Here’s our recap of the Kent City Council meeting held on Tuesday night, Nov. 21, 2023:
Arbor Day, celebrated on Nov. 7, was originally established in 1872 in order to recognize the value of living trees. The proclamation shows that Kent sees the environmental as well as aesthetic value of an abundant tree canopy. This is the 21st year in a row of Kent being named “Tree City USA” by the National Arbor Foundation. Mayor Dana Ralph thanked everyone who came out to volunteer at Morrill Meadows Park earlier this month. She said Kent’s amazing parks system is kept that way through the work of volunteers. She added that volunteering together is a great family activity, and future volunteer opportunities can be found on the city website.
This month also honors Native American Indian Heritage Month. The proclamation mentions Native Americans’ perseverance through broken treaties, violent displacement, and genocide. It also recognises the land stewardship provided by local tribes such as the Duwamish, Muckleshoot, and others. Native people have contributed to all aspects of society and community.
Lastly, Kent’s small businesses are celebrated on Small Business Saturday. Small businesses make up much of the local economy. According to the proclamation, two-thirds of Kent’s businesses employ fewer than ten people, and 62% of local jobs are with companies employing fewer than 100 people. Purchases from small independent shops have a positive impact on the local economy, as well as positive social and environmental impacts. Mayor Ralph urged the community to support small businesses on Saturday Nov. 25, and throughout the year.
Big Check Presented From Annual Giving Campaign
Each year Kent city staff choose a worthy organization to support in this season of giving, and this year the Children’s Therapy Center (CTC) was the recipient. Staff raised $9,013 for the organization, which has been serving children in Kent for 40 years. The CTC has four locations throughout south King and Pierce Counties, helping over 3,000 kids each year. This charity was selected by Jens Vincent, who works for the Department of Public Works. He described how he and his wife served as foster parents for many children over the years, and the CTC was there for them. He said therapists would come to their home, working with his children in impactful ways. Councilmember Les Thomas then also thanked the CTC, saying that the organization helped with his own son around 40 years ago.
New County Sales Tax For Arts Funding
Mayor Dana Ralph gave an update on a new 1/10th of 1% sales tax that is likely to pass. This tax will raise money throughout King County that will be used to support arts & culture grants. According to Mayor Ralph, two-thirds of residents of King County live outside of Seattle, and therefore two-thirds of that sales tax revenue should also go towards programs in cities outside of Seattle. However, it looks like it will be more along the lines of 22%, perhaps slightly more, that goes to non-Seattle programs. In either case, money will be available for Kent arts & cultural programs and organizations that want to apply.
Mayor Ralph also reported on a recent meeting with South King Housing & Homelessness Partners (SKHHP). This organization is funded through interlocal partnerships with several regional cities to support the development and preservation of affordable housing. Two projects in Kent were selected for funding this year.
Councilmember Brenda Fincher shared that there is a new art exhibit currently at the Centennial Center. Admission is free.