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Welcome to my blog, which features frequent updates on local Takoma Park issues, including City Council meeting agendas, plus occasional commentary on national news and politics.

January 31, 2018 City Council Meeting Agenda

Dear Neighbors:

Here’s a link to the agenda for the January 31, 2018 City Council meeting: https://takomaparkmd.gov/meeting_agendas/city-council-meeting-agenda-wednesday-january-31-2018/.  The voting session includes a resolution supporting stronger State legislation on Maryland’s renewable energy portfolio, and a couple of internal City lease and purchase authorizations. Then we’ll have a work session (with no votes) that will include: an update on Crossroads Farmers Market; a report on the Police Retirement Plan; an overview of utility projects in the City; a presentation on a major Pepco project that will take place in North Takoma; and information on the Library Renovation. Before the public portion of the Council meeting, there will be a closed session on legal issues relating to the Washington-McLaughlin/Dorothy’s Woods property (this is postponed from last week).

Council Priorities. The Council held two priority-setting retreats this month, and we are now in the process of moving toward preparing a final draft of our Council Priorities for the coming year. We’ll have an opportunity to formally adopt a document detailing those priorities next month. I’ll circulate an update on that document well in advance of our vote.

Takoma Junction Update. During last week’s Council meeting City Manager Suzanne Ludlow notified us that she had received a request from Takoma Junction developer NDC requesting to amend the project schedule, which would delay the submission of the draft combined site plan and the Council vote to April and May, respectively, as well as extending the time for identification of an anchor tenant. Ms. Ludlow is evaluating the request and waiting for additional information, with the expectation that there will be a revised, easier to read schedule available this coming week. This is something I’ll be monitoring carefully, and I’ll provide more information when I have it.

Maryland Renewable Energy Portfolio.  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180131-1.pdf. The State currently has a Renewable Portfolio Standard goal of 25 percent by 2020. This is a relatively modest and, to be frank, outdated goal. Montgomery County has proposed much more far-reaching goals, and there is legislation in the works in Annapolis that would raise the State RPS goal to 50 percent by 2030. My colleague Councilmember Cindy Dyballa and I have developed a resolution backing these higher limits. Approval of this resolution by the City Council would send an important signal to State legislators that Takoma Park has joined with other cities and towns that are on record in support of these higher goals. I hope that in turn will translate into stronger support for the idea in Annapolis. I’ll be voting for the resolution.

Canon Photocopiers.  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180131-2.pdf. This is a routine authorization for necessary new equipment, which should be slightly less expensive than our current lease. I’m voting yes.

Human Resources Furniture.  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180131-3.pdf. The Human Resources offices in the Community Center are being renovated, and this vote is to authorize new furniture to go along with the upgrade. The necessary funds are in our budget, and I’ll be voting in favor of the authorization.

Crossroads Farmers Market. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180131-4.pdf. Crossroads Community Food Network runs the farmers market in the Takoma-Langley Crossroads area, and is active in food and nutrition related matters in and around Takoma Park. The organization’s staff will provide an update on their activities.

Police Retirement Plan. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180131-5.pdf. Our outside actuarial firm will present its report providing the valuation of the pension plan and recommending the City’s financial contribution to the plan (which the Council has consistently supported in our annual budgets).

Utility Projects Overview.  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180131-6.pdf. City staff will provide an overview of upcoming major projects that will affect the City. This includes projects by WSSC, Washington Gas and Pepco. This will be a timely presentation, because –- with a number of utility projects and other development projects on the books –- it’s vital for us to ensure that there is an appropriate level of coordination. Without that, travel in and around the City could become especially difficult. I’ve asked the staff to prepare a Master Calendar on all such projects to ensure that we have the maximum amount of information and that we can take steps to avoid ill-advised overlap between and among the projects.

Pepco Presentation.  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180131-7.pdf. This is one example of the type of utility project mentioned in the previous agenda item. It’s a major revamping of Pepco’s lines that will have a significant impact on North Takoma, including specifically portions of Eastern, Takoma and Fenton Avenues. I’ll be paying close attention to this presentation and inquiring about both the purpose of the project and the steps that will be taken to minimize inconvenience to residents. Of particular importance, I’d like to hear more about how this project will be coordinated with the upcoming WSSC work on Philadelphia Avenue (there’s a public meeting on that project on Tuesday, February 6 at 6:30 PM in the Community Center).

Library Renovation.  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180131-8.pdf. I continue to be a strong supporter of the Library Renovation project, and I look forward to this update on the status of the design work, funding, and related matters.

Please feel free to be in touch with questions or comments about any of these issues.

Peter Kovar

Takoma Park City Council, Ward One










Agenda for February 7, 2018 City Council Meeting

Agenda for January 24, 2018 City Council Meeting