The Kent City Council convened on Tuesday night, April 2, 2024, to address various matters pertinent to the city’s well-being and progress.

First, Heath Brackett of the Public Works Department was honored as Employee of the Month.

Next, three proclamations were issued, recognizing Arbor Day, Sexual Assault Awareness Month, and National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week.

Residents were informed of upcoming events including the city’s Spring Clean-Up and an Earth Day volunteer opportunity.

Legislative updates were provided by Senator Claudia Kauffman, highlighting recent legislative changes and encouraging youth participation in the Olympia Page Program.

The council also heard public comments, and approved bids for infrastructure projects.

Employee Of The Month

This month, city employees chose Heath Brackett from Public Works for Employee of the Month. This is the first time in over a year that someone from the Public Works Department was chosen for this honor. Brackett was originally hired as an engineer in 2016, and was promoted to GIS Supervisor in 2021. He is an expert on multilayered mapping and advanced technical work. He received plaudits for his great attitude, teamwork, and innovation. He has created timesaving technology that all departments benefit from.


According to the first proclamation, Kent recognises April 6th as Arbor Day. Arbor Day is celebrated around the world in recognition of the vital role trees play in reducing erosion, mitigating temperature extremes, producing oxygen, and providing habitat for wildlife. Kent established a tree ordinance in 1972, and has been named Tree City, USA for 22 consecutive years. On April 6 from 9 a.m. to Noon, volunteers are invited to Riverview Park to help plant trees and shrubs in honor of Arbor Day.

In an effort to raise awareness and increase prevention, April is recognised as Sexual Assault Awareness Month. The proclamation states that 45% of women, and 22% of men report experiencing sexual violence, and rape is recognised as one of the most underreported crimes. Kent aims to help alleviate the trauma of sexual violence by making sure supportive resources are available. The proclamation was received by a representative of King County Sexual Assault Resource Center (KCSARC). KCSARC serves all of King County, providing free, confidential support for victims. Their 24-hour resource line is 888-99-VOICE.

The final proclamation honors 911 dispatchers and support staff the week of April 7th through 13th, during National Public Safety Telecommunicators Week. The proclamation states that these vital first responders play a critical role in coordinating emergency services. They operate seven days a week, 24-hours a day. Their ability to remain calm under pressure has saved countless lives. Valley Communications has been serving this important function for Kent since 1977.

Spring Clean-Up Event

There is still time to utilize Kent’s free curbside clean-up event the week of April 8 through 12, on your regular yard waste collection day. Residents can put up to ten extra bags of garbage out with their trash, as well as ten extra bags of yard waste out with their yard waste bin. Plastic bags cannot be used for yard waste, and no loose garbage will be picked up. See this link for other rules and details.

Earth Day Volunteer Opportunity

In addition to the Arbor Day event described above, volunteers are invited to participate in the world’s largest environmental conservation event, in celebration of Earth Day on April 20, 2024. This year’s project involves removing invasive blackberries and planting native species at Clark Lake Park, from 9 a.m. to Noon. See this link for more information.

Legislative Update & Page Program

Senator Claudia Kauffman briefly spoke about the recent state legislative session, during which the law was changed to allow cities to install additional speed cameras. Kauffman said she was able to help expand the legal definition of “family” in “family caregivers” to include in-laws. Kauffman also encouraged teens to apply to become a youth page in Olympia. Applicants must be between the age of 14 and 17. During the week-long program, participants will assist the House of Representatives in all kinds of duties. Mayor Dana Ralph said her son was a page and it was a wonderful program.

Public Comments

One speaker asked Council to consider working with her to implement a modified fireworks ban. She said she had helped Tukwila implement this new policy, after they had been trying in vain to enforce an all-out ban on fireworks for 25 years. She said that after the first year of this modified ban, Tukwila’s police chief was ecstatic. He reported that they had received the lowest number of fireworks complaint calls in 25 years. She explained that a modified ban allows the use of quieter, safer fireworks, encouraging residents to celebrate in a more peaceful way than the illegal fireworks that have been popular for decades. She said Seatac has now adopted a modified fireworks ban as well.

Bids: Pavement Sealing & Roundabouts Approved

Pavement sealing may not look pretty, but Public Works Director Chad Bierin said that patching those cracks helps to extend the usable life of Kent’s roads. Council approved a $183,000 bid for the pavement sealing project.

The other bid Council approved is a project that is garnering more excitement: Roundabouts on Reith Road. Public Works Director Bierin said this will help calm traffic getting up and down West hill. The project received a grant for nearly $1.5 million. Council approved the $4.8 million dollar bid. Mayor Dana Ralph said she knew neighbors in this area would be excited to see the project come to fruition.


Watch full video of the meeting below:

YouTube player

Mellow DeTray

Mellow DeTray is a Seattle native who has spent the last 17 years raising her family in the region. For many years she published a moderately popular cooking & lifestyle blog, and she had a brief stint in political journalism during a local election. Clear and informative writing has always been a side hobby of Mellow’s and she looks forward to bringing you unbiased coverage of City Council meetings.

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