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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.

March 9, 2016 City Council Meeting Agenda

Dear Neighbors:

The agenda for the March 9, 2016 Takoma Park City Council Meeting is linked here: 

http://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2016/agenda-20160309.pdf and pasted below in this message. The link includes detailed background information on each agenda item.

The agenda includes three votes, as follows.

A final vote on the ordinance moving the date for multi-family buildings to submit recycling reports from June 30 to December 31, in order to synchronize with most buildings' fiscal years. I voted in favor of this proposal when it was considered on a preliminary vote in last week's meeting, and I plan to vote in favor of it again this week when we take a final vote on it.

A preliminary vote on an ordinance that establishes a storm water fee allocation system for condominium buildings. I will be voting in favor of it.

A final vote on a proposal to purchase energy efficient windows for the Community Center's third floor. I will most likely be voting for it, but I do want to learn more about the background to this item before making a final decision on it.

There will also be a discussion (without any votes at this time) on the proposed renovation design for the Takoma Park Library. As you may be aware, the Council was preparing to vote several weeks ago on a tentative design for the library, but we put that vote on hold pending further review of the plan. I thought at the time, and continue to believe, that we should give serious consideration to expanding the overall footprint of the current design. The renovation will be a one-time action that will produce a library serving the community for many decades. We ought to make sure we don't sell ourselves short as we consider the renovation design, and I will be pushing for a reasonable increase in square footage and the footprint beyond the current pending design.

Finally, there will be a presentation from City staff on tax revenue sources. With Takoma Park residents recently having received information on the State's reassessment of their property values, the Council is beginning the process of considering the tax rate for the coming year. This session will be an important part of that process, which will unfold over the next few months.

Update on last week's Council meeting (http://documents.takomaparkmd.gov.s3.amazonaws.com/government/city-council/agendas/2016/agenda-20160302.pdf):

As noted above, we had the preliminary vote on changing the multi-family report date (which I voted in favor of). 

In addition, we had extensive discussion of the proposed Vacant and Abandoned Property Ordinance. Based on the discussion, City staff will be making further changes, with potential votes still to be scheduled. 

We also heard from City staff about options for replacing our existing streetlights with LED lights. The options include having PEPCO do the work and maintenance, using an outside contractor, or giving the City the purchasing and maintenance power. Each options has pros and cons, and there will be extensive further consultations before any decisions are made. 

And, we had an initial discussion on a potential ordinance to regulate commercial vehicle parking within the City. Given that there is a parking study (due to be completed in June) that will cover most of the Old Town area, I have some question as to whether we should proceed with the commercial vehicle parking piece now or wait until completion of the larger study. No votes are scheduled at this time.

Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.

Peter Kovar, Takoma Park City Council, Ward One

March 16, 2016 City Council Meeting Agenda

March 2, 2016 City Council Meeting Agenda