By Sarah Brusig
The Kent City Council meeting on Tuesday, Apr. 5, 2022 was called to order at approximately 7:08 p.m. In attendance were Kent Mayor Dana Ralph, Kent City Council President Bill Boyce and Councilmembers Brenda Fincher, Satwinder Kaur, Marli Larimer, Zandria Michaud, and Toni Troutner. Councilmember Les Thomas was not in attendance. The Council voted unanimously to approve Thomas’ absence.
Largely discussed during Public Comment was the topic of homelessness in the Kent area and how a proposed tiny home village would impact neighbors and illicit a negative response in the crime rate. View the full discussion below:
The 2021 Employee of the Year Award went to City of Kent Municipal Court Probation Supervisor Jeanine Johnstone. The Employee of the Year is selected from a pool derived from Employee of the Month candidates as approved by City of Kent employees. The April Employee of the Month was named Michael Mage, Government Performance Coordinator at the City of Kent.
Next up, Mayor Ralph asked for approval on the appointments to the Kent Bicycle Advisory Board. Codified under Kent City Code Chapter 2.62, the role of the board is to advise the City Council, Mayor and all departments and offices of the City on projects, policies and programs that improve and/or affect bicycling conditions in Kent. The Bicycle Advisory Board supports the construction of bicycle facilities included in the Transportation Master Plan and the Non-motorized Transportation Study.
Appointments to the Kent Parks and Recreation Commission occurred next with comments by appointees. The role of the Parks and Recreation Commission is to communicate budget recommendations for the acquisition, development, and operation of parks, facilities, and programs; policy recommendations; comprehensive parks and trails planning; priorities for the acquisition of land and/or facilities; development, design, and operation of parks, facilities, and programs; and more.
The reappointment to the Lodging Tax Advisory Committee followed. The Lodging Tax Advisory Committee reviews grant applications for funding. It also makes recommendations to the Kent City Council about spending the revenue generated from the lodging tax. The Lodging Tax Fund is created through a state sales tax on overnight stays at hotels, motels, bed and breakfasts, or campgrounds.
Mayor Ralph issued a proclamation for Distracted Driving Awareness Month next. Department Chief Tyerman accepted on behalf of the Puget Sound Regional Fire Authority.
Mayor Ralph issued a proclamation for Sexual Assault Awareness Month next and highlighted the work by the King County Sexual Assault Resource Center.
Upcoming notable community events in the Kent area are games by the Seattle Thunderbirds, a Labor Council career fair, the Awaken Music Festival, The X League football team will debut on June 25, 2022, and other offerings at the ShoWare Center. Earth Day events will be held throughout Kent as well.
Parks Seasonal Staffing
Kent Parks is aggressively hiring 250-320 temp/seasonal staff. Open positions include Park Operations and Management and salaries range from $18 to $23 per hour. These are Teamster Union positions and range from part-time to full-time at 10-30 hours per week. There are “staying bonuses” for rewards the longer an employee remains on the job. Reliable transportation and background checks/drug tests are required and anyone age 16 and over are encouraged to apply.
Mayor Ralph’s Report
The Regional Transportation Plan received more than 500 comments and the committee is currently reviewing before offering a recommendation to the regional body. The Flight Control Board met to discuss budgeting for the program as well and appointed Mayor Ralph chair.
Chief Administrative Officer’s Report
Chief Administrative Officer Pat Fitzpatrick offered an update on the next biannual budget.
- Councilmember Boyce shared updates on junk car removal, climate change and a county-wide housing policy.
- Councilmember Michaud serves on the Regional Laws Safety and Justice Committee and they discussed better info sharing between jurisdictions.
- Councilmember Kaur worked within her committees on team-building, performance standards, compliance standards, and climate change.
- Councilmember Larimer issued her report on Native American and Japanese American heritage events.
- Councilmember Troutner is Chair of the Economic Development Committee and their next meeting is in May 2022. Troutner covered for King County Councilmember Dave Upthegrove to help improve safety on buses for customers and drivers post COVID-19 fare protocols.
- Councilmember Fincher offered an update regarding art displayed on local reservoir covers. An artistic exhibit for nine traffic boxes is seeking artists through Apr. 18, 2022. The Kent Art Walk occurs the third Thursday of every month.
The full recorded broadcast is available on Kent TV21, facebook.com/CityofKent and youtube.com/user/KentTV21.
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.