Pushing for Four


Kent Police Chief Michelle Lee and City Manager Dave Ruller in a promotional video for Issue 4. Video still courtesy of the Kent Police Department.

When driving on any major street in Kent the next week or two, it shouldn’t be too difficult to spot “Our City Services at Risk” or “Issue 4” signs posted on the sides of buildings or in lawns.

These signs are in support of Issue 4, an issue that, if it passes, will increase Kent income taxes by 0.25 percent starting in 2014 for an estimated 25 years to finance a new police facility.

“The building is in really bad shape,” said Councilman Wayne Wilson, who is campaigning for Issue 4 with “Citizens to Keep Kent Strong” this fall. “(The city) put a lot of money into it year after year to make it somewhat safe for people. The whole building is very inefficient for (police) to work in.”

This issue is not new. Lt. James Prusha of the Kent Police Department said the issue was on the ballot last fall as Issue 11. Prusha said the only difference between Issues 11 and 4 is that Issue 11 would have continued the tax after 25 years.

Kent City Police, along with city representatives and volunteers, reported they have spent more time and resources educating the public on Issue 4 this year than they did when it was Issue 11 on last November’s ballot.

Wilson said he campaigned last year as well for Issue 11. He said he thinks Issue 11 did not get as much attention because the campaign was less organized.

“We didn’t have information out as early,” he said. “We’ve been trying to get information out a lot quicker this time to more people.”

Wilson said “Citizens to Keep Kent Strong” is a small group of volunteers who educate locals on the issue. He said all the funding for the campaign efforts done by “Citizens to Keep Kent Strong” is done privately and through donations.

The following is a breakdown of what has been done to educate the public for Issue 4 versus Issue 11 from 2012:

Issue 4

  • Two community forum meetings open to the general public.
  • A 30-second video playing at Kent Plaza Theater before movies.
  • A seven-minute video on the Kent Police Department website and Facebook page.
  • Five to six meetings with civic leaders such as Kent Lions Club, Kent Jaycees, P.E.O. Club and the Rotary Club of Kent.
  • Interviews with local media, including the Akron Beacon Journal, WAKR radio station, WNIR radio station and student media outlets at Kent State.
  • A brochure to senior citizens, explaining how the income tax that would be implemented if Issue 4 passes would not affect their money.
  • An article in the Tree City Bulletin.
  • Educational sessions for city of Kent employees who might not live in town.
  • A large-scale tour of the current police department with dozens of locals and interested individuals.
  • A city volunteer group called “Citizens to Keep Kent Strong” that helps advocate the issue to the community.
  • A blog post by Dave Ruller on Kent-360.
  • Promotion at local festivals such as the Heritage Festival.

Issue 11

  • Eight tours of the current police department.
  • Two meetings with civic leaders, including the Lions Club and the Rotary.
  • A video tour of the police department on Facebook.
  • A volunteer group “Citizens to Keep Kent Strong” that helps advocate the issue to the community.

Contact Megan Wilkinson at [email protected].


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Video by Bill Hughes.