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Federal Government Shutdown Assisstance


Just as the federal government shutdown of 2019 impacted so many Prince Georgians who are federal workers, we know another potential shutdown in the coming days would negatively impact our community. We’ve launched a landing page that contains information about resources including healthcare, unemployment support, food assistance, and more, that will be available for workers who may be furloughed during a federal government shutdown. We will ensure that our residents have full access to these resources and services should a federal government shutdown occur. Visit the page here:


City Council Takes a Stand Against Proposed Alterations to County’s Better Bag Bill Fees

At last Tuesday’s meeting, the Council approved a letter opposing certain provision to County’s Better Bag Bill

The City and the County both have enacted “better bag” legislation requiring (with some exemptions) retailers to charge a minimum of 10 cents for paper bags and prohibiting plastic single-use bags. CB-79-23 would amend the County bill to make 10 cents per paper bag the maximum charge; exempts customers who receive federal and state supplemental nutrition assistance from the charge; and exempts the charge for drive-thru food service and leftovers from restaurants.

The Committee for a Better Environment discussed the proposed legislation and voted to oppose the change making 10 cents per paper bag the maximum charge. Such a change would pass additional costs to businesses (bags often cost more than 10 cents) and disincentivize use of reusable bags—undermining the intent of the original legislation. The City’s legislation exempts pharmacies from the charge for paper bags but does not exempt drive-thru restaurants or leftovers from the paper bag charge.

The City also has provided free re-usable bags to food service providers, schools, businesses, and others.

Amendments to the County bill that would expand exemptions for certain businesses and that would make 10 cents the maximum charge would likely create confusion because the legislation differs from that in several municipalities. The City legislation is not required to be identical to the County legislation.

The County Council Transportation, Infrastructure, Energy, and the Environment Committee will discuss CB-79-23 on Thursday, September 28th.

Tonight – Information Session about All About ElectionGuard

Voters will see something new at the polls in this fall’s General Election in College Park. The City is partnering with ElectionGuard on their third trial of new election technology that lets every voter confirm that their ballot was counted and provides independent verification that the election results are correct.

How does ElectionGuard Work?

ElectionGuard runs alongside an existing voting system. Voters mark paper ballots as usual. When the ballot is scanned, ElectionGuard encrypts the ballot and prints a confirmation code for the voter to use to verify that their ballot is included in the final count. All of the encrypted ballots are used to create a snapshot of the in person votes for the election. This snapshot is then used to check the results of the election without revealing how any individual voted.

Who are the Election Guardians and what do they do?

Election Guardians are trusted, independent members of the community who help set up ElectionGuard. They have a special role in creating the cryptographic locks that secure the election:

  • Before the election, Guardians create a special lock and key. The lock is loaded on Before the election, Guardians create a special lock and key. The lock is loaded on the ballot scanners to encrypt all of the bathe ballot scanners to encrypt all of the ballots for the election.
  • During the election, Guardians each keep their part of the key secure. Having a During the election, Guardians each keep their part of the key secure. Having a small group of Guardians means that no one person can unlock the election on small group of Guardians means that no one person can unlock the election on their own.
  • When it’s time to count the ballots, Guardians return to unlock When it’s time to count the ballots, Guardians return to unlock the election. They bring their keys back to the election office to unlock the tally and create the They bring their keys back to the election office to unlock the tally and create the ElectionGuard record.

It is a simple but critical role to ensure that no single person can access election results. With several people acting as Guardians, they add independent security to the ElectionGuard lock and key process.  Guardians do not replace the City’s appointed Board of Election Supervisors, who are still in charge of running the election.

ElectionGuard Public Information Session
You are invited to a public information session on Wednesday, September 27, to learn more about how ElectionGuard works and how it will be used in the upcoming College Park election:

  • Meet the election vendors
  • Take part in a mock election
  • Run a challenge ballot
  • Test the voting equipment

ElectionGuard Public Information Session
Wednesday, September 27 7:00 p.m.
College Park City Hall
7401 Baltimore Avenue

Parking is free in levels 3-5 of the Downtown Parking Garage, located at 7308 Yale Avenue.

Accessible Voting

For those who cannot hand mark a ballot with a pen , the City is using the Hart InterCivic Verity Touch Writer as the ballot marking device to support accessible voting. The Verity Touch Writer has accessible features that allow the voter to make their selections through an electronic interface, and to print a marked ballot when complete. Once Touch Writer prints a ballot, the voter will cast the ballot through the scanner. We will offer hands on demonstrations of the Touch Writer at the September 27 information session.

For more information, to ask questions of the vendors, and to try the equipment, please come to the Information Session on September 27 at City Hall.

New Regulations for Short-Term Rentals: What You Need to Know

Exploring Recent Changes in City Ordinances and What They Mean for Hosts and Guests

The Mayor and Council talked about renting homes for short periods at their meeting on April 18, 2023. Right now, the city treats short-term rentals like long-term ones. If you’re renting your own home where you live, and you only have 1 or 2 tenants, you don’t need a special permit from the city. But if your home is where you live, and you have 3 or more tenants, you do need a permit, and they check your place every year.

If your home is not where you live, and you rent it to 1-5 people who aren’t related or to 1 family, you also need a permit and inspections every year. These rules apply no matter how long people stay in your place, and there’s no limit to how many days you can rent it out in a year.

Conversely, the county treats short- and long-term rentals differently, and these rules apply to all properties no matter how many tenants you have. They even make platforms like Airbnb register. In the city, short-term rental platforms don’t have to register, but the city can see what they’re up to through the county’s registration records.

The city can make its own rules for short-term rentals and could even make them tougher than the county’s. They can also make short-term rental platforms register if they want. They can even use the county’s rules as their own, like they do with the county’s building code.

At the April 18 meeting, the Council developed new rules for short-term rentals in the city. These rules might be stricter than the county’s. They also talked about telling the state’s SDAT if someone might be breaking the Homestead Property Tax Credit rules, stopping LLC-owned properties from getting short-term rental permits, and making clear definitions for hosts, resident hosts, and property owners. They also wanted to know how many short-term rentals there are in the city.

These changes primarily focus on the inclusion of short-term rental regulations, definitions, and host responsibilities within Chapter 144 of the City’s ordinances.

Here is a summary of the changes made in the document. The document introduces the regulation of short-term rental units (e.g., Airbnb) as a separate occupancy category.

Section 1 – Amendment to Statement of Policy: The “Statement of policy” in Chapter 144 is amended to include references to short-term rental units. It specifies that all rental dwelling units and short-term rental units must be licensed and regulated to protect the health, welfare, and safety of residents and visitors.

Section 2 – Amendment to Definitions: Definitions related to short-term rentals and hosting platforms are added to Chapter 144.

Section 3 – Amendment to Occupancy Permits Required: This section is amended to include short-term rental units as a category requiring occupancy permits. It also introduces various requirements for short-term rental hosts, such as insurance, safety measures, and notification to homeowners’ associations.

Section 4 – Amendment to Revocation; Reinstatement: Changes are made regarding the revocation and reinstatement of occupancy permits, including the suspension and revocation of short-term rental licenses.

Section 5 – Addition of Challenge to Affirmation: A new section is added, allowing challenges to affirmations made during short-term rental license applications.

Section 6 – Addition of Short-Term Rental Licenses; Host Requirements: This section establishes the requirements for short-term rental licenses and host responsibilities, including guest limits and record-keeping.

Section 7 – Incorporation of County Code Requirements: This section incorporates provisions from the County Code related to short-term rentals and information sharing with hosting platforms.

Section 8 – Amendment to Violations and Penalties: Changes are made to penalties for violations of the ordinance.

Cancellations – Movie Night, Farmers Market and Go Electric Events

Unfortunately, due to forecasted inclement weather (wind), we have had to cancel tonight’s Movie Night. Here is the cancellation notice for tonight’s Movie Night that we have pushed out across our mediums:

Due to forecasted winds and rain from the impending storm, tonight’s movie night has been canceled. Unfortunately, the strong winds exceed safety standards for our inflatable movie screen, bounce house and tents. We apologize for any inconvenience; the safety of our attendees and staff is of our utmost concern.

We hope to see you at our next event, College Park Day, on October 7!

Due to the forecasted tropical storm, the Hollywood Farmers Market (at the MoM’s parking lot) has been canceled for tomorrow, Saturday, September 23rd. The Market apologizes for the inconvenience to its customers. Please stop by on Saturday, September 30th, for the market offering live music.

The Go Electric event has also been rescheduled for September 30th! Join the City’s Committee for a Better Environment from 10 AM – 1 PM at Hollywood Shopping Center to learn more about electric vehicles, bikes, and scooters. Learn more at  https://www.collegeparkmd.gov/calendar.aspx?EID=7246 



Scrap Tire Drop Off Event

Join us for Scrap Tire Drop-Off Day.

Prince George’s County residents can conveniently drop off and dispose of up to 10 tires (per non-commercial vehicle), free of charge, from 8 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Accokeek Village Park & Ride.

For more information, visit http://environment.mypgc.us or contact PGC311.

National Clean-Up Day – September 16

The City of College Park is participating in National Clean Up Day!

Take action against litter – form a team, or volunteer by yourself to clean up any street or natural area of your choice.

Register at collegeparkmd.gov/cleanupday2023.

For local information, contact sustainability@collegeparkmd.gov or call 240-487-3593.



Low Income Household Water Assistance Program

The State received approval on Wednesday, September 6th from the Federal Government to extend the Low Income Household Water Assistance Program (LIHWAP). Applications will continue being taken through Dec. 31, 2023 as opposed to the end of September. New LIHWAP applicants can apply for up to $10,000 (up from $2,000) as well as apply for small arrearages below $100! Visit dhs.maryland.gov/OHEP to see if you qualify.

Teen Talk

This group program provides a safe space for Prince George’s County students ages 14-17 to discuss and explore everyday familial, educational, societal, and peer concerns. Through activities, sharing ideas, and talk sessions, we will build positive relationships with others and self!

The group meets on select Wednesdays from October through December. To receive community service hours, participants must commit to all 10 in-person sessions.

To register, call the Department of Youth, Family, and Senior Services by September 21 at 301-487-3550.

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