City administrators and Kent City Council plan again to ask voters to approve a 0.25 percent income tax increase to pay for a new Kent Police station.
Council voted in committee Wednesday to place the issue on the November ballot, but this time they included a sunset provision in the ballot language and eliminated the idea that any excess revenue would pay for streets and sidewalks repair — language that was included in the previous ballot issue.
In November 2012 voters rejected Issue 11, which would have raised Kent's income tax from 2 percent to 2.25 percent to pay to build an estimated $18.36 million police building in the Day Street block. Kent residents cast 4,240 votes for the tax increase and 5,163 against the tax.
Kent City Manager Dave Ruller said city administrators recommended the sunset clause and elimination of the ballot language for streets and sidewalks repairs after gathering input from residents and talks with council.
"We've taken preliminary design of the building as far as we can go," Ruller said. "The next step is to design the actual building. And we can’t really take that leap until we have a funding source."
The proposed tax increase, if approved, would generate $1.3 million annually to pay debt service for the new building.
The new ballot language approved Wednesday would stipulate that all income tax revenue generated by the increase would go directly, and only, to paying off the costs of the building.
Once the building is paid off, then the tax increase would end.
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.
City administrators have continued working with Kent firm David Sommers & Associates on the building's preliminary design since the issue failed in November.
Council voted unanimously Wednesday to put the tax increase back on the ballot on Nov. 5.
“We know it needs to be replaced," Councilman Garrett Ferrara said. "The longer we wait the more it’s going to cost to maintain this. Let’s get on with it."