KENT: A much-debated topic became a point of contention once again at the Kent City Council's meeting Wednesday night. The Wells-Sherman house, a point of controversy for some time, was on the agenda because of two measures before the council.
The first measure was a motion to authorize the city to release funds for the Wells- Sherman house once the permits for the move and relocation are complete and paid for, with a one-year deferral.
The second measure was an ordinance amending a previous ordinance regarding the moving of the house. With the revision, which passed with only one vote against, the city was authorized to loan up to $15,000 to Kent Wells Sherman House, Inc. for the house's relocation, with the money to be used as matching funds for income from fundraising efforts.
Ward 4 Councilman John Kuhar voted against both measures, saying during the first vote that he refused to support it because he had "serious questions whether it's an appropriate business action."
When the second item came up on the agenda, Kuhar launched into a longer explanation of his opposition to the ordinance and said that his reasons had to do with the structuring of the agreement, specifically a lack of guarantees for the money to be repaid.
"I'm going to vote against this for a number of reasons," Kuhar said. "In the ordinance itself, it talks about matching funds, but for some reason, guarantees for repayment aren't required and I haven't seen a copy of any promissory or mortgage note, and apparently there isn't going to be one because there isn't going to be any security on this, so if they decide not to pay this, I guess we just say they owe us, but I can't support it with taxpayer dollars. It's just a very poor business decision."
Kuhar was the only council member to vote against and the ordinance passed.
The other issue that drew the most attention was an alteration to composting rules, with Ward 5 Councilwoman Heidi Shaffer objecting to the new regulations on the grounds that they were "overly restrictive."
Shaffer made a motion for the ordinance to be referred back to council for further discussion and for a request to be made to the health department to see if a revised set of regulations that are less restrictive could be sent back to the council.
In other action, the dedication of the new right-of-way on West Main Street and the acceptance and dedication of the land, courtesy of Klaben Property Management, LLC, for the right-of-way.
Also, the council renamed and amended Chapter 559 of the city code, relating to police emergency alarms, to reduce the number of false alarms city emergency services are required to respond to, and amended sections of the code relating to parking violations in order to unify the penalties for such violations.