Note to public: Kent Council wants input

After no residents showed up at a public hearing Tuesday night to tell the Kent City Council what they would like to see in the 2009 city budget, Councilwoman Jamie Danielson tried to spark some interest. "Please come to these," Danielson said before the Council adjourned. "We want to hear from you."

Public hearing on budget was a bust

After no residents showed up at a public hearing Tuesday night to tell the Kent City Council what they would like to see in the 2009 city budget, Councilwoman Jamie Danielson tried to spark some interest.

“Please come to these,” Danielson said before the Council adjourned. “We want to hear from you.”

A second public hearing at 7 p.m. Oct. 21 at City Hall will allow residents to comment on the proposed 2009 budget. A third public hearing is slated for Nov. 18 when the Council considers adoption of the budget.

Council President Debbie Raplee said the Council wants to hear what residents think about any of the city services.

“It could be anything from road improvements to whatever,” Raplee said in a phone interview Wednesday.

A public hearing Tuesday night for comment on what to include in the 2009-2014 Capital Improvement Plan also failed to draw any residents. The Capital Plan includes numerous projects for streets, utilities and parks.

“I’m struck that no one was here to talk about the budget or Capital Plan,” Danielson said before she issued a pitch for residents to show up. “I know people have an interest.”

City Finance Director Bob Nachlinger said no residents have shown up at public hearings to give input on the budget in the five years he’s been involved in the hearings.

Mayor Suzette Cooke said after the Council meeting that the lack of interest indicates residents are satisfied with the city’s handling of the budget.

“I think the Council has been so open about the process and listens to the public,” Cooke said. “And as a team, we have covered the concerns the public may have.”

Cooke also said residents hesitate to come up with ideas to add to the budget or the Capital Improvement Plan. Cooke will present her preliminary budget on Oct. 7 to the Council.

“It’s easier for the public to respond to something rather than give input,” Cooke said. “But this is an ideal time for input.”

Kent residents haven’t always stayed away from public hearings on the city budget.

“In the past, people have had pet projects or opinions on how to prioritize projects,” Cooke said. “When we had gaps in services, people would ask for money for projects.”

The Council will have budget workshops at 3 p.m. Tuesday at City Hall and at 5 p.m. Oct. 7 at City Hall. Workshops are open to the public, but no public testimony will be taken.

Raplee encouraged residents to attend a workshop to get background on the budget and find out information they could comment on at a public hearing or Council meeting.

“That’s where discussions take place,” Raplee said of the workshops. “There’s a lot of conversation about whether we raise utility (water and sewer) fees. That will impact the budget and the amount we pay.”

Raplee said residents are invited to speak about budget concerns at any regular Council meeting, on the first and third Tuesdays of the month.

“They do not have to wait until a public hearing,” Raplee said.

The city finance department prepares a preliminary budget balancing final revenue forecasts with expenditures before the mayor sends a proposed budget to the Council. The preliminary printed budget is available between Oct. 15 and Nov. 1 at the city clerk and the finance department at Kent City Hall and the Kent Regional Library.

A balanced capital plan with updated priorities and available revenue will be incorporated into the annual budget.

City staff presented a $47 million Capital Budget for 2009 Tuesday at a Council workshop. The Capital Budget projects include $24.3 million for utilities, $10.1 million for public safety, $4.8 million for transportation, $4.7 million for parks and recreation and $2.9 million for general government (including facility improvements).

For more information, call the City of Kent Finance Department at 253-856-5264 or go to


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in News

Sound Transit constructing giant bridge in Kent for light rail

Structure along I-5 stretches more than three football fields in length

Medical examiner identifies Kent man killed while lying in street

Tony Vento Houston, 63, died of multiple blunt force injuries after vehicle hit him

Kent historian, master gardener Nancy Simpson dies at age 80

Roles included Greater Kent Historical Society president; King County Landmarks commissioner

Kent man dies after collision with vehicle while lying in the street

Incident at about 4:06 a.m. Tuesday, April 16 at 132nd Avenue SE and SE 278th Street

Kent Police to offer teen academy for students in June

For high school students interested in law enforcement career

Madeline Goldsmith. COURTESY PHOTO
No suspect yet in July 2023 Kent murder of Madeline Goldsmith

Someone fatally shot 18-year-old Kentwood High graduate as she sat in vehicle near Lake Meridian

Police bust mother, daughter in Kent for retail crime spree

Two reportedly joined one other woman in 3-state crime ring taking women’s clothing from Lululemon

Reith Road in Kent to get two new roundabouts this year

City Council approves $4.28 million bid; project to start in late May or early June

Puget Sound Fire’s Teddy Bear Clinic set for May 18 in Kent

Annual event provides free checkups for teddy bears and children

Overturned military vehicle causes I-5 backup near Kent, Federal Way

Wednesday, April 10 in northbound lanes near South 272nd Street

Kent Police Blotter: March 26 to April 7

Incidents include robberies, burglaries, shooting

State Patrol seek witnesses to I-5 hit-and-run crash in Kent

Collision at about 11:30 p.m. Monday, April 8 along northbound I-5 near State Route 516