By Sarah Brusig
The Kent City Council meeting on Tuesday, Mar. 1, 2022 was called to order at approximately 7:10 p.m. following a candlelight vigil outside City Hall to honor the current Ukrainian crisis (watch our live, raw video of that here or below).
In attendance were Kent Mayor Dana Ralph, Kent City Council President Bill Boyce and Councilmembers Brenda Fincher, Satwinder Kaur, Marli Larimer, Zandria Michaud, Les Thomas, and Toni Troutner.
The meeting opened without changes to the agenda. Public Communications followed, including Sergeant Josh Bava of the Kent Police Department being recognized as City of Kent’s Employee of the Month. A proclamation was then read that the City of Kent stands with Kent’s Ukrainian Community. Sandy Westman was reappointed next to the Kent Arts Commission.
Upcoming notable community events in the Kent area are games by the Seattle Thunderbirds, a career fair, the Awaken Music Festival, and other offerings at the ShoWare Center. Spotlight tickets are also available at www.kentwa.gov.
Mayor Ralph’s Report
Mayor Ralph issued her report largely focusing on the 12.9% “significant increase” in property taxes this year. Ralph said she felt the public deserved an “explanation” on where the money actually goes from these taxes. Here’s how it breaks down:
- 11% of paid property taxes is returned to the City of Kent for services rendered;
- Fire District receives 8%;
- Washington State Schools receives 16%;
- Washington State Schools – McCleary receives 9%;
- King County gets 6%;
- King County Lid Lifts gets 5%;
- Kent School District voted M&O gets 18%;
- KSD Voted Bond Levy gets 9%;
- KSD Voted Bond Levy gets 9%;
- and KSD Voted Capital Levy gets 6%.
The “Other” category, which receives 12%, consists of King County Voted Bonds, EMS Services, Sound Transit, Hospital District, Library Voted Bond, and the Library District.
Mayor Ralph also thanked community members for joining her at Coffee and Conversations events. She also acknowledged Grocery Outlet on East Hill for their community involvement with Kent Police and the Kent Food Bank to assist in preventing food insecurity.
Chief Administrative Officer’s Report
Chief Administrative Officer Derek Matheson provided his report next. There will be an April Executive Board Leadership retreat where topics on the agenda will include Kent City Council topics from their retreat, including the budget, climate issues, police, and housing. Matheson noted that the short legislative session spanning 60 days was almost up. Cities priorities include policing, transportation, housing, a railroad in Downtown Kent, and additional topics. Matheson also noted the elimination of the mask mandate on Mar. 11, 2022. Masks will be optional at the next City of Kent Council Meeting on Mar. 15, 2022. There was no executive session.
Councilmember Boyce spoke about the Operation Public Safety meeting held earlier in the day where it was fairly “quiet” and “they paid their bills.” Money was transferred to the Lodging and Tax Fund after being impacted over the past two years by COVID-19. Boyce attended a program earlier in the day called “Building Community Resiliency” to source positive impact within the Kent community. Grant opportunities are available by visiting www.kentwa.gov. Funding for the 2023 Transportation Improvement project was also approved.
Councilmember Michaud spoke next about the Parks and Human Services Committee, and noted that “most agencies” were currently “over-performing.” Michaud recalled meeting with nonprofits specializing in immigrant communities and made note of the Ukrainian community in Kent.
Councilmember Kaur did not have an update on the Growth Management Planning Committee as they were meeting the following day. Councilmembers Troutner, Thomas, and Fincher provided similar updates, however, Fincher reported on the King County Conservation District, the Center of Excellence, and Juvenile Defender Filings.
Councilmember Larimer thanked the “Kent Nerd community for showing up” to the first-ever Meeker Street Nerd Party on Meeker Street. She called them “my people,” but said she left her cosplay costume at home.
There was not a public hearing at the Kent City Council on Mar. 22, 2022. Similarly, the Public Comment line item was not needed as there were no registrants signed up to comment. The Consent Calendar was approved and there were no “Other Business” items to discuss.
There were two bids up for discussion – one for the 2022 Paint Line Striping and RPM Replacement project throughout the city ($243,530). The other for Kent Spring Well #3 Component Replacement and Installation Bid ($187,368.18). Both motions were approved unanimously.
The next item on the agenda included the six-year transportation plan for the region, which Mayo Ralph reminded is up for public comment. Mayor Ralph offered social media as a viable option to become involved in the trajectory. She then thanked Lowe’s Home Improvement on Pacific Highway for assisting with materials and volunteers in graffiti removal in the area.
With no Executive Session, the Kent City Council meeting was adjourned.
UNITY FOR UKRAINE RALLY
Below is raw video of the rally held outside Kent City Hall just before the council meeting Tuesday night, Mar. 1, 2022. Speeches begin at around the 12:00-minute mark:
Sarah Brusig has been in media and publishing for over 15 years and previously served as the president of the Society of Professional Journalists – Western Washington chapter. Sarah is the recipient of the McCormick Foundation New Media Women grant and was presented with the Community Builder Award by Rep. Pramila Jayapal. She resides in South King County where she regularly advocates for human rights, animal rights and education. Keep up with Sarah on Twitter and Facebook or to reach out with story ideas/suggestions.