New tax system discussed at City Council

Sara Macho

Kent City Council met with Joshua Vincent, director of the Center for the Study of Economics, last night to discuss possibly implementing land value taxation throughout Kent.

Vincent said land value taxation is a type of real property taxation.

“This type of taxation taxes land at a higher rate while simultaneously reducing, or even eliminating, the tax on improvements,” Vincent said.

If Kent implemented land value taxation it could result in net tax reductions for the vast majority of residents, the reduction of inaccurate assessments and increased incentive to build and maintain economically depressed areas.

Vincent added that this land tax, which is currently used in various cities throughout Pennsylvania, should bring numerous development opportunities, tax cuts for productive citizens and businesses and revenue stabilization.

Cleveland, Cincinnati, Toledo and Steubenville currently are showing interest in land value taxation, which promotes dense or commercial land development.

Vincent suggested the city of Kent work with the Center for the Study of Economics to perform a study to see if land value taxation is a good fit for Kent.

Rick Hawksley, council-at-large, expressed interest in the new tax system.

“Land value taxation would encourage the potential to fix up property,” he said.

Though many members said they are interested in further discussing the implementation of land value taxation, council did not approve any new discussion.

In other business, council passed a motion regarding a variance to the subdivision code to allow lots that double frontage for Riverbend East Phases IV and V.

Council also passed a motion to amend the special events permit. The permit does not currently address marches, picketing and demonstrations throughout the city.

After discussing the issue, council members said if residents wish to demonstrate on a street, they need to go through the permit process. Those residents wishing to demonstrate on a city sidewalk will not need a permit, but will need to let the city know of their plans.

Contact public affairs reporter Sara Macho at [email protected].