Dear Neighbors: Below please find I. Highlights from April 24 Council Meeting, II. Highlights from April 26 Council Meeting, III. Agenda for May 1 Council Meeting and IV. Invite to Takoma Foundation Beerfest . Note, highlights this week are especially abbreviated due to time constraints. Special thanks to everyone who contacted me with regard to the Budget Reconciliation items.
I. Highlights from April 24 Council Meeting
FY’24 Proposed Budget: American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA)
– Presentation by Andrew Bolduc
– Council Work Session
II. Highlights from April 26 Council Meeting
– Poetry Month Reading
– Recognition of Montgomery College Scholarship Recipients
– 12 Residents including Bob Anderson, Brandon Smith and Paul Huebner from Ward 3 made comments mostly with budget concerns and suggestions. They included: 1) Need to prioritize, 2) Don’t need to replace Rec. vans, 3) Reduce and reuse 4) Survey residents on services to keep or reduce, 5) Demand budget based on available income, 6) Decouple exec. salaries from wage increases, 7) Determine what we need to survive in face of climate crisis, 8) Consider rent vs. buying vehicles and 9) Union request to provide fair and competitive wages to union members. Other comments included: 1) Council’s need to review resolution on dais behavior, 2) Frustration and reaching out to Council, and 3) Segregation in the City and need to make things better for all.
Jason- We should negotiate the budget up until the end of fiscal year. Speak to the County about the proposed 10 cent tax increase.
Me – Thanks for the many strong and constructive public comments on the budget. Thanks to Marty Frye for Circle Woods Native Tree walk. Thanks to all who made the Coop Earth Day event great.
Cara – Budget process feels like we are on a freight train. Need to cut but keep what’s good.
Cindy – Goal is long-term fiscal health. Need to review underlying policies esp. for the next budget. Reminder on Homestead Tax Credit.
Terry- Many Council Members at kickoff of Wed. Crossroad Farmer Mkt.
Talisha – Challenging budget. Question: What can we do without?. Send comments.
Acting City Manager Eubanks
– Noted that the proposed budget was preceded by significant budget reductions by staff.
Item #1 Resolution authorizing MOA with Montgomery County for Mental Health Crisis Counselors
– Addressing concerns on language of MOA that was considered too Police centered, ARPA Mgr. noted the concern and change in the Resolution noting “intent that the counselors will be hired as civilian staff overseen by the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services.”
– Resolution passed unanimously.
Budget Work Session: Budget Reconciliation
– See my April 28 Update and look for the list of Reconciliation items which should be posted to the City’s website by Monday.
– 31 budget Proposals were made, most focusing on Capital Improvements.
– My proposals included: Reduce one trash truck purchase; Reduce two Police vehicle purchases; Delay Third Floor Renovation; Reduce sidewalk retrofits and street resurfacing, and Increase Property Tax Credit.
– I am informed by my neighbors and three guiding motivations: affordability, fairness and effective governance. After this budget, I hope to be part of an effort to address some of the long-term structural issues that impact affordability, better budget process and sustainability.
III. Agenda for May 1 Council Meeting (Note, last public hearing on the FY24 Budget)
City Council meetings usually take place in the Community Center Auditorium. Meetings are hybrid. 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. This meeting may also be viewed on Zoom.
7:30 PM: CALL TO ORDER/ROLL CALL
1. Public Hearing on the Tax Rate (Constant Yield Tax Rate Public Hearing)
2. Public Hearing on the Proposed FY 2024 Budget
Testify in person or via Zoom*
*To testify on Zoom, registration is required by 5 pm on the day of the meeting. There is no registration requirement to testify in person.
BUDGET WORK SESSION
IV. Takoma Foundation Beerfest: May 6, 2023 3–7pm, VFW 6420 Orchard Ave.