Includes Investments in Public Safety, Streets and Parks
At Tuesday’s Kent City Council meeting, the council adopted the 2017-18 biennial budget. Incorporating recommendations from the Financial Sustainability Task Force, the budget includes funding for nine new police positions, continued street and utility maintenance, and other city services.
The total $581.6 million budget includes a $189.9 million allocation to the General Fund, $76.2 million to Special Revenue Funds, and $63.9 million for capital improvements. The budget does not contain cuts to any citywide programs.
According to Council President Bill Boyce, Kent being a safe community is a top priority. “This council is committed to keeping Kent safe. Our police officers do great job, that’s why our crime rate remains among the lowest in the region. But they’re extremely busy, and we’re glad to be able to provide them additional support,” Boyce said.
The budget funds the addition of five police positions in 2017, including three officers, a records specialist a corrections sergeant, and another four officers in 2018.
The budget also annually invests nearly $10 million in business and occupation (B&O) and utility tax revenues for street maintenance. For the first time ever, the street maintenance project lists were included in the budget deliberations, where prior, they were approved separately at a different time of year.
Other highlights from the budget include:
- Funding to advance the “Meet Me on Meeker” initiative, a plan to rebuild this commercial corridor to better connect with downtown, improve safety for pedestrians, cyclists, and residents, and create a sense of place and distinctive identity.
- A Youth Initiative Program coordinator to focus on teens who face the greatest challenges in reaching their potential.
- A new Rental Housing Inspection Program, including a code compliance officer to inspect rental properties, will ensure a minimum level of quality is met. The position will be funded by fees generated by the new program.
- A communications coordinator to increase the frequency of city communications