No new taxes for Kent residents under the new budget

Kent City Council approved its 2022 tax budget Wednesday, projecting little to no increase from 2021 to 2022 for the General Fund and no tax hikes for residents.

Revenue from property taxes has remained steady at about $1.63 million since 2019. Total state shared taxes and permits have likewise remained relatively stagnant, with Kent receiving almost $1.6 million annually since 2019.

Revenue from grants and aid has hovered around the $120,000 mark, with the exception of 2020, when Kent received $488,823 because of additional grants to the city health department for the Covid-19 response.

Total revenue is down as Kent posted $10.7 million in 2019 and $10.1 million in 2020. The city estimates $9.9 million in revenue in 2021 and $10 million in 2022.

The city expects to spend $644,946 on public health services in 2022, up from $559,646 in 2019 and $560,108 in 2020. The city estimates it will spend $627,239 on public health services this year.

Total expenditures in 2019 and 2020 hovered at the $10 million mark, but are anticipated to jump to an estimated $11.4 million for 2021 and $11.68 million for 2022.

Revenue for Kent’s Street Construction, Maintenance, and Repair Fund fell from $2.2 million in 2019 and $2.3 million in 2020 to an estimated $1.87 million in 2021 and an estimated $1.869 million for 2022. From this fund, the city spent $2.2 million in 2019 and expects to spend $2.3 million in 2022.

Tax budgets certify the amount of estimated money to be collected and distributed from property taxes, levies and local government funds. 

The document is largely a procedural formality to state whether the city is seeking a tax increase or not, and it must be filed with the county auditor by July 20 each year.

The tax budget also serves as the first official step in future budget processes, including when department heads assess their needs based on prior year activity. This will serve as the city’s original estimated revenues, and then in the fall there will be discussions to finalize the estimated appropriations necessary for the departments’ estimated 2022 budgets. Those appropriations will be approved by city council prior to the end of 2021.

The city’s objective is to hold operating and maintenance expenses steady from 2021, city Budget and Finance Director Rhonda C. Hall told council members. She anticipates income tax collections to remain relatively unchanged, perhaps posting a slight increase from 2021 to 2022.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.