Councilman’s desire to tax KSU not city’s policy

Garret M. Ferrara

Dear Editor:

I just read the Akron Beacon Journal article with regard to taxing KSU students. I think I can speak for the city and council when I say that council is not anti-KSU or student in any way, shape or form.

The request for a tax on admissions was and has been requested by councilman Ed Bargerstock more than several times. The law director has told him repeatedly that the city could not impose a tax on Kent State or Kent State students. Mr. Bargerstock has chosen to disregard the law director’s advice that it can’t be done. The issue came up again because Mr. Bargerstock basically said the law director was lying. The law director chose to submit the issue simply to prove his point once and for all.

Several years ago council censured Mr. Bargerstock because he was making requests of the administration that fell out of the purview of council. Perhaps we should have used that censure to block his request this time. (The law director was not directed by council to seek an opinion from the state.)

Lastly, the comments about council being “hostile” toward students are dead wrong. “Council is hostile toward students” would be analogous to “Kent State students are drunk and disorderly.”

Council (and me in particular) doesn’t want to be painted by the broad brush of intolerance any more than students would want to be represented by the few students who continue to be disruptive and disrespectful to their neighbors and the laws the city has on the books pertaining to civil behavior.

The simple fact is the nuisance law is designed to stop habitual offenders. One should look at the law as an attempt to promote the positive aspects of both entities and a tool to stop those whose actions endanger the good standing of the vast majority of Kent State students who follow the law and standards of decency.

Council went to great lengths to emphasize that more often than not the offenders are not Kent State students, but those that come from out of town for the nightlife at Kent State. Frankly, the standards the city has imposed are no more severe than those imposed by Kent State for the students on campus. I don’t hear students saying the university is hostile to students because of its standards with regard to student gatherings. In fact you don’t see the same type of gatherings on campus as you do off campus for the very reason that they aren’t permitted, nor would they be tolerated on campus.

Relations between Kent State and the City of Kent have never been better. We are working together to promote each other’s continued success, and the future for both is inextricably intertwined. I believe we are on the verge of great things happening if we continue to work together.

I appreciate and respect one’s right to an opinion, but do not interpret opinion as policy.

Garret M. Ferrara

Kent City Council, Ward 1