Here is the agenda for tonight’s Council meeting.
Proclamations and Presentations:
1.ARBOR DAY PROCLAMATION. The Council will be issuing a proclamation for Labor Day, which is April 26, marking the day in 1872 that J. Sterling Morton planted more than a million trees in Nebraska. College Park has been recognized by the Arbor Day Foundation as a Tree City USA due to its practices preserving our tree canopy.
2.MARYLAND DAY 2013: EXPLORE OUR WORLD OF FEARLESS IDEAS. Maryland Day is a massive annual event at the University of Maryland typically attended by tens of thousands of people, with events and activities from just about every department and student organization on campus. This year, Maryland Day will be taking place next Saturday, April 27, from 10 am-4 pm. The University of Maryland will be present Tuesday night to talk about some of the features of the event. Please try to come next week, and if you do, come visit us at the College Park City tent on McKeldin Mall!
3.LAKELAND STARs PRESENTATION BY PAINT BRANCH STUDENTS AND U-MD TUTORS. The Lakeland STARs (which stands for Students Taking Active Responsibility) program is a collaboration between the University of Maryland and Paint Branch Elementary School to tutor students from the Lakeland neighborhood in College Park. Every year, tutors from the STARs program come before the Council with some of the students they’ve tutored to talk about the experience. This year, the program will be giving special recognition to graduating senior Niklas Berry.
Proposed Consent Agenda:
4.13-G-56 – SPRING FIELD USE REQUESTS FOR USE OF DUVALL FIELD AND CONCESSION BUILDING AND CALVERT SCHOOL FIELD BY THE COLLEGE PARK BOYS & GIRLS CLUB The College Park Boys and Girls Club (CPB&GC) uses Duvall Field and Calvert Hills Field for Spring and Summer athletic events such as softball, football, lacrosse, soccer, T-ball and baseball, at times specified by the approved Field Use Requests. The CPB&GC has submitted field use requests to the Recreation Board as required. The CPB&GC has submitted requests to use Duvall Field and the Calvert Hills for consideration. The requests are to hold various sports events and activities from March 1, 2012 through July 31, 2013 and include a request for use of the Duvall Field Concession Stand throughout the year for all sports events. The City Council has determined that the CPB&GC should have precedence over all other field use requests. This is established by Council adoption of Section IV.2 of the City Recreation Facilities Rules and Regulations; the full text of which is available on the City’s website here . The Council will consider approval of the Field Use Requests from the CPB&GC for the use of Duvall Field (and the Refreshment Stand) and Calvert Hills Field for 2013 Spring sports events as part of the consent agenda at tomorrow’s meeting.
The College Park Neighborhood Stabilization and Quality of Life Work Group has recently come up with a set of strategies to increase the number and percent of owner-occupied houses in the City and creating a stable, low-turnover resident population.
While many of these strategies are focused on the University of Maryland, many of them could also be applicable to staff of other large employers in the area, including the Beltsville Agricultural Research Center (BARC), NASA-Goddard, and others.
The will host a second public forum at the City Hall on Tuesday, April 30, 2013 at 7:00 p.m. to present and take public comment on potential strategies it is compiling for addressing challenges related to rental properties in our community.
The strategies include:
1. Forgivable home purchasing loan program. The University of Maryland and other employers could provide forgivable loans to encourage their staff to purchase homes and live in the city of College Park. Unlike grant programs, forgivable loan programs do not have to be considered as taxable income and therefore may be more attractive.
2. Mortgage insurance program. The University of Maryland can provide incentives to faculty and staff by offering a mortgage insurance program in which the University backs the mortgages of staff and/or faculty that choose to live in College Park.
3. Home ownership grants. The city currently has a “New Neighbor Homeownership Grant Program” that provides grants to encourage homeowners to purchase homes in College Park; the program is specifically focused on purchases of a previously rented home and foreclosed or short sale properties, but this restriction does not apply to purchasers who are a police officer, career firefighter, or EMT (who can use the grant to support any College Park home purchase).
4. Forgivable home improvement loans. Forgivable loans to support home improvements could help to retain homeowners who already own homes in College Park but want to upgrade their homes. Existing programs in other places sometimes restrict such loans just to façade renovations, while others allow interior repairs, exterior repairs, or to conversion of a property from a multi-family to a single-family residence.
5. Housing resource center. This strategy would focus on helping prospective homeowners and renters find housing that matches their needs.
6. Ground lease for-sale development program. Homes would be sold under a long-term ground lease arrangement. This means that a buyer would purchase the home, but not the land, which the buyer would lease from UM or a UM-affiliated entity. The ground lease program enhances affordability by removing the cost of the land from the purchase price.
7. Reduce or eliminate school facilities surcharge exemption for student housing. This exemption, created by state legislation, provides an incentive for developers to focus just on student housing – and conversely, a disincentive to build other housing types that do not receive this exemption.
8. Aging-in-place programs. These programs may contribute to preventing the conversion of owner-occupied housing to rental properties if they help home-owners stay in their houses longer.
9. Marketing materials to encourage potential residents to live in College Park. Developing and disseminating marketing materials may help to attract prospective homeowners. University faculty and staff are one obvious audience for such marketing efforts but other large employers in the area should also be considered.
10. Institute a waiting period before investors can bid on a home. When a home goes up for sale, the city might require an extended waiting period before investors can bid on the home, giving potential owner-occupants more time to make a bid and purchase the house.
11. Offer assistance to sellers to help target prospective owner-occupants. Provide resources or educational materials to help sellers target potential owner-occupants. These materials could help sellers prepare their house to appeal to potential homeowners, through repairs, staging and improving “curb appeal.”
12. Improve K-12 education options for College Park residents. The College Park Academy could be a valuable tool for attracting University faculty and staff to live in College Park if some seats were set aside for College Park residents. Converting this charter school to a hybrid of neighborhood school as well as choice school would allow the school to continue to serve the county as a whole while also meeting the particular needs of College Park to increase home ownership.
13. Resident discount for or access to University amenities. This includes activities such as the Clarice Smith Performing Arts Center and athletic events. This might also include lifelong learning programs for city residents, use of the library, and recreational facilities.
14. Summer camp scholarships. Continue, and possibly expand, the recently started summer camp scholarship program for city residents attending camps at the University.
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Recently, a resident asked about salaries / rates of our code and parking enforcement officers. I thought, some of you may find this information helpful as well.
ANNUAL SALARIES RANGE
Parking Enforcement Officers :
PEO I Grade-6 $ 33,221 – $ 57,090
PEO II Grade-7 $ 34,606 – $ 59,471
Code Enforcement Officers:
CEO I Grade-8 $ 35,990 – $ 61,850
CEO II Grade-10 $ 38,761 – $ 66,611
CEO III Grade-12 $ 41,531 – 71,370
HOURLY SALARY RANGE
Parking Enforcement Officers:
PEO I G-6 $ 15.97 – $ 27.44
PEO II G-7 $ 16.63 – $ 28.59
PEO NIGHT SHIFT DIFFERENTIAL OF $1.00/hour after 5 p.m.
Code Enforcement Officers:
CEO I G-8 $ 17.30 – $ 29.73
CEO II G-10 $ 18.63 –$ 32.02
CEO III G-12 $ 29.96 –$ 34.31
CEO NIGHT SHIFT DIFFERENTIAL OF $1.00/hour after 6 p.m.
Staff are routinely scheduled to work on Saturdays (PEO & CEO ) , Sundays ( CEO), and nights ( PEO Monday-Saturday, CEO Thursday –Saturday. They are paid at their regular Grade and Merit Step for a normal 40 hour work week and receive applicable Night Shift Differential. Staff are normally scheduled to cover these hours and shifts as part of their regular 40 hour work week. When it is necessary to schedule staff over 40 hours/week to cover shifts vacant due to leave, sickness, or special events they are paid at an overtime rate that is 1.5 times their base hourly rate.
The City of College Park’s Neighborhood Stabilization and Quality of Life Workgroup will host a second public forum on Tuesday, April 30, 2013, to present and take public comment on potential strategies they have compiled for addressing challenges we face from rental properties in our community.
At the workgroup’s first public forum on January 29, members of the College Park community spoke about their quality of life concerns, the need to maintain owner-occupied housing, and the need to provide a diverse range of housing opportunities for students, faculty and staff of the University of Maryland, and other employees in and residents of College Park. Since that time, four task forces have been working to develop possible strategies to address the concerns raised at the public forum, focusing on four topics: 1) Reducing loud parties and other quality of life issues, 2) Increasing home-ownership in the City, 3) Building positive student-resident relations, and 4) Increasing the diversity of housing types.
The potential strategies compiled by the task forces will be shared with the public via the City website, at http://collegeparkmd.gov/NSQLWG.php.
Members of the public are encouraged to provide their comments on these potential strategies, either by attending the Public Forum on April 30 or by submitting written comments via email to firstname.lastname@example.org or via regular mail to Neighborhood Stabilization and Quality of Life Workgroup, 4500 Knox Road, College Park, MD 20740. The record will remain open until May 7, 2013.
Please see at the left a picture of the new Route 1 Ride (TheBus Route 17) wrap! This design was selected by a committee of local leaders from designs submitted by residents.
The unveiling of the new wrap will be on Monday, April 29 at 11 am at a location yet to be announced.
The public is welcome to attend. Refreshments from local Route 1 businesses will be served after the ceremony. RSVP to Tina Butler at email@example.com, 301-952-3060
Thanks to County Councilmember Olson for his work in making this happen!
You can find more about the bus here on the Route 1 bus’s website.
The Mayor and Council went over City manager’s proposed FY 2014 budget last Saturday and also last night and made some adjustments.
The major change we made was reducing the property tax hike by 25% (from 0.34 to 0.335 per $100 of assessed value). Considering the PILOTs and the impact on personal property tax, this will cost the City approximately to generate $110,000 in revenue.
The City plans to make up this amount from a number of sources:
- Decrease litigation expenditures from $25,000 to $15,000. Since the Council has places rent stabilization on hold, the City’s litigation expenditures have decreased, so we voted to amend the budget to reflect that.
- Decrease the Assistant City Manager position from 12 months to 9 months – with salary and benefits this will save the City about $27,000.
- Restore the contract police program to the full number of hours – due to benefit changes for police officers, the cost of hiring them has increased, and the City Manager proposed reducing the hours of contract police by 0.05 FTE’s. This will keep the FTE’s constant at a cost of $5,200.
- Increase occupancy permit fees approximately 6% to have occupancy permit revenue cover 75% self-support of Code Enforcement programs – this will raise approximately $45,000.
The other changes include an increase in mayor and council’s salary (for new Council) 10% with fringe benefits, effective 01/01/14 ( for 6 months). This will only cost the City 2,562. My colleagues argued that the salary has not increased for the past 6 years following the inflation rate changes. It passed 7-0-1. I abstained from voting, given timing of change, when we’re asking our residents to pay extra in their property taxes. The Council also decided to increase student liaison stipend by 10% ($150/month).
Council member Wojahn and I, together with Councilmembers Dennis, Catlin and Mitchell, will be holding a town hall meeting to answer questions about the budget and the FY 14 Action Plan and hear your comments and concerns on Monday, April 29 at 7 pm at Davis Hall. The public hearing on the budget will be held on Tuesday, May 14, before the Council meeting.
The Council will hear an update on the North Core development tonight and consider a revision to the North Core development agreement. The State of Maryland recently agreed to support one location for the FBI at the Greenbelt Metro station, while at least two different Virginia locations are also vying for the development (see here).
We will hear about any new information about what the prospects are for the FBI relocating to Greenbelt Station. The City has an existing agreement in place from October 2005, which included both the North Core and the South Core and required the developer to give $2.5 million to the City for various improvements around the City, to be adjusted for inflation. Half of this amount was to become available at the first major outsale of the North Core, and half of this was to become available at the first major outsale of the South Core.
The funds are meant to go toward improvements at Duvall Field and in the Hollywood Commercial District. The developer was also required to build the Beltway interchange to Greenbelt Metro Station. In exchange, the City agreed to support any proposed development that met the requirements of plans supported by the City prior to that date, while retaining the right to comment on issues such as the height of the buildings, mix of uses, and floodplain mitigation.
Last year, the City Council entered into a new agreement with CRM Mid-Atlantic, the new developer of the South Core, which replaced the old one and required to provide $1.25 million to the City at the time of out-sale of the apartment component of the South Core. Renard Development, which now owns the North Core and is the successor to Metroland developers, has proposed a new agreement with the City.
This proposed new agreement also would require Renard to give the City $1.25 million (adjusted for inflation from the date of the agreement onward) for various improvements to public facilities at the time of first major out-sale, and not to occur later than seven years after the date of the agreement. In exchange, the City would agree to general support any plans incorporating a portion of the North Core by the FBI as long as the plans are in substantial conformance with the plans submitted to the General Services Administration in response to the Request for Information related to relocation of the FBI building. The City would retain the right to address any issue not previously addressed in the RFI response or in the Conceptual Site Plan.
Please let me know if you have any questions.
For the past several weeks, Councilmember Wojahn and I have been having weekly meetings with a group of residents to start a Farmer’s market in north College Park.
Earlier, a survey run by Hollywood resident Kimberly Schumann showed overwhelming support for the market among the residents in our area. A farmer’s market in North College Park will help improve sustainability and walkability among our residents and will also help revitalize the Hollywood commercial district. These objectives are in line with City’s action plan and also Route 1 sector plan.
The Hollywood Farmers market will be very much run by residents in north College Park. So far, the residents have formed a market committee and are working on a number of few other tasks. Those include creating By-laws, forming a 501C3 non-profit entity, seeking grants and sponsorship, making a marketing plan, designing a website and contacting vendors.
The residents want to start the market sometime in early June, somewhere at the intersection of Rhode Island Avenue and Edgewood Road.
At tomorrow’s worksession, we will present the progress made so far about the our Farmer’s market and discuss the extent of City’s involvement in this market.
Once we finalize the details of this market, we’ll let you all know more in the next few weeks.
There will be also a presentation at May 9th NCPCA meeting on our market. In the mean time, if you are interested in helping out the market committee, please let me know.
Please see below last week’s crime reports. Thanks to Prince George’s Police for sending us the crime report in the old detailed format again. Please let me know if you have any questions about the incidents in the report.
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Today will begin the first day of our Budget Review Process for the Proposed FY 2014 Budget at 8 AM. Today is the first of two two Saturday budget worksessions.
You can view the session on either Comcast-channel 71 or FiOS-channel 25. Today, we will review the following items/departments:
- City Manager’s Introduction to include the Financial and Budget Policies
- General Revenue Fund
- Public Works
- Public Services
If time permits we will review Administration.
Here is a brief summation of the budget process from the City Manager’s notes….
The City Manager instructed departments to limit non-personnel operating expenditure increases to 0%.
There was a 5.6% increase in property tax rates, from $0.322 to $0.34 for real property and from$0.805 to $0.85 for personal property per $100 of assessed valuation, is proposed,primarily due to the 9.76% decrease in FY 2014 real property assessments (prior to application of the homestead tax credit). This is the first property tax rate increase in 6 years.
Even with the proposed increase in property tax rates, budgeted property tax revenue only increased $37,193 due to the real property assessment decrease (first year of a new triennial assessment for District 21 ), inclusion of a half-year assessment for the Domain College Park annexed property and 1 0% annual depreciation on personal property tax assessments.
Intergovernmental revenues (admission & amusement and hotel/motel taxes) and other revenue sources are fairly flat. State highway user tax revenue, reduced by approximately 89% in FY 2010, increased for FY 2014 only to $252,774. Estimated speed enforcement camera revenue decreased $305,000 from FY 2013.
Total operating revenues increased $85,914 or 0.6% from the FY 2013adjusted budget. As of July 1, 2012 the City had $5,944,767 in the unassigned reserve. A proposed $1,5000,000 FY 2013 budget amendment would reduce that amount to $4,444,767 to fund a City Hall Expansion. The current unassigned reserve balance represents 40.57 per cent of the requested FY 2014 operating budget, in excess of the Charter-mandated goal of 25%. The proposed FY 2013 budget amendment for City Hall expansion would reduce the unassigned reserve to 30.33%
A separate work session review of the Capitol Improvement Program( C.I.P) has not yet scheduled; however, it may be incorporated into the 2 existing work sessions. The budget ordinance is scheduled for introduction on Tuesday, April 23.
The public hearing on the operating and capital budget is scheduled for Tuesday, May 14. No constant yield tax rate public hearing is required as the proposed real property tax rate of $0.34 does not exceed the constant yield rate tax rate calculated by SDAT of $0.3447.
We are scheduled to adopt the FY 2014 adopted budget ordinance on Tuesday, May 28 for the budget to go into effect on July 1, 2013.
A representative from the landscape architect company Floura Teeter came to last night’s NCPCA meeting to present the conceptual design of the proposed Hollywood Gateway Park at the intersection of Route 1 and Edgewood Road. They will come to before City Council soon to discuss the plan further and finalize it. Once that happens, the construction is expected to begin in Fall this year. Please see some of the design renderings below and let me know if you have any comments or questions.
The developer also had a power point presentation with more information. You can review the power point here on our website.
(please click on the the thumbnails to see larger views)
Today is the second Thursday of the month and is the day for our monthly NCPCA meeting.
Here are two important development items that NCPCA will discuss at tonight’s meeting:
7:35 Revised Development Plan for JPI East. The wooded land on Cherokee St. at US 1 was planned for apartments and retail, but the project has been stalled. Now, a new developer will present details for a revised concept. Please see below a map showing the location of this development. I will make another post once I find more details of this development.
8:20 Hollywood Gateway Park. The City will demolish the small brick house at Edgewood Road and US 1 and build a landscaped park for public use. Many themes have been considered for this park, but now the City is close to a decision… and wants your feedback. Please check my yesterday’s post on more about this development.
As always, meeting will start at 7:30pm at Davis Hall. See you all there.
The much discussed Gateway Park at the intersection of Edgewood Road and Rhode Island Avenue will be finally presented to the community and the City Council.
To recap, City plans to demolish the existing house at the corner of Edewood and Route 1 and build an eco-park there. a group of residents and University of Maryland worked earlier to come up with a number of conceptual plans. At the end, a landscaping arhitecture and design farm “Floura Teeter” was awarded the contract. Please see here more about that contract.
Since then, Floura Teeter has met with a focus group of city residents to discuss a few conceptual designs. One of the designs, that appear to get most support is called “Wind and Weather” design. Please see above for a schematics of that design.
Here are a few features of the Wind and Weather design:
- “Gateway Park” Sign at the intersection of Route 1 and Edgewood
- Park entrance from Edgewood Rd near the intersection
- New trees along Route 1 to make buffer
- Sidewalk along Route 1 to be moved behind trees
- Screen and native planting around the exisiting properties on Edgewood Rd
- Slides and stairs in the park
- Pavillion with green roof from recycled house foundation. Cistern / rain barrel inside pavillion
- Community terrace – connected to 47th Place through entry walk
- Wind driven sculptures in the lawn
Representatives from Floura and Teeter are expected to be at North College Park Civic Association meeting tomorrow to present this and other designs. They are also expected to come before City Council soon to have their plan finalized.