Author Archives: randyhgibson

May 14, 2023

Dear Neighbors: Happy Mother’s Day!  Please find the following:

 I. Highlights from May 10 Council meeting,

 II. Agenda for May 17 Council Meeting, and

 III. Notice about City Newsletter

I.  Highlights from May 10 Council meeting:

Public Comments

– Two residents provided comments about current and future budgets. Tom Gagliardo thanked Council and provided 10 points, including 1) Council facing a fiscal crisis in future, 2) Always appropriate to challenge staff budget, 3) Use of ARPA and the Reserves can’t continue and 4) Start budget process earlier. Paul Huebner (Ward 3) noted several points including: 1) Appreciated diligence of Council, 2) Sees waste in City govt., 3) Get quarterly financial reports and 4) A runaway vehicle policy.

Council Comments

– A range of comments included: updated events, thanks for public comments, Council pivot to fiscal health, and thanks to staff.

Acting Dep. City Mgr. Comments

– Refund checks to be sent out shortly; described staff efforts to prepare budget and Q&A prior to Council Meetings; Code Enforcement issue at Frankly Apt. resolved; $125k MD State grant received for library, and upcoming events.

Voting Session

– Mayor noted four voting items: Tax Rate, Stormwater Board, Stormwater Budget and FY24 Budget.

– City Manager described need to adjust funding slightly in future for Sustainability Mgr and Grant Coordinator to add amounts for their budget to be in sync with 2% Salary increases in FY24.

Item 1: First Reading Ordinance Adopting FY24 Tax Rates: 

– Unanimously approved

Council Votes to Convene as the Stormwater Management Board

– I noted the additional executive authority that this board has beyond the Council’s normal legislative role. 

Item 2: First Reading Ordinance Adopting FY24 Stormwater Budget

– Unanimously approved

Item 3: First Reading Ordinance Adopting FY24  Budget

– Approved 5 to 1. (I opposed)

– I explained my no vote as follows: “First, I want to acknowledge the hard work undertaken by the Council and Staff over this budget process. I will, however, vote not to accept this budget. The constraints on time and information has meant the Council had no real option but to seek reductions at the margins. The absence of performance metrics or an alternative budget scenario are glaring omissions to effective deliberation. I will be working to make next year’s budget process more meaningful.”

– Other Council Members noted comments including the following: 

– Talisha: more than one budget cycle needed; alternative revenue sought and hard choices on expenditures; revamp development, and open our borders.

– Jason: Respect for Council’s efforts, “solomonic budget”, thanks to David

– Terry: Challenging year, thanks to Council and David


Item 4: Grants Review Committee Recommendations

– HCD Director Kowler and committee member Derek Chou (sp?) described background, guidelines and recommendations for the Quality of Life Grants this year. Committee has nine members serving 2 yr.terms. Guidelines include focus on low-moderate income residents and racial equity lens.

– A few details: $110k funds from ARPA; max $10k per recipient with match requirement; 15 applications received and ; only local organization or area organizations with Takoma Park focus

– Recipient organizations:

– I think all of the Council was impressed with the grant process and the value to be provided by the recipient organizations. I was pleased to note an environment centered grant for food forest at TPES.

Work Session

Item 5: Maple Ave. Connectivity Project Contract Award Recommendation and Draft Ordinance

– Dir. Roz Grigsby presented background, history, challenges and opportunities on this Infrastructure Funding project. Other details include: Grant amt. $304k, City match $76k; project focus on improved safety for multimodal (pedestrians, bikes and cars) along Maple Ave.; design completion date Dec. 2024 and proposed contractor RK&K.

– Council raised several questions. Of particular concern was the need for considerable community engagement to find common ground between competing priorities (parking vs. biking). Questions were also raised and answered on the plan’s compatibility with the Minor-Master Plan. Request was made for a detailed schedule of plans.

– The item will be voted on May 17.

Item 6: Resolution Regarding Policy Options Concerning Long Term Fiscal Health of the City and Exploration of Alternative Revenue Sources.


– Council discussed Cindy’s resolution  with considerable discussion on what policies were most in need of review. There was general consensus for Cindy to revise her resolutions with minor changes, Cindy noted that prior Councils had received quarterly financial reports and the need to carefully review of a few specific financial policies such as the Vehicle Replacement policy.

– Jason recommended that a Treasurer be chosen on staff to meet MD Homerule requirements, noting that that person would be the key person on review of fiscal issues. The suggestion is under review. 

– Terry withdrew his proposal with the Mayor’s agreement to include discussion of Council Priorities in June.

– My proposal to add to Cindy’s resolution was as follows: “City Council will work with the City Manager to revise the timeline for the Council’s engagement in the annual budget process by: 1) holding quarterly review and discussion of fiscal, budgetary and program data with the goal of identifying preliminary budget parameters and 2) beginning formal budget review and deliberations by April 1,” 

– Jason agreed in concept but suggested that a focus on MD municipal guidelines and normalized practices would be a better approach. I agreed to work with him to revise my proposal.


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.   Meetings may also be viewed on Zoom.

7:30 PM





·       Comment in person or via Zoom.*


·       Comment in person or via Zoom.*

*To comment on Zoom, registration is required by 5 pm on the day of the meeting. There is no registration requirement to comment in person.



City Manager Comments (PDF)


FY 2024 Budget Ordinances Cover Sheet (PDF)

1. Second Reading Ordinance Adopting the FY 2024 Tax Rates (PDF)

Council Vote to Convene as the Stormwater Management Board

2.  Second Reading Ordinance Adopting the FY 2024 Stormwater Management Budget (PDF)

3. Second Reading Ordinance Adopting the FY 2024 Budget

·       Budget Final Reconciliation (PDF)

·       Fund Summaries (PDF)

·       Capital Improvement Program (PDF)

4. Resolution Establishing Policy Objectives Associated with the Fiscal Year 2024 Budget (PDF)


A. Single Reading Ordinance Authorizing the City Manager to Sign a Contract for the Maple Avenue Connectivity Project (PDF)

B. Single Reading Ordinance Approving Grant Awards (PDF)


6. 2023 Legislative Wrap Up and Discussion of 2024 Legislative Priorities (PDF)

·       Presentation (PDF)

7. Procurement – Rental Housing Licensing and Rent Reporting Software (PDF)

III. Notice on City Newsletter– Recently several residents have reported receiving multiple copies of the City Newsletter (Takoma Park News). This is not the City’s intent. Our postal route distribution agreement is to deliver one copy per household. If you received more than one copy, or did not receive any copies of the May “Takoma Park News” and have not previously reported this, please email our Communications Director Donna Wright at the email address below. 

If you got extras, someone didn’t get theirs. The multiple and missed copy problem is being shared with both the Post Office and Rep, Raskins office for resolution. Note, It may take two delivery cycles to fix the issue. By the way, Eric Bond was hired to be the new Newsletter editor.  

May 7, 2023

Dear Neighbors: Below please find: I. Highlights of May 1 Council Meeting, II. Highlights of May 3 Council Meeting, III. Budget Process Analysis and IV. Agenda for May 10 Council Meeting

I. Highlights of May 1 Council Meeting

#1 Public Hearing

Public Comments on the Tax Rate:

– 17 people (3 from Ward 3) provided comments. 

-The vast majority were critical of the tax rate increase with comments as follows: 1) The issue is getting good value for our taxes, 2) Plea to not vote a tax increase due to harmful personal impact, 3) Noted approval of proposed Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) deferrals and reductions, 4) Applauded proposed hiring freeze and provided 10 suggested cuts and reductions, 5) Noted burden on fixed income residents with both City and County increases, 6) Noted higher poverty rate for seniors and wondered if only young professionals we be able to live here, 7) Noted people will be forced to leave if taxes continue to rise, 8) Noted 10.68% increase is not sustainable and we should shift more of burden to businesses and raise utility taxes, 8) Asked don’t we have a right to live here too, 9) Noted  budget creep and TKPK most highly taxed city in MD, 10) Recommended program shifts to the County, and 11) Noted she can’t take advantage of increased value of home. 

– Supporting comments included: 1) Noted an anti-govt. perspective, preferring support for collective well-being, 2) Supported tax rate increase to rebuild for most vulnerable, 3) Supported tax rate increase but change the burden on long-term residents, 4) Supported tax rate increase and suggested more multi-family housing, and 5) Commented that safety requires funding and concern for fair wages.

Public Comments on the Budget:

– 9 people (2 from Ward 3) provided comments.

– Comments included: 1) Described budget debate as one about spending not definition of progressive, 2) Advocated for earlier start in budget process and use of schools for Cash Assistance outreach, 3) Concerned on proposed hiring freeze impact on employees and described lack of conversation, 4) Concerned at proposed cut in cyber security, 5) Expressed support for several positions including Eco. Development, 6) Concerned that Council is penny-wise and pound foolish notably Sustainability and hiring freeze, 7) Asked to get more bang for buck and not cut Sustainability due to available external funding, 8) Concerned about proposed cuts including Sustainability and noted seniors need education to access dollars, and 9) Said we were leaders so concerned about proposed cuts in several programs.

Budget Reconciliation

– Council members were asked to review for errors or questions the previously proposed line item reductions and additions but no vote would be taken. 

– Many proposals were modified or withdrawn. These included: 1) Withdrawal of Code Enforcement reduction (w/agreement to review policy), 2) Several Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) matching programs moved to ARPA, 3) Withdrawal of most of the hiring freeze positions, including Sustainability, and 4) Withdrawal of several CIP items. In addition, considerable discussion took place around several positions and programs including Sustainability and Economic Development.

– Among other actions, I lowered the amount that I had proposed for Property Tax Credit program, and proposed the addition of a Stormwater Pilot project.

II. Highlights of May 3 Council Meeting

Item 1: Proclamation for Bike to Work Day

General Public Comments

– Ten residents (2 from Ward 3) commented primarily about the budget and proposed tax increase. These included: 1) Start next year’s budget sooner and use city-owned “Balancing Act” software to engage the public, 2) Suggested several cost reduction areas such as external contracts and dumpster fees, 3) Noted areas for reductions such as Public works vehicles and full-time Arts Coordinator, 4) Advocated for full Sustainability funding to access funding, 5) Noted confusion in Council’s withdrawal of many proposed reductions, 6) Noted that proposed 2% employee salary increase is hardly enough to pay car mechanic, 7) Noted avg. increase of 2 FTEs/yr. over last 10 years and tax burden, 8) Supported proposed tax rate and values city services, 9) Advocated to get off fossil fuels and supported Sustainability program, 10) Recommended cuts to City Mgr. salary and shift of Police functions.

Budget Reconciliation

– Council considered and debated a wide range of line item reductions and a few additions. Please see before and final reconciliation spreadsheets below. The proposed FY24 tax rate increase of 57.05 was reduced to 55.12 which is a $1.83 decrease per $100 assessed value. The reduction in General Fund expenditures was $511,456. 

-Reconciliation Document before Meeting:

-Final Reconciliation:

III. Budget Process Analysis

– A majority new Council meant a steep learning curve. Notwithstanding this, the full Council undertook real efforts to find cost savings and maintain valued services. The results, in my opinion, were only moderately successful in terms of reductions. Current programs were maintained, including Sustainability. However, I remain concerned about the increasing tax burden on some, including low- and fixed-income residents who may be “house-burdened”. Looking forward It should be noted that funds received from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) are being used by the City to pay general government expenses, but the remaining funds must be expended by 2026. Long term fiscal challenges will likely increase. Therefore, I believe we must develop the discipline to reprioritize our spending based on need, effectiveness and value. 

– Recognizing my newness to the Council, I have been challenged by several aspects of the budget process. A few observations include: 1) A truncated budget schedule seriously limits informed decision making, 2) Council is highly dependent on City staff for timely program and policy data, 3) A lack of performance metrics prevents review of program effectiveness and efficiency, 4) Prior policy and operational decisions frame current decision-making options, and 5) An absence of alternative budget scenarios limit the Council to narrow line-item decisions. I believe these structural and operational issues need serious attention.

My perspective on the FY24 proposed tax rate and budget was communicated in Council Comments on May 3 as follows:

The budget Debate: 

·      Competing values: Affordability and desired services/programs, forcing trade offs

 1) Eroding affordability options for many current residents and those who would like to come here. (An increasingly bifurcated City)

2) And, we have valuable programs and services that continue to grow in cost and                                                    number

We are at a decision point with regard to both our fiscal and demographic trajectories

Time for a course correction thru balance and value.

1.    Keep proven programming and services

2.    But increase program efficiencies and effectiveness

3.    Reduce spending & save more as business norm

4.    Protect residents most affected by high taxes

5.    Reduce General Fund expenditures by at least $720,000 which is Constant Yield plus inflation (CPI)

6.    Maintain and build up Reserves as much as practical

 We need to look beyond this budget to address longer term structural and policy challenges:

1.    improve/lengthen our truncated budget review process

2.    Review and update various operational policies

3.    Develop and monitor performance metrics across all programs

4.    Review strategies to revise property tax credit programs.

5.    Review possible transition of services to Montgomery Count

 6.    Survey residents on program/service priorities to keep and reduce

IV. May 10 Council Agenda

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.   Meetings may also be viewed on Zoom.


·       Comment in person or via Zoom.*


·       Comment in person or via Zoom.*

*To comment on Zoom, registration is required by 5 pm on the day of the meeting. There is no registration requirement to comment in person.


1. First Reading Ordinance Adopting the FY 2024 Tax Rates
Council Vote to Convene as the Stormwater Management Board

2. First Reading Ordinance Adopting the FY 2024 Stormwater Management Budget

3. First Reading Ordinance Adopting the FY 2024 Budget

FY2024 Proposed Budget
Final Reconciliation


4. Grants Review Committee Recommendations

·       Recommended Awards


5. Maple Avenue Connectivity Project Contract Award Recommendation and Draft Ordinance

6. Resolution Regarding Policy Options Concerning Long Term Fiscal Health of the City and Exploration of Additional Revenue Sources

·       Draft Resolution Prepared by Councilmember Dyballa

April 31, 2023

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

Public Comments

– 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. 

Council Comments

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.


Public Hearing Agenda

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.


3. Reconciliation

IV. Takoma Foundation Beerfest:  May 6, 2023 3–7pm, VFW 6420 Orchard Ave.

April 23, 2023

Dear Neighbors: Below please find: I. Highlights from Ap. 17 Council Meeting, II. Highlights from Ap. 19 Council Meeting and III. Agenda for Ap. 24 and Ap. 26 Council Meetings. 

I. Highlights from April 17 Council Meeting 

Budget Work Session:

1. Operations Budget and Capital Budget (City Mgr., Communications, City Clerk, Human Resources, Finance, Information Systems, Recreation)

– Acting Dep. City Manager Eubanks gave presentation including overview and assumptions, budget structure, Reserve fund balances and Capital Improvement Budget by source and expenditure, Police/Public Works/Housing & Community Development and Library highlights and Capital improvement items.

– See link to presentation at City website or:

– Council dialogued with staff on a wide range of issues including: City Mgr. search costs, reductions in Recreation fees, Rec. participation, Takoma Langley agreement, buses requested, lack of County resources for local recreation, Communications website, ways to reduce expenditures, General Fund and Reserve challenges, etc,

– I described our need to reduce expenditures in order to lower property taxes and suggested possibility of Council requesting an across the board funding reduction of perhaps 2.4%, I was advised by the Mayor that that was not possible so I should instead confer with constituents to identify line item cost reductions for me to propose in the reconciliation process. Council Member Siemens noted value in my suggestion but that it was too late in the budget process. (My rationale for asking for across the board cuts is the extremely limited time, voluminous budget numbers/narrative and recognition that the staff know better than anyone where reductions can best be made.)

– Council agreed to identify goals among Council Priorities for subgroup focus in this budget cycle.

II. Highlights from April 19 Council Meeting

Item #1. Mental Health Crisis Counselor Memorandum of Understanding (Andrew Buldoc, American Rescue Plan Act “ARPA” Mgr.)

– Overview/background presented: To address mental health needs in the City, two years in development, $600k ARPA funding, pilot project with expectation to turn over to the County afterwards.

– Montgomery County Crisis Counselors: Description of County Program features and strengths which Takoma Park pilot to mimic. Included co-location with Police Dept., access to County data, continuum of services, etc.

– Council raised questions including co-location, youth services, intervention strategies, public outreach, steering committee composition and funding. A concern was noted about our pilot in that the Rockvile program is funded by the City reimbursing the County.

– Council will vote on MOU the following week.

Item #2. Public Hearing on the Proposed FY 2024 Budget

– See link at:

Public Comments on Voting Items

– Thirteen residents provided comments, 12 of whom were concerned or critical of proposed Budget Tax rate increase (10%) and/or certain expenditures: Paul Huebner (Ward 3), Jeffrey Rosenbaum, Margarite Cyr, Bob Anderson (3), Tom Gagliardo, Ferd Hefner (3), Colleen Cordes, John Rogers, Natalie Hopkins, Jean Capps (3), and Arthur Olson.

– Recommendations included: On-line budget tool, starting budget process sooner, consider impact of County tax rate also, analysis of police vehicle purchases, clearer budget, review Rec. bus purchase, look for other sources of revenue, use ARPA for funding the most vulnerable, create a budget handbook, consider an advisory task force, reconsider City Hall renovation, hiring freeze, turn to MoCo for some services, “mission creep” and raise tax credit allocation.

– Remarks: I couldn’t do justice trying to summarize these that you watch on City Website or on Youtube at: or check out excerpts  on WOWD  Radio “Talk of Takoma” Ap. 23 1-3pm at:

General Public Comments

– Three residents provided Comments: 1) Ferd Hoefner noted several problems with the Mental Health Crisis Counselors MOU inconsistent with the Reimagining Public Safety Task Force, 2) Jackie Moore noted inappropriate behavior at Council Meetings and requested Council to act as “Upstanders” vs “Bystanders”, and 3) Megan Scribner encouraged City active engagement in Metro project discussion.

Council Comments

Cindy – Noted concerns about tax duplication and need to respond, and mentioned property tax credits availability.

Cara – Grateful for map of Direct Cash Assistance recipients, noting high Ward 4 representation.

Talisha – Noted goal to balance reduced expenditures with need to increase reserves. Mentioned review of Mental Health Counselor MOU within tight timeframe.

Randy – I thanked those who gave public comments as representative of many others concerned about impact of tax increases on themselves and neighbors.

Voting Session: Single Reading Ordinance Authorizing Procurement of Five Police Vehicles

– Chief DeVaul and Director Braithwaite described the process, policy and staff identified need for procurement.

– Council raised a number of questions including: car vs. cash stipend, allowable mileage for officer’s use, fleet policy, “pursuit rated”, EV alternatives, etc.

– I moved to delay the vote until after FY ’24 budget is completed. The motion failed: five against, 1 abstention, and my vote in affirmative. (My rationale was to not rush process and have better sense of City’s fiscal situation after completing the FY ’24 budget process)

– Vote was taken on the resolution: 6 in favor and my 1 vote opposed. (My rationale was that this reduction would help address unsustainable fiscal trends  that increase property taxes and my belief that the reduction would not impact Police performance. Notably, seven more Police vehicles are found in the proposed FY’24 budget.)

Work Session: Operations Budget and Capital Budget (Housing and Community Development, Police Department, Library and Public Works

– Acting Dep. City Manager Eubanks gave a presentation including description of  “Maintenance of Effort” budget noting effort to respect balance, continuation of services and a $2m. reduction. He noted trend since 2016 of adding less to funding balances and described revenues and expenditures for Police, CIP, Public Works, and Housing and Community Development.  See presentation at:

Re. Public Works (Daryl Braitwaite)

– Jason asked about expenses related to tree programs and impacts if cut.

– Cindy noted absence of workload measures in the budget, and asked about impact if fewer sidewalks or roads were repaved, and rationale for 3rd Floor renovation. She asked for list of Public Works fees and noted removal of a Benchmark Study.

– Terry requested updated Equipment Replacement Reserve spreadsheet advising that investments were needed.

– Cara asked where reductions might be made including: 1) one vs two trash trucks, 2) delay of roll-off trailer purchase, 3) 3rd Floor renovations delay and 4) mower delay.

– I asked about impact of decision not to hire two interns, and policy for ADA sidewalk retrofits that replace narrower sidewalks. Daryl responded that fear of litigation is driving policy. 

Re. Housing and Community Development (Ira Kowler)

– Jason asked about affordable housing

– I requested details and data on the Neighborhood Commercial Center. 

– Talisha highlighted need for economic development. Ira noted two distinct types of economic development programs, those oriented toward helping small business start-ups and those aimed more at revenue creation. 

– I highlighted value of performance metrics.

III. Agenda for April 24 and 26 Council Meetings

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.   Meetings may also be viewed on Zoom.

April 24 Council Agenda 7:30 PM

1.    American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) Budget


April 26 Council Agenda 7:30 PM


·       Poetry Month – Reading by Poet Laureate

·       Recognition of Montgomery College Scholarship Recipients


·       Comment in person or via Zoom.*


·       Comment in person or via Zoom.*

*To comment on Zoom, registration is required by 5 pm on the day of the meeting. There is no registration requirement to comment in person.


1. Resolution Authorizing the City Manager to Execute a Memorandum of Agreement with the Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services for Mental Health Crisis Counselors


2. Budget Reconciliation


April 16, 2023

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


6:30 PM


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

7:30 PM

1. Operations Budget and Capital Budget (City Manager, Communications, City Clerk, Human Resources, Finance, Information Systems)

View the Proposed FY 2024 Budget (PDF)

April 13, 2023

Neighbors: Below please find: I. Highlights April 10 Council Meeting, II.Property Tax Credit information, and III. Short Video of March 26 Ward 3 Budget Meeting. 

I. Highlights April 10 Council Meeting

1. Montgomery College Facilities Master Plan Briefing (Dr. Brad Stewart)

– Dr. Stewart gave overview of the 2023-’33 Master Plan required by the County. Stages in roll-out of the plan include All Campus Kick-off May 2, Campus-Specific starting May 4 for Takoma Park-Silver Spring campus, and information provided through email, on web and in campus walks.

– Programs include nursing, early college programs, and fine arts.

– Student population now 5500, reduced from pre-Covid days.

2. Minor-Master Plan Preliminary Recommendations (Melissa Williams and others)

– See Slide Presentation:

– Council raised several questions concerning: 1) Bike plan, 2) down-Zoning, 3) recreation opportunities, 4) plans for Piney Branch ES and enrollment trends, 5) relationship to other plans in Takoma Park, 6) explanation of FAR vs Zoning codes (CRN, CRT), 7) density in different districts, 8) status of climate assessment, 8) Food forest, 9) request to explore with University use of “hospital hill”, 10) height limits and rationale,  and 11) historic designations.

– I asked about stormwater mitigation esp. in light of Metro development plans and MMP plan to restore Brashear’s Run (an underground stream/culvert running below Maple Ave). Their responses: several regulations are in place for new or renovated properties to mitigate stormwater created by the development and to retain minimum percentage of permeable surface; Metro development plans have not been considered; and the extent of restoration work on Brashear’s Run is limited to the outfall at Sligo Creek.

II.  Property Tax Credit information

Updated Property tax credit information sheet is now included on city website at: Please share this information with your neighbors.  Note, the Homestead Tax Credit application is due by May 1.

III. Short Video of March 26 Ward 3 Budget Meeting

On March 26, approximately 20 residents joined me at Spring Park to discuss the upcoming budget. Nine minutes of excerpts of this meeting were captured by journalist extraordinaire Eric Bond and can be seen at link below:

Note: The formal presentation of the proposed FY24 Budget took place Wed. Ap.12. It will be posted on the City Website under the Council Agenda Ap. 12. I will provide Council notes and link to the presentation on my weekly Ward Update Ap. 16.

April 9, 2023

Dear Neighbors: Below please find: I. Update on Budget Process, II. Council Agenda for April 10 and III. Council Agenda April 12.

I. Budget Update: The budget season has begun for the City. On April 12 the Acting City Manager will present a proposed FY ’23-24 Budget to be followed by two public hearings (4/19, 5/1) and reconciliation Work Sessions by the Council before a May 17 deadline. We are facing some difficult trade-offs this year between a desire to maintain the amount and level of services/programs and a desire to minimize the property tax burden (felt by both owners and renters). Note, County taxes are also expected to increase. We additionally need to restore a depleted reserve balance (“rainy-day fund”) and set a course for financial sustainability. 
To address these competing values I envision two stages of engagement: 1) the more immediate choices on possible reductions and additions, and 2) longer term structural questions. I want to thank the Ward 3 residents who helped kick off such discussions by participating in my March 26 Spring Park budget meeting.

First, in order to inform the City Council’s reductions and additions debate over the next 6 weeks, I seek your suggestions on services/program or service levels that could be reduced or increased. I welcome any ideas (as specific as possible} that you have both now and later in response to a budget survey that I plan to post in the next week or so. 

Second, in order to address longer term structural issues, I welcome your recommendations that may require further study or investigation by the Council, City staff or resident groups as part of this year’s work plan. These may involve a focus on fiscal, budgetary, strategic or programmatic challenges. Thank you for caring and taking part in our city’s budget and fiscal issues.  I continue to listen and learn from your engagement. By the way, there is a Budget Town Hall, sponsored by Community Vision for Takoma, on Sunday April 16 from 2-3:30 at the Fire Hall. I hope to attend.

II Council Agenda April 10




1. Presentation on Montgomery College Facilities Master Plan – Cover Memo (PDF)

2. Presentation from Montgomery Planning on Minor Master Plan Recommendations

Cover Memo (PDF)

Presentation (PDF)

III. Council Agenda April 12


The City Council will vote to convene in closed session at 6:30 PM on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 to receive legal advice and consider matters related to litigation (Opioid Settlement). The meeting will be closed pursuant to Annotated Code of Maryland, General Provisions Article, §3-305(b)(7) and (8). After the closed session, the Council will reconvene in the Auditorium for the regular meeting

7:30 PM
Arbor Day Proclamation (PDF)
Proclamation Recognizing 40 Years of the Takoma Park Farmers Market

PUBLIC COMMENT SIGN UP LINK. (To sign up for public comments over Zoom, registration must be completed by 5 PM on the day of the meeting.)






1. Presentation of the City Manager’s Recommended FY 2024 Budget


2. Resolution Adopting the 2023-2024 City Council Priorities


3. Police Procurement Items – Five Police Vehicles


March 26, 2023

Dear Neighbors
:  Below please find: Highlights from March 22, 2023 Council Meeting.  Note next Council Meeting scheduled for April 10 at 6:30 to focus on the Minor-Master Plan.

I. Highlights from March 22, 2023 Council Meeting

1. Presentation: CY 2022 Annual Police Report (Chief DeVaul)

A few highlights: 1) 23% annual increase in Part 1 Crimes (mostly thefts) noting that crime is up in the region, 2) Police have responded with increased patrol details  in target areas, 3) Part 1 Crimes down 1st qtr. ’22, 3) High profile arrests made, 4) Police training a priority, 5) Officer misconduct complaints only 6 in ’22, 5) Staffing at 42 of 43 positions; 6) Diversity of staff representative of City, 7) Many community engagement events, and 8) Guardian approach to Policing. 

Follow-up comments by Chief: 1) MOU needed with Washington, DC police, 2) Would like to revisit Canine issue, 3) Takoma Park direct number (301) 270-1100 for non-emergencies, 4) Pending meeting with DHSS re. Mental Health Counselor MOU and 5) His focus will be internally to support staff.

·      Link to report:

2. Youth Council Update

·      Two members reported on the successful Clothes Drive and noted plans to coordinate Easter Egg hunt.

·      Planned Youth Forum rescheduled to Ap. 27 at 5:3-7:30pm

3. Item No. 2: Ten Year Financial Forecast (Mike Burton of Raftelis)

·      “General Fund Financial Sustainability Analysis”.

·      Introduction: 1) General Fund sustainability faced by uncertainties such as inflation, 2) Model provides 10 year Forecast of status quo w/alternate assumptions such as cost, growth, tax rates, 3) Cost primarily driven by staffing, inflation and capital project costs. 4) Revenues bases on taxes and other sources, 5) Financial policies, such as reserve levels guide the balancing, and 6) Primary measure of financial sustainability is “unassigned fund balance.

·      Some Model Scenarios:

o   1) Status Quo w/current tax rate (0.5397) the unassigned fund balance falls below target in FY26 and Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) borrowing first required in FY25.

o   2) Constant Yield w/tax rate (0.5185) the unassigned fund balance falls below target in FY25 and CIP borrowing first required in FY25.

o   3) City Mgr’s Recommended rate (0.5185) the unassigned fund balance falls below target in FY30 and CIP borrowing first required in FY26.

o   4) City Mgr’s Recommended Rate (.5705) with Reduced CIP to avoid borrowing, the unassigned fund balance Never falls below target and CIP borrowing Never required.

o   Council raised several issues and questions. Several of us asked about other scenarios including reduction of services or one that added ECI (Employment Cost Index) to constant yield. Council was given the opportunity to provide up to three scenarios for use in modeling by end of March. (Please send me your suggestions by Mar.30)

·      Link to report:

4. Public Comments

·      Karen Elrich highlighted rising evictions as result of end of Pandemic protections, and advocated on behalf of proposed County bill “Home Act” that would hold rent increases to 3%.

·      Megan Scribner highlighted potential negative impacts of EYA Metro development plans including nearly eliminated parking, noting research showing nearly full parking lots at both Takoma and Ft. Toten.

·      Tom Gagliardo highlighted an affordable housing crisis noting Purple Line and Adventist Hospital plans. Reminded Council of importance of citizen comments.

·      Jim Giacoma highlighted the Police Report and the need to maintain high quality through appropriate levels of taxes.

        5. Council Comments

·      I thanked public commenters and noted Ward 3 Budget Discussion on Sunday March 26 at 2pm in Spring Park. (More than 20 attended.)

·      Jason noted Purple Line walk-thru March 31st on Univ. Blvd.

·      Cindy noted Montgomery County Energy summit and Belford Place Sidewalk design.

·      Shana noted Ward 1 Budget Meeting this week.

·      Cara thanked public commenters and noted Playground event this Sunday.

·      Talisha noted meeting w/WMATA on Friday and Hillwood Ave. Playground celebration on Saturday.

          6. MD Legislative Update (Ann Ciekot)

·      “Safe Roads Act” (HB70) still being negotiated with commitment anticipated by SHA is to agree to do most of what the bill would ask for. One continuing element of the bill is interim safety measure required after 12 mo. of inaction.

·      Still moving through legislature are: Unlawful Restriction Covenant, Packaging Materials and Low Income Energy Target.

  7. City Managers Comments (Acting CM David Eubanks)

·      Update on Direct Cash Assistance: 1300 household, adding more in-person assistance.

·      Laurel Ave. Traffic Closure: Delayed until more complete study can be done.

·      Minor-Master Plan: Several meetings planned: Ap. 10, Ap. 17 and Ap. 18.

·      Susan Chueng: Not available due to family emergency.

            8.  Discussion of Council Priorities

·      Council reviewed earlier document and focused on possible edits to a list of “Priority Priorities” that would be highlighted in proposed resolution. I lobbied for including reference to stormwater under the Environmental Priority. Council seemed to accept wording that would include Resilience which would imply inclusion of stormwater. Final version to be voted at next council meeting.

·      Links:

·      Draft – Council Priorities (PDF)

·      Council Priorities Draft Resolution (PDF)

9. Overview of the FY 2024 Budget Process

·      Schedule in link below. (Note Public Hearings on Ap. 19 and May1. (If you recommendations or concerns please attend and email me as well.)


March 19, 2023

March 19, 2023 Ward 3 Council Update

Dear Neighbors: Below please find: I. Highlights from March 15 Council Meeting and II. Agenda for March 22 Council Meeting.

I. Highlights from March 15 Council Meeting

Closed Session held to consider litigation (E&R Services v. City)

MD Legislative Updates: 

  • Several Bill moving forward: Unlawful Restrictions Covenant, Energy Efficiency for Low Income Housing, and Clean Energy Homes
  • “Safe Roads” Bill may pass but pending SHA letter
  • Testimony given including Mayor Searcy on Sprinkler System in High Rises bill 
  • Clean Energy Equipment bill (HB101) passed House

Public Comments

  • Tom Gagliardo commented on Council refusal, preceding Closed Session, to allow his comment about interpretation of Open Meetings act. He advocated for more information from Council regarding Closed Sessions to foster trust. He asked for an apology for derisive language used.
  • John Rogers highlighted impacts of raising property taxes on fixed income homeowners and renters both.
  • Sue Miller noted frustration with budget and staff growth, and opacity. She asked that the Council should ask: Why expenses have grown? What are essential services? and Which services could the County provide?
  • Christine Simpson from Historical Society highlighted importance of addressing the proposed Metro plans, noting concerns for stormwater runoff, traffic implications and reduced parking access for elderly and disabled. She recommended contacting various entities before WMAT staff report scheduled for the spring.
  • Paul Huebner noted appreciation for response from various Council Members to his comments last week on SNAP. He asked Council to describe process for residents to provide input in City Manager recruitment process.

Council Comments:

  • I thanked the public commenters recognizing their contributions and agreeing with their importance. I also thanked the 25 or so volunteers, several from Ward 3, who earlier today helped clean up many bags of trash and tires found in Sligo Mills Neighborhood Conservation Area.
  • Noted: Ward 3 Budget Discussion on Sunday, March 26 at 2pm at Spring Park Pavilion, corner of Elm and Poplar Ave. (Please come and tell your neighbors)
  • Jason noted upcoming Ward 6 meeting with Purple Line officials.  Also noted upcoming Fentanyl Crisis meeting.
  • Cindy noted 1) Ward 2 Code Enforcement meeting (recorded) held last week that pointed to need for amending the Code, 2) Transportation Planning Bd meeting which agreed to revise it Environmental Justice Analysis, and 3) Possible DOE grant (Building Up) which the city might apply for.  
  • Shana noted upcoming Ward 1 Budget meeting on March 23 at Municipal building.
  • Cara thanked public commenters and described successful Ward 4 Public Safety Meeting held on Monday.

Acting City Manager Comments (David Eubanks)

  • Two recent graduates from Police Academy making a total of 42 (of 43) police positions filled.
  • Roof of Rec. Center being worked on over next two weeks.
  • OTBA Safety Grant used to explore options for Laurel Avenue. Public survey released and residents are encouraged to enter. To post on City website (open thru Mar. 24) 

Agenda Item 1: Second reading Ordinance Approving FY23 Budget Amendment no. 5

I asked four budget questions which were answered by Mr. Eubanks and through email from Dir. of Finance Chung (her email response below).

“Thank you for your email. Please see my responses below:

1) Would it be correct to say the final projected budget figure of $9,302,260 will be reduced by a $5m drawn on the Library Bond fund? 

In the FY23 Projected Budget, the City will use $5 million from the Bond Fund and $2.5 million from the Special Revenue Cable Grant Reserve Fund for the Library construction project. As indicated in the General Fund FY23 Budget and Fund Source spreadsheet, the total projected deficit is $9.3 million. Of that amount, $5 million will be covered by the Bond Reserve and the remaining $4.3 million will be funded by all other reserve funds.

2) Would this figure then be further reduced by $3.3m from the “designated subsequent years” category of the General Fund?

Yes, the City can elect to use the funds in the Designated Subsequent Years in the Committed Reserve and or the Unassigned Reserve.

3) Although we do not have the final revenue or expenditures for the end of this fiscal year, would it be reasonable to expect that the City will maintain an “unassigned reserve” of about 17%?

We believe that we can maintain the “Unassigned Reserve” at the level about 17% in FY23 year end. Unfortunately, with the on-going budget deficit “and actual deficit in the past few years, we have reason to believe that the “Unassigned Reserve” will not sustain more than seven years.

4) Given the above projections, would this mean the City will have an approximate $2m deficiency that must be met by cost reductions and/or tax and revenue increases?

The City staff is working on the cost reduction and tax and or revenue increases in the FY24 budget. David and all the department heads are working diligently to find ways to reduce the expenditures in the General Fund. As for Fiscal Year 2023, we are already advancing to the end of the 3rd quarter of the fiscal year, most likely we have no or very limited options for any revenue increases.  We could work on expenditure reduction if the contracts were not signed and the work schedule not started. However, during the work process of FY23 Projected Budget, the department heads reminded us that a lot of the contracts were finalized. “

  • Council members continued to discuss these and other budget issues such as constant yield with Mr. Eubanks. He mentioned “confounding” practices over recent years with reserve withdrawals not being replaced, thereby needing to use unassigned reserves. He stated his intention to not draw down additional reserves in next year’s budget proposal.
  • Mr. Eubanks shared that staff were preparing a proposed budget based on what they had heard Council say, one that would be close to “maintenance of effort” numbers. I remarked that I and other Council Members wanted to see more than one budget scenario including “Constant Yield”. We were told that we would receive more than one budget scenarios “in concept”.

Item #2: Discussion of Council Priorities

  • Council held an extended discussion on a new draft version of Council Priorities (see link below) that Mayor Searcy had put together based on: 1) the 2021-22 City Council Priorities, 2) current Council’s Retreat held on Jan. 30 and 3) follow-up edits by individual Council Members.  
  • I noted that the document so far contained a strong list of Priorities, Goals and Strategies but was lacking in performance metrics. Issues discussed included each of six priorities including Environmental Sustainability in which I had proposed a number of new strategies. Additional review and edits of the version below will take place off-line. The hope is that a final version can be approved at the next Council session.
  • Click to access Council-Priorities-v2-draft.pdf

II. Agenda for March 22, 2023 Council Meeting

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.   Meetings may also be viewed on Zoom.

Upcoming Agendas (PDF)

1. Police Department Annual Report

FOR THE RECORD   Developmental Disabilities Awareness Month (March 2023) (PDF)

2. Financial Forecast (PDF)

· Presentation agenda (PDF)

· Presentation (PDF)


(Sign up for public comments over Zoom will be open until 5:00 PM on the day of the meeting. Registration is not required to comment in person.)

Link to Comment on Zoom 


3. (Tentative) Discussion of Council Priorities


4. Overview of the FY 2024 Budget Process (PDF)


February 26, 2023

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

Voting Session

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.   


7:30 PM



FOR THE RECORD: Proclamation of Women’s History Month


Link to sign up for public 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


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