The following is a link to information on the agenda for the July 31, 2019 City Council meeting: https://takomaparkmd.gov/meeting_agendas/city-council-meeting-agenda-wednesday-july-31-2019/. In addition to final votes on two budget amendments and the City staff pay structure, we’ll likely have a vote on a revised architectural design contract for the Library renovation. We’ll also have a single vote on a Consent Agenda that includes a community play contract, the Council’s summer recess schedule, and a number of appointments to resident committees, boards and commissions. Please note that information on several of the committee appointments as well as the background material on the Library project had not yet been posted when this message was prepared.
This is the last Council meeting until September 11. As a result, I’ll be posting blogs less frequently, though I anticipate sending out announcements periodically between now and then.
Vacant House Check Program: https://takomaparkmd.gov/government/police/services-and-programs/vacant-house-check-program/. If you’ll be away from your home for an extended period of time, you can request the City Police Department to keep an eye on your house. I’ve used this program myself in the past, and I think it’s a good way to get some extra peace of mind when you’re traveling.
Report from Last Week’s Council Meeting. During our discussion on the Council Compensation Committee, several of us noted that the current criteria the committee is required to consider (https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2019/council-20190724-7.pdf) may not be up to date in terms of the way the Council currently operates. For my part, I’d like the committee to at least consider whether in the future compensation should be adjusted upward in order make it easier for low and moderate income residents to potentially consider running for Council. While no formal decisions were made last week, it looks like we’re moving toward having a resident committee consider whether broader changes in the criteria, including the pay structure, should be considered. In any case, no City Council pay increases beyond annual cost of living adjustments would take place without there being an intervening election.
Budget Amendments: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2019/council-20190731-1.pdf. I’ll be voting for these amendments, which shift funds approved as part of last year’s budget into the current fiscal year. The shifts are being made because expending of funds for some programs and initiatives was delayed due to staff openings, contract delays, or other similar factors.
Staff Pay Structure: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2019/council-20190731-3.pdf. I’ll be voting in favor of this pay plan, which applies to City staff who aren’t members of either of our two municipal collective bargaining units.
Library Design Contract. Based on the Council discussion about the Library renovation project last week and some of the other discussions that have taken place in recent weeks, it has become clear that some additional design, cost and floodplain issues still need to be worked out before we would be ready to move toward a more detailed design contract for the project. And it will be necessary for our architectural firm to do a certain amount of work in order to appropriately consider those factors and provide the Council with advice and options. So I anticipate that we’ll move forward this week with a scaled back architectural contract for an amount substantially less than the roughly $800,000 contract we were initially going to consider this week.
Under this revised approach, we’d hear back from the architect in the fall, after which we would have further discussion and then an opportunity to vote on a more detailed design contract at that time. For these reasons, the materials for this week’s meeting on the Library are being revised, and I anticipate they will be posted shortly, But I wanted to circulate this message to Ward One residents now, even with that information not yet available. I’ll send a follow up note with the Library materials later.
Meanwhile, my blog from last week includes a basic summary of where things stood at that time: http://www.councilmemberkovar.com/blog/2019/7/22/july-22-amp-24-city-council-meeting-agendas.
CONSENT AGENDA (I’ll be voting yes).
Community Play Contract: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2019/council-20190731-5a.pdf
Council Summer Recess Resolution: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2019/council-20190731-5b.pdf
Resident Committee Appointments
The list of appointees to the Committee on the Environment and the Complete Safe Streets Committee was not available as of the time I prepared this message.
Please feel free to be in touch with questions or comments about any of these issues, and I hope the rest of your summer is enjoyable.
Peter Kovar, Takoma Park City Council, Ward One