The City of Kent recently announced its 2021 Legislative Priorities, which will include Social Justice Reform, Equitable Tax Structure, Interurban Trail Improvements, Housing Solutions and more.
Here’s the city’s list:
- Social Justice Reform
We are listening. We are learning. We are changing. The City is committed to working with state legislators, community members, and other stakeholders in identifying and supporting social justice reform. Specifically, the City requests that the Legislature fund mental health professionals to work alongside police officers, establish standardized use of force reporting requirements, fund data collection from law enforcement agencies to identify and address racial disparity, and allocate funding to ensure improved communication and access to government for non-English speaking individuals.
- Equitable Tax Structure
The City of Kent joins other impacted communities in asking that the Legislature restore funding to the Streamlined Sales Tax Mitigation Program. While the state’s tax structure has many flaws, none quite detrimentally impact the City of Kent to the same magnitude as the negative impact of destination-based sales tax sourcing. In 2020, the Legislature recognized this and passed legislation that would have continued the mitigation program; however, the Governor vetoed the program. The City asks the Legislature to restore funding to the program in the 1921 and the 21-23 budgets.
- Interurban Trail Improvements
Kent is working to transform its manufacturing center by integrating small businesses and attract a quality workforce. The City requests $2 million to improve interurban trail intersections to provide a multi-modal commuting option for Kent residents, and improve a regional recreational path.
- Complete 224th Arterial
$20 million to complete 224th – a regional east-west arterial. The existing two-lane roadway cannot accommodate current and future traffic volumes between the Kent’s East Hill and the Kent Valley. Once improved, 224th will be a three-lane arterial that includes curbs, gutters, sidewalks, street lighting and landscaping.
- Panther Lake Community Park
$3 million for Panther Lake Community Park to serve a significantly underserved area of Kent. This project will give the nearly 25,000 residents in the Panther Lake area a sorely needed community gathering place, a sense of pride, a connection to nature and numerous opportunities to improve their overall health.
- Housing Solutions
As Kent’s community evolves, the City desires to preserve and enhance housing for its residents. The City is participating in a regional housing action strategy, adopted an updated multifamily property tax exemption program, and enacted a local option sales tax to provide a diversity of housing options, improve affordability, and preserve housing.
- Downtown Gateway
$1 million to create an entryway into downtown Kent to support local businesses located in the downtown such as Sweet Themes Bakery, Altha’s Louisiana Cajun Store & Deli, Rafiki Restaurant and Lounge, and Thai Chili.
- Meet Me on Meeker
$5 million to connect downtown businesses to light rail, commuter rail, and transit hubs. The project celebrates Kent’s diverse businesses and vibrant downtown by creating a comfortable and safe promenade in an area with popular retail, the Kent Elementary School (90% students of color and 90% free and reduced lunch), and nearby low-income and senior residential development.
- Social Justice Reform