Wanted: leader with better fiscal management

The Kent Reporter summarizes the city’s bleak financial future in its June 30 edition. It speaks to the way the financials for this city have been managed. The city faces a” fiscal cliff” from loss of revenue from the Panther Lake annexation in 2020 and loss of $5 million from the state near term, tied into the warehouse district.

The mayoral candidates do not have an approach to resolve this matter

The majority of successful companies maintain strategic plans for up to 10 years. The city of Kent should also lay out a fiscal plan that lists the possible projects/challenges the city will be facing and possible funding avenues for the next 5 to 10 years. Every year the plan can be updated based on new information. Using this plan our city leaders can make all voters aware of the fiscal challenges before the council, especially within the next two years and the funding options.

So what are some of the “new” challenges to our tax base? There are several significant ones. The increasing gang problem coupled with the lack of a fully staffed police force. The sizable yearly property tax increase for light rail. The yearly state property tax increase for education.

Also, paying off the school bonds; the loss of a significant portion of our tax base; Boeing phasing out its Kent facility with its high-paying jobs; the increasing reduction of businesses in the warehouse district. The latter will continue as technology will replace many of these workers over the next ten years.

Finally, some of the city leadership seems to want to keep the status quo or reduce services. How does this philosophy grow a city? An age-old philosophy states that if you are not growing, you’re dying. Are we?

We need a leader who looks to the future, leading the way to define what challenges the city will face over the next decade and the possible funding options.

Who is that candidate? Let’s join forces and send a message to the candidates that we taxpayers expect far better fiscal management. That candidate has our vote.

– Jim Renton

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