Friday, October 31, 2014

Political Desk - Kent Proposal A

If you've been driving around Kent the past few weeks, you'd be forgiven if you thought that the hottest big-ticket item on the ballot involved the police. There have been huge signs demanding we support public safety and our police by voting Yes on this proposition.

And what is this proposition?

The City Council of the City of Kent adopted Ordinance No. 4118 concerning a proposition for public safety and officer training facilities. This proposition authorizes public safety improvements – constructing and equipping new police headquarters, improving the firearms training range, improving the city’s jail, and completing other training and public safety facilities – to be funded through the issuance of up to $34,000,000 in city general obligation bonds, maturing within 20 years, and annual property tax levies in excess of regular property tax levies, as needed to repay the bonds (estimated average levy rate of about 19 cents per $1,000 assessed value). 

Yeah, I know - the guys who don't like I-594 because it was too long and confusing just had an aneurysm halfway through that paragraph.

But this is what we're talking about - Kent wants to build a new police station. They're split up between about four locations right now, and the jail really isn't big enough to handle all the people who have moved into the neighborhood since the current building (which used to be a library) was converted back in the long-ago. They want to put a new HQ on the site of the old one, improve the jail and firearms training area, get a secure lot for the police cars, and pay for all those big signs.

And I'm good for that. We're a bigger community than we were, and an upgrade makes sense. It is like I-1351 that led off this discussion. Yeah, it is something that we should pay for, and we should go into it clear-eyed and say yes, getting stuff costs money. And it is not like they're buying used tanks from the military (also note to the Kent Police Department: Don't buy any tanks - they won't be able to get up the hills in the winter).

So why all the huggamugga? Well, for this proposal, not only does it have to reach 60% approval, it has to have a certain minimum floor. In other words, this is a case where a low voter turnout actually HURTS the proposal, since it may just get 51% (which is enough for most laws) and or may get enough but not enough floor votes. So yeah, vote YES.

More later,