Feb. 26, 2023 Ward 3 Council Update
Dear Neighbors: Please find below: I) Highlights from Feb. 22 Council Meeting and II) Agenda for Mar. 1 Council Meeting
I. Highlights Feb. 22, 2023 Council Meeting
Proclamation of Lee Jordan Day (Feb 23). Note, film “They called Him “Mister Lee” to be shown in Community Center Auditorium 3:30-5pm Feb. 26
MD Legislative Update: 1) TKPK Library Grant request moving forward, 2) Mayor Searcy to testify on “Just Cause Evictions”, 3) “Safe Roads Act” making the rounds.
Public Hearing: Traffic Calming /Second Ave. Speed Hump. Ward 3 resident Abbey Cailloux gave testimony. Moved forward.
Public Comments: 1) Paul Huebner (Ward 3) commented on budget trends and the need to address increasing property taxes, 2) Karen Elrich commented on abrupt resignation of City Manager (CM) and inquired of status of various projects that he had started (details below), 3) Sue Miller asked for public transparency in CM recruitment efforts, 4) Tom Gagliardo asked that the previous speakers as neighbors be heard and heeded, and criticized the absence of details in CM resignation, and 5) Judy Rosenthal invited residents to join a Food Forest gardening project at Takoma Park Elementary School on Feb. 25.
Council Comments: I thanked the public commenters/neighbors agreeing with many of their concerns, and noting that the structure of dialogue was sorely limiting. I also invited others to join me at TPES Food Forest event. Comments by other Council Member Honzak also noted appreciation for the comments. Council Member Dyballa asked for status update on projects requested in public comments (answer next day provided below). The Mayor commented on the CM recruitment process with interest in the public Zoom option.
“Dear Mayor and Councilmembers,
At last night’s Council meeting, Karen Elrich asked about the status of the following initiatives: an on-line budgeting process, a 10-year study of the financial health of our city, and an interactive budgeting tool. Here is the status of these projects:
- The on-line budgeting simulation tool, Balancing Act, will be presented to Council in April and made available to the community.
- The 10-year study of the financial health of our city, known as a Financial Forecast, will be presented to Council in March. The City has contracted with Raftelis Financial Consultants for this project.
- The interactive budget tool has been slowed by the difficulty of identifying a software that is compatible with our current financial software, includes all the functions we need such as the CIP budget, and is affordable. This project is scheduled for FY24. “
Rosalind Grigsby / Acting City Manager
Item 2: Presentation: 2022 Election Report
A detailed report was presented by Matt Ling. Overall results were positive in terms of turnout and efficiency of the process, especially in light of this second Vote-by-Mail election and one also synchronized with gubernatorial and County general elections. Questions and possible ways to improve were noted by the Council. The Board of Elections is expected to follow-up with recommendations.
I commented 1) that calling it a Mail-In ballot was misleading since in-person and drop box voting was also available, 2) there was confusion between the City and County voting sites and 3) the amount of staff and volunteer time spent on the election should be counted.
Item 3: Single Reading Ordinance Authorizing the Mayor to Execute an Amendment to the City Attorney’s Contract: Approved.
Item 6: (Dir. of Public Works) Presentation on Overview of Process for Traffic Calming Requests and New Sidewalk Requests.
History and current status presented in detail. Various questions and concerns were raised by Council including: bike lanes, speed limits, evidence-driven sidewalk projects, mapping of sidewalks and speed humps.
I commented that while the importance of sidewalks that encourage walking is clear it would be prudent to also consider the negative environmental impacts (carbon footprint, pollution and stormwater runoff). I also raised a concern for a more transparent process to repair sidewalks.
Item 7: Resolution for Appointments to Boards and Committees. The following Ward 3 residents are being appointed to the designated Committees below. Congratulations.
Rick Henry: Arts and Humanities
Maggie Holland: Sustainable Maryland
II. Council Meeting Mar. 1
City Council meetings usually take place in the Community Center Auditorium. The public may attend the meeting or view the meeting as always: on City TV (RCN – 13, HD 1060; Comcast/xfinity – 13, HD 997; Verizon Fios – 28), on the City Council Video Page of the City Website; on YouTube, or on Facebook.
CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL
CHANGES TO THE AGENDA / AGENDA SCHEDULING UPDATE
FOR THE RECORD: Proclamation of Women’s History Month
Link to sign up for public comments
PUBLIC COMMENTS ON VOTING ITEMS
GENERAL PUBLIC COMMENTS
CITY MANAGER COMMENTS
ADOPTION OF MINUTES: 1/11; 1/18; 1/25
1. County Presentation of the Mapping Segregation Project (PDF)
2. First Reading Ordinance Approving Installation of Traffic Calming on Second Avenue
3. CONSENT AGENDA
A. Resolution Providing for Appointments to the Commission on Landlord-Tenant Affairs (COLTA)
B. Resolution Providing for Appointments to the Nuclear-Free Takoma Park Committee
4. Proposed Temporary Street Closures for Events on Laurel Avenue and Anne Street
5.FY 2023 Budget Amendment No. 5 https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2023/council-20230301-5.pdf