I. Highlights from April 12 Council Meeting
1. Proclamation for Arbor Day
2. Proclamation for 40th Anniversary of Takoma Park Farmers Market
3. Public Comments (Ward#):
– Laura Barclay (3) Reviewed contributions of Old Town Business Assoc. (OTBA) and asked for continued City support.
– Sue Miller (3) Asked for update on hiring new City Mgr. and requested that Public Comments be provided for Monday Council Meetings and that relevant City code/charter be do amended.
– Joy Marcovitz (sp?) (Takoma Park Folk Festival) Reviewed activities and contributions of the Folk Festival, noting increased budget and request for continued City financial and in-kind support
– Karen Elrich (5) Promoted the idea of Home Grown National Parks in Takoma Park through native plantings, fewer lawns and other conservation efforts, noting the MD Wildlife Corridor project led by Mt. Ranier.
– Tom Gagliardo (1) Thanked City Clerk for posting of some Council Minutes and noted a complaint he and two others filed against the City under the MD Open Meetings Act. It asks for minutes of certain Meetings to be posted on the City website and insufficient notice of Closed Meetings.
– Robert Anderson (3) Described the lesson from prior effort considering van replacement, which was fortunately not undertaken and current need for more detailed information to replace Police vehicles such as mileage, how much is saved, comparative costs, etc.
– Sharon Broadrick (Historical Society) Described the many concerns re. proposed WMATA/EYA project and requested Council to ask for Environmental Study per suggestion of Marc Elrich.
– Kathy Porter and Pamela Fields (Takoma Foundation) Described Foundation mission and upcoming grants (two types), requesting outreach to potential grantees.
– Christine Simpson (Historic Takoma) Described urgency in addressing Metro Development plans noting June 16 Hearing. Noted City letter sent to WMATA and asked Council to participate as “party”. Comments due next week.
– Elizabeth Wallace (1) Described process to license an owner-occupied group home and proposed increased fee if follow-up required by City staff.
– Steve Whitney (1) (Takoma Stormwater Solutions) Noted water inflows from Silver Spring and DC and need to study water volume to address stormwater issues. Proposed: 1) Follow up on LIDC Stormwater Study, 2) Compile list of micro watersheds, 3) Incentives for multi-property stormwater project and 4) attendance on May 7 Zoom meeting.
– Paul Huebner (3) Recommended consideration in upcoming budget of: 1) Constant Yield property tax rate or Current rate of 53.97, 2) longer budget process timeframe, 3) use of performance metrics and 4) noted depleted reserves.
4. Council Comments
– I acknowledged the amazing degree of civic engagement and service represented by those providing Public Comments. I also noted a new city flyer on Property Tax Credits (see City website) and the May 1 deadline for Homestead Tax Credit.
– Jason noted Purple line walk through and unheeded concerns re. safety issues.
– Cindy noted upcoming Ward budget meetings and public safety meeting.
– Cara thanked Public Commenters; thanked City Clerk for all that she does; noted Minor-Master Plan community meeting Ap. 18; and upcoming budget meeting.
– Talisha noted her recent meeting with WMATA/EYA and TPES PTA meeting and upcoming meeting with State Hwy Authority. Welcomed 4 new Police Officers recently sworn in.
5. City Manager Comments(Acting CM David Eubanks)
Recent activities noted along with upcoming events.
6. Work Session: Item #3 Police Vehicle Procurement (Chief DeVaul, PW Director Braithwaite)
– Following presentation, Council Members asked a variety of questions and requests such as: description of vehicles, what is pursuit rated, status and mileage of vehicles being replaced, what is disposal process, amortization schedule, environmental factors, take home policy, intended use of new vehicles, battery life, and how many spare vehicles needed.
– I stated that the upcoming difficult budget decisions makes a consideration of $336,915 vehicle procurement cost even more difficult. I believe current policies and procedures for procurement and disposal may need to be updated or reviewed in light of our fiscal situation.
7. Presentation of City Manager’s Recommended Budget (Acting CM Eubanks)
Acting CM Eubanks provided overview of proposed budget. Highlights included:
– “Maintenance of Effort” assumption that preserves expected level of service,
– Increased insurance costs (15%), 2% increase in wages (6.46% with everything considered),
– No change in FTEs,
– Tax rate increase of $.03/$100 (up from current $53.97 to $57.05/assessed valuation),
– Total revenue of $34.2m, total expenditure $44.6m and total reserve allocation $10.45m.,
– General Fund deficit $2.8m ($29.3m vs.$32.17m),
– Stormwater Fund revenue $778k and expenditures $781k,
– Speed Camera Fund revenue $2.2m and expenditures $1.6m
– Special Revenue Fund (Intergovernmental Transfers $1.9m, Expenditures $2.1m, “Match” $205k)
– Reserve Summary (Emergency Res. $50k, Equipment Replacement Res. contribution $550k and withdrawal $1.6m., Facilities Maintenance Res. no contribution and $107k withdrawal, Housing Res. State contribution $200k no withdrawals, Restricted Bond Res. Bond allocation of $1.05m. (ex. Library), Unassigned Res. $3.9m vs $4.9m (if 17% General Fund operations),
– Reserve Fund Balance: 1) FY23 projections indicate additional decrease of $1.8m., 2) FY24 proposed budget to increase fund balance by $2.3m.
– Capital Improvements to use $1.1m ARPA funds
Note. Council to provide questions to Acting CM. Council FY’24 priorities requested asap. Council Meeting on Monday Ap.17 to follow up on presentation.
8. Voting Session: Resolution Adopting the 2023-24 City Council Priorities
-Council made minor edit to document (link below) and voted unanimously to approve.
– I preceded my vote noting that the Council Priorities was a good compromise document built on prior Council’s priorities. I also noted that it lacked performance metrics and clear linkage to resource allocation.
III. April 17 Council Agenda
CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL
NOTICE OF COUNCIL VOTE TO CONVENE IN CLOSED SESSION
The City Council will vote to convene in closed session at 6:30 PM on Monday, April 17, 2023 to receive a briefing on Council safety protocols and emergency plans. The meeting will be closed pursuant to Annotated Code of Maryland, General Provisions Article, §3-305(b)(10). After the closed session, the Council will reconvene in the Auditorium for the regular meeting
BUDGET WORK SESSION
1. Operations Budget and Capital Budget (City Manager, Communications, City Clerk, Human Resources, Finance, Information Systems)