The city of Kent will add four new positions in 2020, including two funded by King County.
The jobs are a Kent Senior Center outreach coordinator and a program assistant in the Parks Department; a permit technician in Economic and Community Development and a B&O tax supervisor in the Finance Department. The new positions will increase the city’s number of full-time employees to about 734, according to city documents.
The City Council this week agreed to accept a $510,218 grant for 2020 (and the last three months of 2019) from the King County Veterans, Seniors and Human Services Levy to fund the two Senior Center positions and to spend up to $135,900 on equipment and capital improvements.
The maximum position cost in 2020 is $133,000 for the outreach coordinator and $117,000 for the program assistant, according to city documents. The costs will be prorated in 2020.
Kent will receive a total of $1.4 million over four years from the county to become a hub on aging services and provide support, outreach, connection and social engagement for the diverse population of seniors (ages 55 and up) who live in the city and other areas of South King County.
“Based on the growing scientific understanding of the risks of isolation, King County seeks to support senior centers in becoming vibrant and inclusive senior hubs that expand outreach to isolated seniors and support opportunities of engagement for the diversity of seniors in the county,” according to city documents.
Funding is from the voter-approved expanded Veterans, Seniors and Human Services levy in 2017 that, for the first time, includes funding dedicated to older adults and caregivers. The investments will focus on reaching seniors and their caregivers who have not traditionally benefited from the existing network of seniors centers in in the county. The levy rate is 10 cents per $1,000 of assessed value per year for six years or about $45 per year for a $450,000 home.
“It’s outreach to create new programs and making connections across every person in the community,” said Lori Hogan, city recreational superintendent, in her report Jan. 14 to the council. “We want to make sure they feel welcome and engaged. We will also do some home visits to homebound seniors.”
The county will pay up to $35,000 for a vehicle for home visits and possible client transportation, according to city documents.
“We will conduct a needs assessment early on,” Hogan said. “We will look at barriers that isolate seniors from language to culture so that everybody feels welcome.”
Hogan said the two positions are considered temporary since they are funded by the county.
“If resources are not available in 2021 or later, we will come back to you for your priorities,” Hogan said to the council.
The Parks Department will have 116 positions in 2020 with the two new jobs.
Economic and Community Development will add a permit technician at an annual cost of $109,400 (salary, benefits) to work directly with customers in the the Permit Center.
“We need another body to provide permitting services in a timely way,” said Matt Gilbert, city Economic and Community Development deputy director.
The position is for three years and is prorated at $100,280 for 2020.
With so many permit applications coming in to the city, the increase in permit revenue will cover the cost of the additional position, Gilbert said.
Gilbert said the Permit Center is transitioning to a new software system that will eventually be more efficient. The current system is about 20 years old and requires in-person visits to the Permit Center rather than a new system that will allow online applications.
The center handles building, civil engineering, fire prevention, land use and environmental permits.
With the new hire, the Economic and Community Development Department will have 47 employees.
Permits and licenses are projected to bring in $7.4 million in 2020, according to city budget documents
The B&O tax division of the Finance Department will add a new position of supervisor to go with its two program auditors, a desk auditor, a tax and license compliance officer and a central financial analyst.
“This will free up time so we can do field audits,” city Finance Director Paula Painter said to the council.
B&O tax revenues will cover the cost of the position, estimated to be $155,660 per year for salary and benefits, according to an email from Painter. The Finance Department had been spending that money for IT Department support to help set up a tax software program to better collect revenue and track employers.
The B&O tax is projected to bring in $14.9 million in 2020, according to city budget documents.