Tomorrow’s Council Meeting, Feb 26, 2013

College Park City Hall

This week, Council will be starting with a 7:15 public hearing on a couple minor, technical changes to the Tree and Landscape Ordinance. We will then vote on a couple of things, including a contract for a plan for marketing the City’s new brand and for hiring a market master for the College Park Farmer’s Market.

Here’s our agenda for this week:

1.7:15 – PUBLIC HEARING ON 13-O-01, AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 179, “TREE AND LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE,” TO EXPAND OR CLARIFY CERTAIN DEFINITIONS OF APPOINTED MEMBERS. Last month, Mark Wimer, Chair of City’s Tree & Landscape Board, came and presented some suggested changes for the Council to consider to Chapter 179 of the City Code, which pertains to the make-up and operations of the Tree and Landscape Board. These are just some housekeeping changes to help with the way that the Board is run – specifically, to clarify the definitions of “landscape” and “maintenance,” to clarify that part of the Board’s role is to ensure that landscaping is maintained so as to protet the City from liability stemming from this maintenance, to allow the chair of the City’s Committee for a Better Environment, the City’s Director of Economic Development and the City’s Director of Public Works to appoint designees to serve as a liaisons to the Board instead of serving themselves, and to define a “quorum” as a majority of the members of the Board who have been appointed, rather than a majority of the total seats on the Board.

PROPOSED CONSENT AGENDA:
2.13-G-21 – APPROVAL OF A LETTER IN OPPOSITION TO HB 820/SB 893 – MUNICIPAL PROPERTY TAXES – ANNUAL BUDGET ORDINANCE AND SPECIAL RATES. The State House of Delegates will this next week be considering a bill that would, among other things, place limits on the ability of municipalities to set different property tax rates by subclass or class. This would limit the City’s ability to create special taxing districts and allow residents to pay different tax rates for different levels of service, such as the proposal that the Council is considering to create special taxing districts to pay for the expansion of monitored closed-circuit TV cameras in different neighborhoods and expansion of concurrent jurisdiction of the University of Maryland Police into the more student-heavy areas off campus. It would do this by limiting the rate differential between different classes to only 10%, and by requiring a special process to enact a special taxing district. The City Council has been considering special taxing districts that would allow the City to charge more to those who most benefit from a service. The Council will be considering a letter in opposition to this bill.

3.13-G-22 – APPROVAL OF A LETTER IN SUPPORT OF HB 640 – WASHINGTON SUBURBAN SANITARY COMMISSION – SEWAGE LEAKS – NOTICE REQUIREMENTS. This bill would require WSSC to notify the County and any municipal corporation in which a sewage leak is located within 24 hours after the discovery of the leak. The Council will consider approval of a letter in support of the bill.

NON-CONSENT AGENDA:
4.VOTE ON 13-O-01, AN ORDINANCE AMENDING CHAPTER 179, “TREE AND LANDSCAPE MAINTENANCE,” TO EXPAND OR CLARIFY CERTAIN DEFINITIONS: The Council will vote on the proposed Ordinance discussed earlier at the public hearing.

5.13-R-04 – A RESOLUTION ESTABLISHING AN AWARD IN RECOGNITION OF COUNCILMEMBER JOHN EDWARD “JACK” PERRY. The Council will consider approval of establishing an award in recognition of late Council member John ”Jack” Perry. John Edward “Jack” Perry moved to College Park in March of 1969 and served on the College Park City Council from 1979 – 1983 and from 1989 to 2011, for a total of 26 years, tied with Mayor Davis as the second-longest serving official in the City’s history. Any resident, neighborhood association or organization located in the City of College Park may submit a nomination for the Jack Perry Award. Nominations shall be submitted in writing to the City Clerk for the City of College Park. The nomination period shall be open annually from May 15 (Jack Perry’s birthday) to July 15. The Jack Perry Award will recognize a person who has participated to an extraordinary degree in neighborhood, civic, or municipal affairs within the City in a manner that improves public spaces, fosters community cohesion, eradicates blight, informs discussion of public issues, provides leadership, and/or furthers the best interests of the City as a whole. To be eligible, a person must be at least 18 years of age, and a registered voter or legal resident. The Jack Perry Award shall be conferred when and if an eligible member of the community is nominated and found to be deserving of the Award. The Award will be advertised annually but there is no obligation to grant the award each year. Nominations will be reviewed by a subcommittee of at least three persons appointed by the Mayor. The subcommittee shall include a member of the Perry family. The subcommittee’s recommendation will be forwarded to the full Council for approval by majority vote. This is a non-monetary award to be given to the person selected by the Council at a regular meeting in September or October.

6.13-G-23 – APPROVAL OF A LETTER OF INTENT TO PARTICIPATE IN THE “MARYLAND SMART ENERGY COMMUNITY” PROGRAM. The Council will consider a letter of intent to participate in the Maryland Energy Administration’s new “Maryland Smart Energy Communities” program, which is intended to encourage local governments to reduce energy consumption and use alternative energy sources. The Council must then consider later whether to apply for the program by April 5, 2013. If the City does apply for the program, the City would be eligible for grants in amounts between $20,000 and $500,000 to carry out energy efficiency and alternative energy projects. The application requires that each local government agree to establish a plan for implementation to complete at least two of three things by December 31, 2013: 1) establishing baseline electricity usage in all City buildings and developing a plan to reduce electricity usage by 15% within 5 years of adopting the plan; 2) reducing conventional centralized electricity generation serving City buildings by meeting 20% of the electricity demand with distributed renewable energy generation by 2022. This energy must be purchased and deployed within the City; and 3) establishing baseline petroleum usage for all local government vehicles, and putting in place a comprehensive program to reduce the baseline by 20% within 5 years of the baseline year. The City Green Team has recommended that the City commit to completing the first two of these three tasks. Up to 20% of the grant funds available to the City may be used in the first 8 months in order to complete the plans to accomplish these tasks. More information about this program is available at http://energy.maryland.gov/Govt/smartenergycommunities/.

7.13-G-24 – AWARD OF A ONE-YEAR CONTRACT TO KSM MARKETING, LLC IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $28,600 FOR A FARMERS MARKET MASTER FOR THE SUNDAY DOWNTOWN COLLEGE PARK FARMERS MARKET. The City Farmers Market committee last year developed recommendations on how to proceed with establishing a downtown Farmer’s Market with more of a focus on local and organic produce than the current market. The Committee did significant research and developed a recommendation to pursue one of three different options – to hire a company to operate the market entirely on its own, to retain an independent contractor to run the market, or to hire a market master working directly for the City. The Council, after discussing these options with our City attorney, issued a Request for Proposals for an independent contractor to work with the City on running the market. Only one contractor – KSM Marketing – submitted its proposal in a timely manner (two other proposals were submitted past the deadline and were also significantly higher than the proposal from KSM). KSM offers full-service market management capabilities and currently runs two farmers markets in Washington, DC. Under this contract, KSM will provide vendor recruitment, market oversight and day-to-day management, as well as marketing services for the downtown market. KSM will begin immediately to prepare the market for opening this season.

8.13-G-25 – APPROVAL OF AN AMENDMENT TO THE AGREEMENT WITH “IDFIVE CONSULTING” FOR IMPLEMENTATION OF A MARKETING PLAN IN AN AMOUNT NOT TO EXCEED $29,700. The Council will consider approval of a marketing plan by the consulting company idFive towards the implementation of an amount not to exceed $29,700. The Mayor and Council allocated $30,000 in the FY 13 operating budget to implement recommendations from the planned marketing study. idfive, LLC was hired to complete this study and created a tagline and logo to help brand and promote the City and increase awareness about College Park being A Smart Place to Live. Mayor and Council needs to determine how to utilize these budgeted funds. In a report presented to Council on January 15, 2013, idfive provided marketing ideas and recommendations for a City marketing campaign. Subsequently, staff worked with idfive to propose activities which could be accomplished this fiscal year within the allotted budget. idfive has made a proposal within the City’s budget to design and implement marketing strategies to accomplish awareness and education goals for the new brand. These strategies include purchasing media and actively managing the media as well as the creative production of the media. In addition to the proposed agreement, staff plans to use some FY 2013 Economic Development funding to purchase more materials which staff can use in meetings and at community events, such as Maryland Day and College Park Day. These materials include postcards, brochures, and table covers. idfive also recommends a multi-media campaign on Pandora radio to reach young, affluent professionals in the DC market. To continue marketing implementation into FY 2014, further funding discussions will occur as part of the FY 2014 budget process.

9.13-R-05 – A RESOLUTION ADOPTING PROGRAM GUIDELINES FOR THE COMMERCIAL TENANT IMPROVEMENT PROGRAM. The Council will consider final guidelines for the commercial tenant improvement program, an grant program that is intended to incentivize improvements to commercial properties occupied by small and local businesses and businesses that College Park residents want to see in the City, funded through a $75,000 grant from the State Department of Housing and Community Development. The Council has reviewed draft guidelines for eligibility and a structure for the program at three different worksessions and worked out a number of different legal and practical issues. Existing and proposed businesses that want to relocate into College Park or improve property at existing locations may apply to up to $25,000 grants to conduct leasehold improvements including, but not limited to, upgrades and installation of HVAC and plumbing systems, lighting fixtures, and flooring. Grants will be available solely to locally-owned and independent businesses. Applications will consist of business plans, construction plans, and financial records of the business. The financial records will not be reviewed by City staff, but will be submitted separately in a confidential envelope to the Maryland Small Business Development and Technology Center at the University of Maryland, which will provide guidance and consultation services to the business and also prepare a recommendation to the Council regarding the viability of the business model. The businesses must provide at least 1:1 matching funds for the grants. City staff will decide whether to approve the application based on set criteria, and the staff’s decision on the grant is final.

10.13-O-02 – INTRODUCTION OF ORDINANCE TO AMEND THE ADOPTED REDISTRICTING PLAN FOR COUNCIL MEMBER ELECTIONS TO INCLUDE LAND ANNEXED SINCE THE ADOPTION OF ORDINANCE 11-O-09. The Mayor and Council have recently adopted a resolution enabling the City to annex the Domain Property, as well as a portion of Mowatt Lane abutting this property, and that portion of Campus Drive not presently within the City from its intersection with Mowatt Lane to Adelphi Road, into the City. The Mayor and Council undertook redistricting in 2011 as required by§ C2-2 “Districts” of the College Park Charter. At the time of redistricting, it was known that the Domain Property would eventually be annexed into the City, and the Redistricting Commission determined that the property should be included in Council District Three once annexed. The Council will consider approval of an ordinance, required to include the annexed Domain property into District Three.

11.13-G-26 – APPOINTMENTS TO BOARDS AND COMMITTEES. The Council will consider appointment of Stephen Kemp Brimer, District 1 resident, to the Committee for a Better Environment. Thanks to Mr. Brimer and all of our volunteers for their service to the City!

As always, please let me know if you have any comments or questions, and thanks for reading!

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