At last week’s City Council meeting, Kent Mayor Dana Ralph – along with the Council – acknowledged and thanked local legislators for their support and funding during the 2018 legislative session:
- Senator Joe Fain
- Senator Bob Hasegawa
- Senator Karen Keiser
- Rep. Steve Bergquist
- Rep. Mia Gregerson
- Rep. Mark Hargrove
- Rep. Zack Hudgins
- Rep. Tina Orwall
- Rep. Pat Sullivan
“We are so grateful for the partnerships we’ve established with our legislators over the years. Both in Olympia and at home, they make time to talk to us and really listen to our concerns,” said Mayor Dana Ralph. “Together, we’re making a better Kent.”
Highlights for Kent in the 2018 legislative session include:
- The 2018 Operating Budget included $537,000 in supplemental streamlined sales tax (SST) mitigation and, in the 2019-21 biennium budget, an appropriation of $1.8 million.
- The legislature supported a study that Kent is leading, along with Association of Washington Cities and other impacted cities, to figure out how to move forward as SST mitigation ends.
The 2017-19 Capital Budget includes:
- $1 million for YMCA East Hill infrastructure improvements and $4.17 million in programmatic grants for the YMCA building
- $2 million for the Mill Creek Flood Stabilization project
- $7 million for the Lower Russell Road levee-enhancement work
The 2018 Supplemental Budget includes:
- Language that strongly encourages WSDOT to relocate Poulsbo RV within the Kent city limits
- The recommended selection of design 4B as the preferred design for the SR 509/SR 516 interchange
- $3 million in funding for the 4th Avenue and SR 516 (Willis) roundabout to improve traffic flow and support redevelopment of the Naden site which is attracting interest from hotel developers
- A technical fix to state law ensuring that a deceased employee’s final paycheck goes directly to the surviving spouse rather than to a trust for payout
- An increase in a document recording fee will help provide funding for local homeless housing programs and an additional $15.37 million to address homelessness in King County
- Funding for one additional Basic Law Enforcement Academy training class
- In conjunction with the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, the establishment of a grant program for mental health field response teams to pair law enforcement with mental health professionals
- Between Operating and Capital budgets, there will be more than $50 million in new resources for mental and behavioral health programs and facilities.
- The passage of body camera legislation that will make it more realistic for local law enforcement agencies to use body cameras
“Despite the short session, our legislators worked hard on our behalf, ensuring that Kent’s interests and needs were represented. We appreciate their dedication to help Kent address issues like homelessness, crime, transportation, financial sustainability and other important issues,” added Mayor Ralph.