Police Levy Going Back to Ballot with Sunset Provision

Income tax hike would only pay off debt to build new police station

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."

Sa;;y May 04, 2013 at 11:15 PM
Sue: I do pay taxes. I just can't pay more. If the money isn't there a person can't pay it. It's called bankruptcy and foreclosure. Because of the GREED of administrators. You can't pretend all you want Sue, but the money they are asking for is excessive. You keep them rose colored glasses on. They look great on you!
Sue May 04, 2013 at 11:31 PM
We'll just have to agree to disagree then, Sa;;y. I don't know how the vote will go. I suspect that Kent voters will say yes to the school levy and possibly no to the tax increase for the police station. If either tax increase is voted in, we'll both have to rearrange our budgets to pay the tax. But I think it will be worth the money.
Chris (Kit) Myers May 05, 2013 at 12:49 AM
You may be able to rearrange your budget, Sue, but there are a lot of people in Kent who can't. Perhaps you just don't know the working Joes and Janes of Kent. Too bad they're no longer represented by the democrats who run the city.
Sue May 05, 2013 at 01:55 AM
Kit, I am a working Jane, no different from anyone else here. I am not wealthy. I am a parent. Our local tax money goes for services that benefit all of us directly. If we are responsible citizens, then we are willing to pay for the important services we get, like police and fire protection and education. I think that we get a bargain for what we pay; the services are certainly worth the money. The cost to all of us of not paying for police and fire and education would be terrible. As for our government, I think we are well-represented by our city council. If you don't like them, you can vote in someone else. Individuals can have a real impact at the local level, as I'm sure you know.
FillerUp May 05, 2013 at 02:34 AM
I live in Kent and need a new roof and will be taking out a loan to do it. Just had to use all of my tax refund to repair my car (a 2001) and I work three jobs! I am an average Joe like most people here, but I believe that good schools and good city services will help increase what is left of my property value which is down about 10% over the last 10 years.
Chris (Kit) Myers May 05, 2013 at 07:51 AM
Sue, If you will re-read my comment, you will find that what I said was that there are people who are unable to rearrange their budgets. That's all I said about the tax increases that are on the ballots. Read it! Do you really believe that there are no people in Kent who are living on the edge and unable to rearrange their budgets I know some of them and I consider them to be quite responsible citizens. They just cannot afford these increases.
Chris (Kit) Myers May 05, 2013 at 07:54 AM
Woops!!! I left out a question mark after the word "budgets" in my second paragraph.
Resident of Kent May 05, 2013 at 03:36 PM
I think I'm just going to move. I was seriously thinking about buying property here in Kent, Portage County but- $98.00 is already being taken out of my gross $440.00 a week paycheck for taxes..
Sue May 05, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Kit, I read what you wrote, and I understand what you said. I disagree with you in part, but not entirely. The school levy will not directly affect renters, and renters are usually the folks with lower incomes. Homeowners are the ones who will directly pay for the school levy. I know you will argue that renters do pay property taxes, but they pay them only indirectly in the form of rents, and landlords are unlikely to raise rents because of a relatively small school levy. The rental market has a far more significant impact on rents than any small school levy will. My house is appraised at about $100,000, and so I will pay roughly $272 a year more to fund the levy. To me that's a bargain. Our children will receive better education, and everyone in Kent will benefit from this, whether directly or indirectly. Better schools tend to improve the community and to raise home values. Renters, the people with the lowest incomes, are unlikely to experience any effect from the school levy. The tax increase for the police station would be a little different because it is an increase in the local income tax, and that would affect people at all income levels. I think there probably are people who will struggle to pay for this, as you suggest. I suspect this proposed increase is likely to fail in November because of this. But I think the school levy is likely to pass on Tuesday. I hope it will.
Sue May 05, 2013 at 11:55 PM
Good luck, Resident of Kent. You will have to pay taxes wherever you go. There are plenty of people who want to live here and who do want to support our city. I wish people would stop whining about taxes. If you had to hire private police and pay for private schools, you'd pay a lot more.
Sa;;y May 06, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Sue: I'm a homeowner. READ MY LIPS: I can't afford more taxes. Five years - no raise. Five year - utilities, groceries, and everything else went up. The schools have already been rated excellent without this tax. How much better do they need to get?
Sue May 06, 2013 at 03:11 AM
Sa;;y: I have not had a raise in 5 years either, but I am not whining about paying taxes. If you can't pay your taxes, which are low to begin with, then perhaps you should take a course in how to manage your money better. Our teachers work very hard, and they have taken wage freezes. But they have still succeeded in being effective, with cuts and more cuts in our schools. Now you can read my lips: I don't care if you say you can't afford to pay your taxes. That is your problem. Deal with it yourself.
Teresa K. May 06, 2013 at 03:12 AM
Just a quick question for folks who can afford the school tax levy: WHAT IS A GOOD SCHOOL SYSTEM TO YOU? You all say we need to pay the taxes in order to have a "good" school system. Could you list some of the things you believe make a "good" school and be specific? thank you.
Sue May 06, 2013 at 04:19 AM
Teresa: Nearly everyone can afford the school tax levy. It won't affect renters directly at all, and it will be a small tax increase for homeowners. Some people just don't want to pay for the services that our government provides. They'd rather complain about government and expect government services for free. If a homeowner can't afford this small increase, then they shouldn't have bought a house in the first place, because they obviously cannot afford to keep the house up. In answer to your question, good schools have resources like the most up-to-date books and equipment. They pay teachers decent compensation so they continue to work for our students and to develop professionally. They provide for student enrichment through field trips and through programs in music and art. All of this costs money, and our schools have struggled with deep cuts from the state. It's time for a levy, because the last levy was in 2006.
Rick May 06, 2013 at 10:22 AM
Sue is a real dumb quack to think the tax will not affect renters she must be so dumb as to think that the landlords will not pass this increase on to the renters.Since Sue feels that people should not own a house because they oppose the tax increase then maybe she needs to put the money where her mouth is and pay all of our tax increase who oppose this levy.
Sa;;y May 06, 2013 at 10:27 AM
Gee Sue..... now you're telling people what they can and can't afford. When did you get access to my budget and accounts? IT WILL AFFECT RENTERS. THE LANDLORDS WILL RAISE THEIR RENT TO PAY FOR THE INCREASE IN PROPERTY TAXES.
Chris (Kit) Myers May 06, 2013 at 11:03 AM
Gee, Sue, is your middle name Marie and your last name Antoinette.
Sue May 06, 2013 at 11:14 AM
Sa;;y: As I said earlier, the school levy will not affect renters, because landlords are not going to raise rents over such a small tax increase. Rents depend on a variety of factors, most significantly the market for rental housing. The amount of the school tax increase is very small. If as a homeowner you cannot afford a few hundred dollars a year to pay for better schools, then you probably can't afford your house in the first place. Kit, your hyperbole is over the top. The school tax is small. It will benefit everyone. The benefits outweigh the minor costs. Now the proposed income tax increase to fund the police station will affect most people in Kent. For this reason, I suspect this will be defeated at the polls. If you say you cannot afford an increase in the income tax, this makes more sense, because the tax will directly affect more people. But I bet once the school levy passes tomorrow, folks will still be here managing to pay their bills, and no one will go bankrupt because of the school levy. Folks will be able to afford it. That's my prediction.
Chris (Kit) Myers May 06, 2013 at 02:11 PM
You are wrong, Sue. Rents will go up so the property owners can stay even. Are you so insulated from reality that you don't understand that?
Teresa K. May 06, 2013 at 03:01 PM
Sue: I honestly dont see anyone complaining. I see people making VERY GOOD POINTS. Your specifics for a "good" school didnt do it for me. How do we afford the school levy, the income tax hike and the money that will be asked for the new PC jail? Not to mention that the Obama cuts in the paychecks this year have affected many people considerably. IF I were a landlord and had a couple rentals in Kent, I would HAVE to pass the increase onto my tenants. No brainer. Sue, is there something WRONG with taxpayers that simply dont WANT to pay any more taxes? I see nothing wrong with that. There are many reasons for voting yes and many reasons for voting no. The importance lies within each voter. You bring up a good point too: On someone buying a house if they cant afford it.... the entire COUNTRY is in this economic mess due to people being told they COULD afford a house and they couldnt. Wall Street and the mortgage lenders. This is the trickle down effect on a local level.
Teresa K. May 06, 2013 at 03:05 PM
Rick: not nice to name call..... you could have used words like: is real "blinded" or is "ignorant ". Sue is taking up the banner for the "YES" vote for the schools and should be commended for her efforts. *** applause, applause*** There are many biggem words to use to call people dum.
Rick May 06, 2013 at 04:19 PM
I think Sue is a teacher since most of her ramblings have no fact to them.She is a fine example of whats wrong with the country just keep spending and let someone else pay for it.
Sa;;y May 06, 2013 at 04:33 PM
Sue: I had no problem affording my house when I bought it years back. Since then, people like you who seem to think I can afford to pay for everyone else keeps dipping into my funds. I'm not getting government services for free. I currently pay city taxes, property taxes, sales tax, state tax and federal taxes to name a few. And, unlike so many others, I've received no handouts for my living expenses. For the record, my complaint is the school does not need 8.9 mi. This is GREED. And I never said the teachers don't deserve raises. You, Sue, don't deserve any more of my time because you just don't get reality. I bet you signed off on all those tax abatements?
Sue May 06, 2013 at 09:53 PM
Obviously some folks here do not want to pay enough in taxes to ensure that we have good schools and good police protection. That's your choice, but I think it's a bad choice. And I think the school levy will pass tomorrow. In answer to an earlier question, I think there is something wrong with people not wanting to pay taxes, especially on a local level. It's shortsighted. Taxes are the cost of the services we get from our different levels of government, federal, state, and local. Local taxes are especially important, because they provide the most basic services that we all rely on. The state has been cutting back on money for these services because of the recession and because of ill-advised state tax cuts, and the result is that that local governments are strapped. That's why we need to pay more to fund our local services. The school tax levy is reasonable, an amount too small to push up rents for tenants. Rents for tenants will go up as the demand for rental housing goes up. Also, many renters who do not earn high incomes have children who go to our public schools. They get a direct benefit from tax money that is devoted to the schools. It's a bad idea to be stingy with our local tax money, especially when it comes to important services like schools and police. To push for lower and lower taxes is a foolish position to take, because it will mean that we will not have the benefits that we all get from government services that we need and use.
Chris (Kit) Myers May 06, 2013 at 10:03 PM
Sue, it's not nice to call people who can't pay more in taxes "stingy." To me it shows you to be an elitist.
Sue May 06, 2013 at 11:24 PM
Kit, you continue to argue that people cannot pay for the tax. Of course they can. People who are so poor that they cannot pay are not homeowners, and they will not be affected by the tax. You have created a straw man, the supposed person who cannot afford to pay, to justify your not wanting to pay the tax. It's clear that the people posting here can afford to pay; they can afford to have computers and post on the internet. They just don't want to pay. This is the lament of the deadbeat. School and police taxes benefit low income people. If I were an elitist I would argue against the school tax and say that everyone should send their kids to private schools and live in gated communities. But I believe in public schools and city police. My child goes to a public school. I will always support public education. Apparently you think my support for public education and my modest income make me an "elitist." You can call me names all you want, Kit, but I stand by my principles,and I stand by our public schools.
Chris (Kit) Myers May 07, 2013 at 12:38 AM
Sue, are you calling me a deadbeat because I can afford a computer but don't want to pay such a high tax? Are you serious when you say that people so poor they can't pay this huge tax increase cannot possibly be homeowners? Really? Yes, I guess I am a deadbeat, and as sure as night follows day, you are Marie Antoinette.
thermionic May 07, 2013 at 05:44 PM
My landlord has told us that if this levy passes he will be raising the rents of all the properties he owns in Kent.
thermionic May 07, 2013 at 06:00 PM
The school levy, that is... in response to Sue's comments above.
Sue May 08, 2013 at 01:45 AM
The school levy has passed. Thanks to everyone who voted for it. This is great news for the children of Kent.


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