By Sarah Brusig
The Kent City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 19, 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, Les Thomas, and Toni Troutner.
The agenda was approved unanimously and the meeting began with a proclamation of Arbor Day to be held on April 30, 2022.
Mayor Ralph sought approval of Gwen Allen-Carston, Brian Chandler and Erika Henry to Kent’s Human Services Commission. All three appointees were confirmed to the Commission and will serve three-year terms beginning May 1, 2022 and concluding April 30, 2025.
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.
Public Safety Report
Life-saving awards were presented next. Officers Vincent Alatorre and Jason Nixon assisted in saving a male’s life when they arrived on the scene and found him unresponsive. Alatorre received his first life-saving medal. Nixon was the recipient of his third life-saving medal as well. Both were present for the recognition.
Officer Jeff Ly received the next life-saving award for helping a family locate their missing developmentally vulnerable daughter after she disappeared and was later found in the backseat car at a tow company.
Mayor Ralph’s Report
Mayor Ralph issued an update on the four-county Regional Transportation Plan with focuses on climate, equity and safety. South County Area Presentation Board meeting presented an update to the transportation cards (Orca) to ride transit in the region. A mobile app is on the horizon. Legislature has passed regulations around free youth fares as well – “an overall upgrade to make transit easier across the region.” Mayor Ralph expressed concern over “trash” and congregating individuals amid safety concerns in public transit spaces.
Another concern was the lack of applicants for lifeguard stations at Lake Meridien. There are currently only three applicants, but 16 are needed in order to conduct the program this summer. “Without applicants, we can’t run that program,” she warned.
Chief Administrative Officer’s Report
Chief Administrative Officer Pat Fitzpatrick offered an update on the next biannual budget and ways in which the City of Kent can define remote/work from home processes.
- Councilmember Boyce mentioned a discussion was forthcoming for the Flex Fund for small business funding opportunities to help entities impacted by COVID-19. There will be a new park and ride in Downtown Kent – 534 parking spaces are expected. Community feedback will be sought in the future. Federal Way to Angle Lake (7.8 miles) train is on track to be completed by 2024-2025.
- Councilmember Michaud serves on the Parks and Human Services Committee. The Committee approved resolutions for grant applications regarding the Parks Department.
- Councilmember Kaur will attend the King County Cities Climate Collaboration work session for electeds to be held on Wednesday, April 21, 2022. Additional updates to follow on all committees.
- Councilmember Larimer serves on the King County Affordable Housing Committee and reviewed the draft accountability framework from the Growth Management Planning Committee. Metrics and measurements were discussed during the meeting.
- Councilmember Troutner’s updates would occur following upcoming meetings.
- Councilmember Thomas stated that five new fire engines were ordered, however, it would take a stretch of time before they were built and could be distributed.
- Councilmember Fincher issued updates on the Kent Arts Commission. The Kent Creates website is being updated and will be running soon.
The Public Hearing on the South 224th Phase III Project – Garrison Creek Park Impacts and De minimus Determination came next in the evening. One written statement was read by Mayor Ralph in support of the project. No other testimonies were present. The resolution passed Council unanimously.
There were 27 speakers signed up to issue public comments for or against the proposed tiny home village. Each speaker was allotted up to three minutes to speak and viewpoints varied drastically per speaker based on their experiences and biases. Comments ranged from “no one will look them in the eye to acknowledge they are even there… we need to provide services to them” to “before Council acts on anything, this needs to go back to the people of Kent.” View the video of public comments below:
The Consent Calendar (items A-H) was approved unanimously.
Discussion resumed with the following item: “Resolution Expressing Intent to Explore De-annexation of the “Bridges,” in Order for the Property to be Annexed to the City of Auburn pursuant to RCW 35.10.217(2) – Adopt.” Resolution was adopted unanimously by Council.
The Council concluded without bids or an executive session.
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.