Kent City Council to decide which street projects to fund with B&O tax

The Kent City Council is expected to decide Feb. 18 which streets to repair this year with B&O tax revenue. - Kent Reporter, file photo
The Kent City Council is expected to decide Feb. 18 which streets to repair this year with B&O tax revenue.
— image credit: Kent Reporter, file photo

The Kent City Council will decide in about two weeks where to spend about $4.7 million in business and occupation (B&O) tax revenue this year on street repairs.

"There is no lack of candidates for projects," City Public Works Director Tim LaPorte said to the council's Public Works Committee at a Jan. 27 meeting.

The council is expected to approve a project list at its Feb. 18 workshop. Council members must cut down a staff recommended list of $5.6 million to the $4.7 million in revenue expected from the B&O tax.

"You need to chop about a million dollars off the list," LaPorte said.

The most expensive of the recommended projects includes an estimated $2.6 million for a new layer of asphalt along North Central Avenue between Smith Street and South 228th Street.

"The idea here is to give you a little bit of a menu and you can make up a list for this year and we will follow it," said Tom Brubaker, interim chief administrative officer. "We are attempting to give you some control over how this tax money gets allocated."

LaPorte said he recommends approving repairs for sidewalks, wheelchair ramps on three city streets. The striping and sign replacement as well as guardrail repair also rank high on his list.

"The sidewalks are bad," LaPorte said. "You don't have to drive very far at all to see bad sidewalks."

Tree roots have damaged sidewalks, LaPorte said. He said the city about 15 years ago started to plant from a list of trees that are less aggressive and do not damage sidewalks. But trees city crews planted nearly two decades ago now cause damage.

Three neighborhood traffic calming programs are on the list for installation of speed bumps, traffic circles or other ways to slow down drivers. Those  projects include 100th Avenue Southeast between S.E. 208th St. and S.E. 216th; 42nd Avenue South between S. 250th St. and S. 253rd; and Southeast 223rd/224th streets between 116th Ave. S.E. and 132nd Ave. S.E.

City staff also proposed the following list of repairs:

• Concrete street panel replacement

Gowe Street; Military Road South from S. 243rd St. to 247th.

• Asphalt street inlay

South 260th St. from Pacific Highway South east 500 feet; S. 228th St. west of 64th Ave.; S. 200th St. between 80th Avenue and 84th Ave.; 76th Avenue South from 212th St. south to Pozzi Brothers; Sixth Avenue north at South 228th St. (south side of intersection); S.E. 208th St. about 600 feet of westbound lanes east of Benson Road; and S.E. 260th St. each side of 104th Ave. S.E., one block east and west.

• Sidewalks (lifted or broken sections only)

64th Avenue South from S. 220th St. to James St.; East Valley Highway from S. 190th St. to 212th St.; and Gowe St. from Central Ave. to Kennebeck Ave.

• Traffic signals and streetlights

Communication to Panther Lake area signals; battery backup power supply to 27 cabinets at intersections; battery replacements; director loop replacements in street for signals; and streetlight pole replacements.

LaPorte said bids for the asphalt overlay work should go out in March as the work needs to be done in warmer weather, which means no later than October.

"We have some work to do before the workshop in February to pare about $900,000 off," Councilman Dennis Higgins said.

The more expensive projects not recommended by staff for repair at this time include asphalt overlays along South Central Avenue from the Green River to Willis Street ($4 million); East Valley Highway from S. 212th to 196th ($4 million); East Valley Highway from S. 196th to 188th ($4 million); 80th Avenue South from 196th to 188th ($1.5 million); South 212th Street from 84th Avenue South to State Route 167 ($1 million); and South 196th Street from the Green River to 72nd Avenue South ($4.5 million).

Brubaker told the committee to keep the bigger picture in mind as well as the council decides which projects to fund.

"We have come through some really rough years," Brubaker said. "I think we have developed out of that a patch mentality to do the minimum. I want to urge you as we move forward to do complete projects and making the streets, trees and plantings and environment look right so people feel good about it when they come into town."

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