morning:

"Although Issue 11 didn't pass, I am pleased with the number of voters who were in support of the levy," Lee said. "To all of you 'Yes' voters out there, thank you. To those of you who voted 'No,' we hope to change your mind about the issue."

She said in a previous interview there is no immediate plan to put another type of tax increase on an upcoming ballot to build a new police station.

"To my knowledge there is no 'Plan B,'" Lee said. "And it's really not what the department does next, it's what the city decides to do. If they decide to put us in a building, (like) the Tops building ... where they put us or where we locate we'll do our best.

"Depending on how we operate and where we're actually located will affect our efficiencies," she said. "And it will affect how we operate and the way we service the community."

Kent Safety Director William Lillich said safety administrators will take the issue back to Kent City Council for consideration, the Record-Courier reported.

The roughly $1.3 million the tax increase would have generated each year would have paid for property acquisition, design, construction, maintenance and repairs, future expansion or replacement of a new police building.

The most recent estimate for replacing the aging police station is $18.36 million, including property acquisition, construction and furnishing the new building.

Multiple architectural studies have concluded the existing station is in such a state of disrepair and has been modified so many times that the best option is to replace it.

Lee said she thinks the state of the existing building hinders the department's ability to do its job.

"We've gimped this building along for the last 17 years or so, since 1995," she said. "It can't be ignored for another 17 years. Eventually the city's going to have to spend money on a building."

Ted M November 08, 2012 at 03:01 AM
I wish they would read the patch. Every reason this failed is right here in everyone's responses. I can't help but wonder if everyone knew this was a perminant tax? Did the city try and pull a fast one on us? I hope not
Teresa K. November 08, 2012 at 04:23 AM
@Ted: Believe it or not, I think they most certainly WILL have read this or had it pointed out to them. No doubt in my mind : ) This issue will come up again. The City had better show more specific info for residents. I would love to see how much money went for repairs, how many maintenance employees are there, and a list of what repairs are done daily and I'd like to see that for at least the last year. Maybe I'd like to see it for the last 17 yrs. I might learn some tips to keep my place gimping along.
Ted M November 08, 2012 at 04:37 AM
@ Teresa. Lol. Gimping along. It's only because you have a ton of cash in your basement that the city really want. 17 years it's a long time of doing nothing how to fix a problem. I use to have a stash of cash in my basement can I used itto building a new library and public transit.
Laurel Myers Hurst November 08, 2012 at 08:45 AM
I may be wrong, but I don't think it's the police department's fault that this need was cast in such a poor funding model. As I see it, council rushed through a permanent income tax hike to fund a temporary (desperate) need rather than estimating the actual cost and funding it through a more transparent method. The rush to push through an income tax hike could have been an effort to "make hay while the sun shines" and skim off as much temporary construction worker dollars as possible, but we weren't really told that. Raising the sales tax might have to be instituted county-wide (which wouldn't fly for a Kent municipal police department). Property tax increases would be even more unfair, since it is students, rather than home owners, who most drain police department resources. Council needs to talk to the citizens about the various funding options and logically narrow down the best/only option for us. The citizens support the police department whole-heartedly. I doubt many of them feel that way today. Firefighters got their money...through no fault of our own we are made to appear stingy with the police force.
Chris (Kit) Myers November 08, 2012 at 09:37 AM
How about everybody who is convicted of a crime in Kent pays $100.00 toward police station repairs. By the way, windows are broken out and the front door is hanging open at a house located at 329 East college Avenue that the university bought from Quatro Novus. One of my tenants at 224 South Willow heard glass breaking around 1 AM Wednesday morning and found glass in my parking lot. The lady at the Kent Police Department told me that the city has no jurisdiction over university property unless the police see something happening. The lady at the university police department told me that they have no record of the university owning the property. Perhaps the deed has not transferred? Anyway, if someone reading this is responsible for that house, I want it boarded up today. TODAY!!! I don't want any more glass in my parking lot and I don't want any drunks or junkies making meth right next to my property and my tenants, or damaging my tenants' cars or my property, or causing bodily harm to anyone. Thank you.
Char November 08, 2012 at 02:05 PM
I agree students should be a major/majority payer...as the majority of their time is dealing with students and this ever growing KSU takeover downtown kent influx. I had read somewhere they were supposed to be supporting each other, so why someone won't help with the property issue mentioned is absurd. Correct the problem, then figure out who's "watch" it's on! I don't know...Kent is just not thinking too many things through as a city these days, all seems to be via KSU planning or just rushed. If it's been 17years...what took so long to address and immediately need?
The Omnipotent Sponge - Soak it up! November 08, 2012 at 02:40 PM
I recall when they were building the new giant library they said that once in the new building, more books from storage would be out and on the shelves. That did not happen.
Ted M November 08, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Laurel, I believe that it is their fault. Poor decision making skills. They just bought brand new cars knowing that they wanted a new building. The department has not tried to contribute any money towards this either that I know of. Why cant the police department take notes of how the fire department is. Everyone of those firefighters act very professional. They are all active in the community (not just saving lives) Has the police chief ever been to the elementary schools to talk to the kids. The FD does. We have one of the best fire department around and its NOT because of a new building
Ted M November 08, 2012 at 03:36 PM
My heart burn with the police department is how they treat the citizens. To tell you the truth I am a nobody, just the average citizen. I don't have a record don't have any tickets. I was pulled over in my own neighborhood because of a bad license plate light. What's the cops ran my plates and realized I was a registered gun owner with a ccw permit all hell broke loose. The cops at thereand and waited for more of their buddies to come. They all approach my car with their guns drawnon me. I haven't saw the red laser on my chest. Is this how we lead hey Police Department. My advice is to have the chief get active within the community. Take notes how other departments are run.
Laurel Myers Hurst November 08, 2012 at 04:18 PM
What funds does the PD have to "contribute?" Their funds come from the city.
Laurel Myers Hurst November 08, 2012 at 04:24 PM
Sorry, Ted, Kent police don't draw their weapons on someone simply for holding a concealed carry permit, as the experience of other citizens can affirm. This is far off-topic. If you are withholding a new building from the police department to censure them for poor customer service, you're barking up the wrong tree. Go to city council and share your police report.
Donald S November 08, 2012 at 05:17 PM
why not everyone convicted of a crime pays $100, people with speeding ticket pays $100, people with parking tickets pay $100. If the police department has known since the 60s like that letter suggests why couldnt they have saved at least a small portion in FIFTY years. sounds like horrible money management by the city.
Ted M November 08, 2012 at 05:19 PM
Laura, I only shared my experience to show I have.some real heartburn towards them. I met with a lieutenant to go over my situation. He said he would pull the dash cam video. I do not want to pay $25 a month for a service that is well below standard. Its 2the hours a month that someone would have to give just for this. Its not very fair that only the working class has to pay. Laura, it does reflect poor judgement on the department that they just went out and bought brand new cruisers knowing that they needed a new building. Please leave the fire department out of this. They have very strong leadership and have been rated too notch. The new chief will carry this forward. Letskeep on subject please.
Chris (Kit) Myers November 08, 2012 at 06:15 PM
For the record, and yes, off topic, I went high up into the adminstration and found that the university does own 329 East College where the windows were broken out early Wednesday morning and the front door is hanging open. It will be boarded up very soon. Why wasn't it boarded up when the one next door was? Only The Shadow knows.
Teresa T. November 08, 2012 at 07:42 PM
Sorry, but I am reading all this stuff about cruisers being bought and how the Chief is not invovled with the community. I personally believe that maybe some people should get involved with the Kent police department before making allegations that they know nothing about. 1. Chief Lee has been involved with the kent community for many years and has started programs for Landlords to inform them of changes in the laws and to keep them informed of whats going on in our community. 2. Try looking at it in thier point of view. If you pulled someone over and they was a registered gun owner with a ccw permit. Wouldn't you do the same and call for back. Especially these times where shooting people in some areas is a daily thing. If you were a Father/Mother wouldn't you want to make sure that you went home to see them at the end of the day. 3. I am not saying that some police officers don't have an attitude at times. I personally feel like they are justified. They are the ones who get to deal with the drunk drives, the child abusers, child molesters, rapist, and murders. Thay are also the first ones that have to see the results of what these idiots have done first. Then they get to inform the unfortunate families of the victims. How would like it if college students were throwing bottles at your face?
Teresa T. November 08, 2012 at 07:42 PM
4. As for the cruisers being purchased how can you not see the need for the police to have the best on the road. Especially with the technology changing everyday. 5. As for the cruisers being left on when the officer is not in the car. Well I don't know about you but my laptop doesn't like the heat or the cold in the cars. Keep the cars running that way we don't have to purchase another cruiser and its components within. Now for the real shocker I voted against issue 11. I personally feel that there is another way to purchase the building that is in need. RIP Officer J A Simmons My loving Dad
Ted M November 08, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Teressa. You are right. A car getting 0mpg @$4 a gal is a small price to pay to keep electronics warm............they have to run high test. Its very unresponsible to get new cars when you have other priorities. I am just sayin.....I have never heard about this chief till now.
Laurel Myers Hurst November 08, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Ted M November 08, 2012 at 09:59 PM
So where is the solution. We know what the problems are. Reading all of the posts, it seems that the answers might be a fair tax, for everyone. A term increase in tax. Have the cops bring more to the table, as in get more involved with all of us.. I am not saying I will vote for it, but the way it was all thrown together was sloppy.
Teresa T. November 08, 2012 at 10:00 PM
I understand about the gas, but we don't live back in the 70's and 80's we are in 2012 and things are totally diiferant now. If gas was $0.79 cent a gallon would that make a diferance? (because I can remember when that was a high price to pay also).
Teresa T. November 08, 2012 at 10:23 PM
The solutions could be right in front of us. We are the community you want the Officers to step up and get more involved. (which they are maybe not the way you want) but Maybe we should do the same. Make suggestions!!!! Have an Idea post it, we as citizens need to help out also. Chief Lees says that there is no back up plan. I don't know and I don't have the answer but I can say that if KPD needs help or suggestions I will do my best to help. ALSO: I would like to thank the KPD for coming out for the Senior Appreciation day that we had. We had a great time and enjoyed the information that you gave to the seniors. Food for thought: Look what Ravenna had to go through to build the new school.
Donald S November 08, 2012 at 10:27 PM
No I would not call for back up and pull my weapon just because they have a CCW. Why would I a police officer, someone who is here to protect and serve pull my weapon creating a hostile situation for something that is legal and I have no control over? Their ''attitudes'' are not justified just because they have to deal with unsavory types of people, it is their job to keep their attitudes under control and keep their actions in control.
Teresa T. November 08, 2012 at 10:57 PM
Really, I knew an Officer who was under a similar situation as this (the person ran a red light) when he approached the car the person pulled out a gun and shot and killed the Officer. Would you have like to be the Officer that went to the spouse’s house and told them that Daddy/Mommy will not be coming home. As for the ATTITUDE and UNSAVORY types, have you ever been pulled over and received a ticket and had an ATTITUDE about it? I have seen numerous people that don’t work for the City, State or Government, and they have attitudes all the time. Nobody is perfect WE all have our days
Teresa K. November 09, 2012 at 12:12 AM
Teresa T. just a quick thought: years before laptops were in patrol cars, the cars were left on. I thought they left them on to be at the ready in the event of a call ?
Teresa K. November 09, 2012 at 12:28 AM
Teresa T: There should have been a survey sent to homes or even put in with the water bills to save on postage. For many of us: the first we heard of NEEDING a new station was over summer. It might have been known by some before hand, but not most of the people I talked to. So I go from hearing about some bad conditions and now putting this issue on the ballot. Here is my suggestion: survey the WHOLE city of Kent... the ones who are going to pay for a new station.
Ted M November 09, 2012 at 01:39 AM
AWell said teresa K
Ted M November 09, 2012 at 01:54 AM
And to not have a backup plan. And do not have. a plan B. There some stellar leadership skills. It shows how sloppy This whole thing was put together. Look at Brimfield, They're department is ranked In the top 10 percent of the whole country. They just built a brand new police station without a tax increase. So why can't we. I'm wonderingif this would have turned out different if it had been a fair tax, not just against the working class.
Teresa T. November 09, 2012 at 02:40 AM
@ Teresa K. Excellent suggestion.
Donald S November 09, 2012 at 03:26 AM
@ teresa, I have never had an attitude about being pulled over. doesnt make sense too. as for the officer that was shot and killed, you made no mention whether or not he was a person with a CCW. Regardless, an officer pulling a gun on someone because they have a gun sounds like a threat to me. If I had a CCW and a cop pulls a gun on strictly because I have a ccw sounds like a threat from a unprofessional and inexperienced cop. Cops are here to keep calm levels, pulling a gun for no reason is not keeping the situation calm. Sounds like this officer should have been pulling his gun on EVERYONE he pulled over because there could always be a threat.
Ted M November 09, 2012 at 03:46 AM
Thanx Donald. Its nice to see the other side of the situation. Its so easy for me to only see my side.


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