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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.

June 15, 2016 City Council Meeting Agenda

Dear Neighbors:

Here is a link to the agenda for tonight’s City Council meeting: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-agenda-20160615.pdf

We will of course be meeting under the shadow of the awful events in Orlando, the site of the worst mass shooting in U.S. history. Our hearts go out to all the victims and survivors, along with their loved ones and friends.

Sadly, the impact of this tragedy goes beyond the Orlando area and affects all of us. We are in a challenging political climate, and I believe it’s vital that we do all we can to express support in particular the larger LGBT and Muslim communities. Beyond that, I believe all of us should consider more deeply the actions we can take, as individuals or working together at all levels of government, to promote tolerance and safety (including through the adoption of common sense firearms legislation).

 anticipate Councilmembers and residents may wish to express their views on some of these matters tonight before we take up the formal agenda for our meeting. In addition, for those who missed the announcement, a group of residents has organized a vigil in honor of the Orlando victims, and in solidarity with the affected communities, tomorrow night at the Gazebo on Carroll Avenue at 7:00 PM. I will be attending.

Meanwhile, tonight’s agenda items include: a final vote on the Area B parking program; a vote on authorizing a contract for preparation of the City’s comprehensive annual financial report; on vote on several resolutions to adopt the reprioritization of the City grant programs; and discussion of the Old Town area parking study and of the revised version of the plastic bag ordinance.

Area B Parking Program: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160615-1.pdf

The Council previously voted unanimously in a preliminary vote to eliminate the program. Tonight would be the final vote.

Accounting contract: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160615-2.pdf

Based on the recommendation of the City Manager, this vote would authorize a contract with a new accounting firm (CohnReznich LLP, which already performs other accounting services for the City) to prepare the comprehensive annual financial report. I support the recommendation.

Guidelines for City Grants: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160615-345.pdf

The new guidelines are the result of community comments and Council discussions about how best to prioritize the City’s grant monies, taking into account the Council’s priorities for the coming year. A key component of the changes – which I strongly support and advocated for – is a greater focus on lower income residents and youth programs. I am pleased that these proposals will help us move in that direction and I will be voting in favor of the resolutions.

Parking Study Presentation: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160615-6.pdf

As part of the comprehensive review of parking in the City, the transportation firm Sabra, Wang and Associates (with funding from the Washington Area Council on Governments) conducted a study on commercial and residential parking in Old Town. I also convened a separate public meeting on parking issues in Old Town, the recommendations from which were passed along to Sabra-Wang and relevant City staff. Sabra-Wang has prepared a series of interactive maps showing parking data and trends in the affected area, which you can see here: https://tkpk.maps.arcgis.com/apps/MapJournal/index.html?appid=389d98bea0194fc5831045a736eca9a6. I encourage residents to take some time to review that material, and I look forward to the presentation.

Plastic Bag Ordinance: https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/council-20160615-7-rev1.pdf

This proposed ordinance has gone through several versions as the Council has attempted to address the real world impact of the potential restrictions on plastic bag use in retail settings. I was initially concerned that the ordinance would impose unworkable restrictions on bag use before the final point of sale and also in Farmers Markets, and I urged the adoption of changes to address those issues. I believe these questions have been resolved in a reasonable way in the current version of the ordinance. Tonight’s discussion will give us the opportunity review the changes.

Please let me know if you have comments or questions.

Peter Kovar, Takoma Park City Council, Ward One


June 22, 2016 City Council Meeting Agenda