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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.

City Council Agendas for September 24 & 26, 2018

Dear Neighbors:

In addition to our regular City Council meeting on Wednesday of this week, we’ll also be conducting a joint meeting tonight with the Commemoration Commission to discuss options for potential renaming or other actions connected to Takoma Park streets named for Civil War Generals. At our regular meeting, there will be votes on the Hilltop Road traffic calming plan; a Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) agreement for 126 - 128 Lee Avenue; amendments to the City ethics code; and approval of the previously announced Dorothy’s Woods settlement. After those votes, we’ll have a single vote on a Consent Agenda consisting of three routine items (a digital sign purchase for the community center and appointments to two resident committees). Finally, we’ll have a presentation and discussion on major City projects.

Here’s a link to information about Monday’s meeting with the Commemoration Commission:  https://takomaparkmd.gov/meeting_agendas/joint-meeting-of-the-city-council-and-the-commemoration-commission-monday-september-24-2018/

And this is the link for background on Wednesday’s agenda:  https://takomaparkmd.gov/meeting_agendas/city-council-meeting-agenda-wednesday-september-26-2018/

Hilltop Road Traffic Calming:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180926-1.pdf.   I plan to vote in favor of the proposal.

Lee Avenue PILOT Agreement:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180926-2.pdf.  I continue to believe we need to develop a more comprehensive policy on PILOTs, which I anticipate the Council working on when we consider our approach to affordable housing later this fall. That being said, I don’t want us to lose the opportunity to ensure that the units in this project are kept affordable. And given the modest expected impact on municipal revenues, balanced with the availability of affordable units, it’s my sense that this PILOT is reasonable. One area of uncertainty for me is the effect on revenues when the property is reassessed (and most likely sees a substantial increase in its value). So I’ll be seeking more information about that point before I make a final decision on how to vote (the final vote on this agreement is scheduled for October 3).

Ethics Code Amendments:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180926-3r.pdf  Maryland law requires that municipalities adopt public ethics laws regarding lobbying and conflicts of interest at least as stringent as the Maryland laws governing State employees and elected officials. These amendments will bring our ethics code into conformity with recently adopted State legislation. I’ll be voting yes.

Dorothy’s Woods Settlement:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180926-4.pdf.  As announced previously, the City has agreed to pay $250,000 (with $100,000 of those funds coming from resident donations) to ensure our continued ownership of the Dorothy’s Woods property. This resolution confirms that settlement. I’ll be voting for the resolution, with the understanding that the Council will soon be working to identify offsetting savings from this year’s budget to compensate for the unanticipated expenditure of $150,000.

I’ll be voting for the Consent Agenda, which includes the following three components:

Community Center Digital Signage Purchase:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180926-5a.pdf

Ethics Commission Appointments:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180926-5b.pdf

Environment Committee Appointments:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180926-5c.pdf

Update on Major Projects:  https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2018/council-20180926-6.pdf.  This will be an opportunity to review and discuss the status, timetables, financing and other aspects of major municipal projects and initiatives. If residents have questions or concerns about specific City projects, please feel free to pass that information along to me.

Peter Kovar, Takoma Park City Council, Ward One

240-319-6281; www.councilmemberkovar.com

October 3, 2018 City Council Meeting Agenda

September 19, 2018 City Council Meeting Agenda