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Kent police levy on November ballot

By Kyle McDonald | Staff Writer Published: May 16, 2013 4:00 AM

Kent City Council gave final approval Wednesday to seek funding a new Safety Administration Building through an income tax increase on the November ballot.

Council unanimously approved the measure, with Councilman Wayne Wilson absent.

The initiative is almost the same as Kent's 2012 attempt -- a 0.25 percent income tax increase -- but this time around it includes a sunset clause that will allow the tax to expire after 2038.

Kent's Safety Administration Building, which houses the Kent Police Department near the intersection of South Water and Day streets, is 88 years old. Studies have found it to be in poor condition in areas such jail compliance, plumbing, electrical system compliance, evidence storage, handicap accessibility and more.

The cost of constructing a new safety building is estimated at about $18 million, according to police officials. The estimated cost to renovate the building and bring it into compliance is about $12 million, according to a review by Kent architecture firm David Sommers and Associates.

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Kent's income tax is 2 percent. The city also gives an income tax credit to any city residents working outside the city and paying more than a 2 percent income tax.

Council also voted Wednesday to raise the city's income tax credit to 2.25 percent if the police levy passes in November.

In other business, Kent City Council made the final revision to its policy for allowing liquor licenses to be transferred into the city from other communities through a new state process known as "TREX."

The new policy requires that businesses seeking liquor licenses through the TREX process to invest at least $175 per square foot of space, be located in the central business district, sign an economic development agreement based off a business plan and gives the city final say if the license should change hands.

Council will approve only three new liquor licenses through the process, then review them after one year before deciding if any more may come into the city.

The first liquor license transfer aproval was granted to Secret Cellar, LLC, a "speakeasy-themed" wine and jazz club in the basement of the newly renovated Acorn Corner -- the former old Kent Hotel at DePeyster and East Main streets.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1127 or kmcdonald@recordpub.com

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ARayOfSunshine May 24, 2013 12:58 PM

What? You mean our local department isn't generating enough revenue on trumped up and garbage charges? I can think of many times where they went in the wrong direction, did not protect and serve the victim, but made loads of money for the city. Where is all that going? Heck they should be able to pay for it themselves, with the stuff I've seen them pull alone.

Ian_Maserb May 16, 2013 9:23 PM

Wow, 0.25 percent doesn't seem like much. Why not go for double that. I mean, it's not fair that there is a new court house and not a new police station. Besides, people in Kent lie awake at night worried that the city might not have enough tax money to do all the things they want to do.

redleg6 May 16, 2013 12:37 PM

Kent needs a bunco squad. Between the schools and city council of Kent, the residents are getting their pockets picked.