New police building has funding with passage of Issue 4


Kent Police Chief Michelle Lee watches the results come in for Issue 4 with Marilyn Session of Kent, inside Ray’s Place on Tuesday November 5, 2013. The issue will help construct a new police station for the department. Photo by Jacob Byk.

Issue 4, which would provide funding for Kent’s new Police Department building, passed with 57 percent of the vote.

The issue faced strong opposition with the number of voters opposing it trailing by 450 votes. Issue 4 will fund Kent’s new police station without cutting funding from other government-funded organizations.

The new station would have been built regardless of the outcome, but now a 0.25 percent income tax increase will pay for it.

“I’m terribly excited,” Chief of Police Michelle Lee said to a crowd of supporters in Ray’s Place Tuesday night. “I’m considering this a win for the city.”

Anyone who earns $50,000 annually will pay approximately $10.42 per month, according to a press release. Kent Police reassured everyone that a slight increase in taxes is better than the alternative of hits to many public services, including slower police response times.

The collected taxes can only be used to fund the new facility, and the following items will not be taxed: pensions, annuity income, unemployment, income from estates, Social Security benefits, interest, dividends and capital gains.

Lee said the next step for the city is to begin negotiating land prices and submit a request for qualifications, which allows the city to continue the design process of the new facility.

Citizens to Keep Kent Strong (CKKS), led by Lee and comprising of members of Kent’s city council and business owners, promoted the issue prior to the election. CKKS coordinated the distribution of yard signs and door hangers, assisted in tours of the current police facility and educated the public on the issue.

Members include President of the Kent Area Chamber of Commerce Michelle Hartman, Kent Council Member of Ward 3 Wayne Wilson and Marilyn Sessions, former chair of Romney’s Campaign in Portage County during the 2012 elections.

“If you saw the building,” Sessions said, “you know it couldn’t survive. It’s not safe for the police, it’s not safe for the public, its not safe for the prisoners.”

Contact Kyle Berg at [email protected].

and Adam McParlane at [email protected].