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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."

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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