Top Dollar Items Added to New FY17 Budget


Here is a list of budget items that have been added to this year’s budget. Please let me know if you have any questions.

Budget ItemAmount
1C.I.P. transfer to City Hall Expansion$952,410.00
2C.I.P. transfer to Randolph Macon Avenue$126,050.00
3New roof and HVAC system at Youth & Family Services$106,000.00
4Updated public safety study$67,500.00
5C.I.P. transfer to Hollywood Commercial Revitatization$63,000.00
6Increase in Fire Department Capital Equipment Grants$60,000.00
7SunGard citizen request tracking software$51,678.00
8C.I.P. transfer to Green Streets$50,000.00
9Statistically significant community survey$30,000.00
10Laserfiche scanning software and scanning of documents$26,350.00
11Increase in budgeted rectangular rapid flash beacon (RRFB) from 1 to 2$26,000.00
12Employee engagement study$20,000.00
13Seed grant to Greater College Park Sustainability and Resiliency Financing Initiative$20,000.00
14Additional beautification/landscaping city-wide$8,000.00
152 additional streetlight installations$6,000.00
16Customer service strategy, goals and training$5,000.00
172 outdoor community bulletin boards in North College Park$2,000.00

I want to thank everyone who came to last Tuesday’s public hearing on FY17 budget and the College Park’s property tax rate.

We plan to discuss the subject further at this week’s Council worksession before we formerly vote to approve the budget at our May 24 regular Council meeting

The Council will discuss the FY17 budget Ordinance tomorrow, a week prior to adoption (at the May 24 meeting) to determine if Council wants staff to write up any proposed amendments that may be introduced the night of adoption.  Having these proposed amendments written up in advance will simplify the process for our Dept. of Finance (to avoid having to make calculations “on the fly”) and makes it easier for the City Clerk in preparing the minutes.

At last week’s public hearing, many residents expressed concerns about the additional tax they will have to pay due to the increase in our property assessment, and also about  the larger budget that has been proposed for the upcoming fiscal year. The Council may choose to reduce the City portion of the property tax rate in order to reduce the additional tax residents will have to pay next year. If amendments are made, we will also need to amend the budget to reduce allocation in the proposed budget. Our finance staff recommend that the shortfall be deducted from the City Hall C.I.P. (Capital Improvement Project) project transfer rather than by use of unassigned reserve.

Towne Place Development May Break Ground this Fall

Representatives from the Baywood Hotels development group will be at the Council worksession to present the Towne Place suite (9620-9624 Baltimore Avenue) development in north College Park.

The nearly $6 million project will consist of a 75-room extended stay hotel operated by Marriott. After receiving final zoning approval in late 2012, the applicant finalized the amendment of their Detailed Site Plan in December 2013.

Construction is expected to begin this fall and last approximately one year.

In Pictures – Hollywood Farmers Market Grand Opening

Tomorrow in Hollywood! – Farmers Market Grand Opening and Fun Fair

Please make sure to stop by the Hollywood market tomorrow between 9 and 1! We’ll have new vendors like Velincia’s Produce, Waltz Family Farm and DC Dills, and many more. The ribbon cutting will be at 10 am.

In the afternoon, the Hollywood Elementary School PTA will be holding the Annual Fun Fair! There will be prizes! games! food! fun! cakewalk! face painting! and moon bounce!

WHERE: Hollywood ES, 9811 49th Avenue, College Park
WHEN: 10:00-2:00 Saturday

Come to both events and have fun, support our kids, and connect with neighbors
HFM 2016 - Grand Opening

Bike to Work – May 20, 2016


North College Park Crime Map: April 30 – May 9

Please see below last week’s crime map and let me know if you have any questions. Thank you.


5/8/201610:18 AM9100 Blk BALTIMORE AVE, MD 20740Theft from Auto
5/6/20163:03 PM9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD, MD 20740Theft from Auto
5/3/20168:04 AM9300 Blk CHERRY HILL RD, MD 20740Theft from Auto
5/6/20166:19 PM10000 Blk BALTIMORE AVE, MD 20740Stolen Vehicle

Your Tax Bill: How Much You Pay Now, How Much More You May Pay Net Year

It’s budget time in College Park. The City Council will be holding a Public Hearing tonight whether it should lower your tax rate to compensate some of the increase in your tax bill next year. The hearing will take place at the City Hall (4500 Knox Road, Upper floor) at 7:30pm. In case you cannot make to the hearing, please submit your comments to the Mayor and the council at mcall@collegeparkmd.gov

The tax that you pay on your house is called real property tax. It goes to a bunch of different agencies. For every $100 of your property value, you currently pay $1.79 to these agencies, including the City of College Park. The City gets 33.5 cents for the eery $100 of your property to provide services, such as refuse collection, snow plowing, (contract) police service etc. The County gets the largest share 96.9 cents and provides their services, such as public schools, County police etc. The State gets 11.2 cents, for mainly maintaining roads and highways. The MNCPPC gets 29.40 cents for the maintenance of our parks. Finally, you pay 2.6 cents and 5.4 cents respectively to WSSC and Stormater maintenance.

Thus, if you currently own a house of $300,000, your annual tax bill should be $5,370.

In the next Fiscal Year (starting in July 2016), your tax bill may go up by $252 (assuming you own a $300K house), an increase of 4.7% of what you currently pay, because of your house will be worth 4.7% more than what is currently worth.

Out of $250 additional tax that you will pay next year, the City will be getting about $45 more.

One way the City can reduce the additional tax burden next year could be by reducing City’s portion of additional tax revenue ($45). For example, the City can reduce it’s tax rate from 33.5 cents to 31.99 cents, so that you don’t pay the extra $45 of tax to the city next year.

If you want the City to reduce the tax rate, we’re also interested to know where you want us to spend less. You can see the major expenditure that has been planned in the next year’s budget here in my earlier post.


Food Trucks May Soon Be Seen in College Park Downtown

At tomorrow’s City Council meeting, the Council will approve a resolution supporting aa letter inviting food trucks in downtown College Park.

College Park Ventures is preparing to submit an application for a food truck hub license to the Prince George’s County Department of Permitting, Inspections and Enforcement (DPIE) for the former Little Tavern site at 7413 Baltimore Avenue.

Recent county legislation allows food truck hubs to be located within a one-quarter mile radius of a Metro or MARC station with an approval of the property owner or on M-NCPPC property. Other locations require authorization by resolution of the County Council. If located within a municipality, a letter of support from the municipality is required.

The proposed College Park Food Truck Hub property is owned by the University of Maryland College Park Foundation (UMCPF) which has provided a letter of permission for use of the property.

County Resolution CR26-2016 supporting this location is scheduled to be acted upon on May 10, 2016. The DPIE application indicates that up to four trucks operating between the hours of 11:00 am – 9:00 pm from Monday through Sunday are being requested.

The City recently entered into a license agreement with UMCPF regarding maintenance and use of the subject property for parking and installed meters for five parking spaces. Use of the property for four food trucks would preclude the ability to have any on-site parking. The effect of the food truck hub on this agreement needs to be explored with the UMCPF.

There will potentially be a loss of revenue from meter fees and citations associated with the five on-site parking spaces.

I’ve also requested information about the possibility of including food trucks to our two farmers markets. I’ll keep you posted if there is any progress.

College Park Hubs

Group to Host Composting Workshop

WORKSHOP: Composting In Your Backyard Sponsored by College Park Committee for a Better Environment (CBE)
WHEN: Saturday, May 14, 2016, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m.
WHERE: Old Parrish House, 4711 Knox Rd., College Park
PARKING PERMITS: We’ll supply one when you arrive at the location.

This one-hour workshop will focus on the basic principles of aerobic composting in your backyard. After the presentation, FREE compost bins will be given—while they last—to College Park residents who have registered for the workshop. (See below for registration information.)

OUR WORKSHOP LEADER: The presentation will be given by Ben Fischler, who has been composting his family’s yard debris and kitchen waste for 35 years. Over the last three years, while working to create local community-composting options in Prince George’s County, Ben has participated in detailed training about composting and is licensed by the Maryland Department of Agriculture in compost-facility operations.

REGISTRATION: If would like to attend this workshop, please RSVP to janiso@erols.com or leave a message at 240-888-6972. Also let her know if you want a free compost bin.

City Wants to Hear from You About the Tax You will Pay Next Year

In the next fiscal year (starting July 2016), you will be paying more tax on your property. The increase is due to the fact that the triennial assessment of our properties is expected to go up. We plan to keep the tax rate the same – 33.50 cents per $100 of your property.

Our municipal tax rate is the third lowest from the bottom. Please see this chart showing how much we pay to the City (see slide 15)

Here is the official notice that has been published about the tax rate and the public hearing that will take place this coming Tuesday at 7:30 pm.

The Mayor & Council of the City of College Park, proposes to increase real property taxes.
1. For the tax year beginning July 1, 2016, the estimated real property assessable base will increase by 4.7%, from $2,198,756,013 to $2,302,813,683
2. If the City of College Park, Maryland maintains the current tax rate of $0.3350 per $100 of assessment, real property tax revenues will increase by 4.7% resulting in $348,593 of new real property tax revenues.
3. In order to fully offset the effect of increasing assessments, the real property tax rate should be reduced to $0.3199, the constant yield tax rate.
4. The City is considering not reducing its real property tax rate enough to fully offset increasing assessments. The City proposes to adopt a real property tax rate of $0.3350 per $100 of assessment. This tax rate is 4.7% higher than the constant yield tax rate and will generate $348,593 in additional property tax revenues

A public hearing on the proposed real property tax increase will be held at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, May 10, 2016 in the Council Chambers, College Park City Hall, 4500 Knox Road, College Park, Maryland. The hearing is open to the public, and public testimony is encouraged.

Persons with questions regarding this hearing may call Stephen Groh, Director of Finance, at 240-487–3510 for further information

Proposed Pedestrian Bridge Between Greenbelt and College Park Not Moving Forward

The much-discussed pedestrian overpass between College Park and Greenbelt is not going to happen, at least for now. The College Park City Council approved a location just south of Public Works property. Unfortunately, the Greenbelt City Council decided not to build the overpass.

The Prince Georges County Planning Board approved the Greenbelt Station DSP resolution on April 14, 2016. This resolution approves Greenbelt Station with conditions but removes the condition for the pedestrian overpass. The Planning Board decided not to require the bridge since the municipalities involved (the City of Greenbelt and the City of College Park) could not agree upon a location for the bridge. The City of Greenbelt opposed any pedestrian bridge, as did the applicant. The County Attorney ruled that since the cities could not agree on a final location, the condition requiring the overpass was not fulfilled and therefore could not be imposed.

The decision is rather unfortunate because residents of both cities will lose an important connectivity option.

Our staff talked to Greenbelt staff numerous times. Staff also agreed on a recommended location based on these conversations. However, even though Greenbelt staff agreed with the location we recommended to the City Council, the City of Greenbelt’s Council voted that they simply do not want the pedestrian overpass period.

Community Cleanup, Saturday, May 21

Please mark your calendar. I’m organizing a community cleanup on May 21. Please see below for details. May_21_2016-_Cleanup

City Plans to Add More Security Cameras

At last night’s Council meeting, the City Council discussed a plan to add more security cameras throughout the city.

The City is planning to apply for grant money to buy five cameras. There of them are planned to be in north College Park. They will be at (1) Duvall Field on Trolley Trail Hiker/Biker Trail (2) Rhode Island Ave (Trolley Trail) @ Lackawanna Street and (3) Lackawanna Street and 53rd Avenue (Greenbelt Metro Station access)

The City is also planning to add two additional cameras in mid-town. They will be at Lakeland Road @ 48th Avenue and Berwyn House Road @ midpoint between Baltimore and Rhode Island Avenues c.

The City has invested in security camera systems using both grant funds and City funds. A Notice of Funds Available was issued during the week of April 25th by the Governor’s Office of Crime Control and Prevention (GOCCP) for FY17 grants. An application for a Phase 7 project has been prepared and will be submitted to GOCCP this summer.

To date, the City has installed 54 fixed (CCTV) and Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) cameras and 14 License Plate Recognition (LPR) cameras. There are 20-PTZ cameras and 7 LPR cameras distributed about Old Town, Calvert Hills, and Baltimore Avenue in Lakeland. These 27 cameras are monitored by UMPD Police. The 25 CCTV, 2-PTZ and 1-LPR cameras installed in the municipal garage are recorded on a server in City Hall. The remaining 1-CCTV, 6-PTZ and 6-LPR cameras are divided between College Park Woods, Hollywood, Berwyn and Lakeland. These store recorded video on-site. Each of these cameras has internet access to allow for downloading of data for police investigations.

The City executed a five year maintenance contract in 2013 with Hitachi (AVRIO), the City’s security camera installation and maintenance contractor, for $171,817. This contract will expire in 2018.

Representatives from Hitachi were at the Council worksession and demonstrated the operation of the most recently installed security cameras.
The City has invested $893,658 in installation costs for security cameras. Most of these funds ($728,353) were provided by GOCCP grants. A five year maintenance contract (2013-2018) cost $171,817. Air cards annually for internet access cost $4,800. The average annual cost of electricity over the last four fiscal years (FY13-FY15) is $4,500.

College Park Bikeshare to Launch Tomorrow

College Park Bikeshare is going to be launched tomorrow. I took these pictures at the Lackawanna / 53rd ave location, just at the entrance of Greenbelt Metro path in north College Park. This station will be one of the 14 stations in the city. There will be another location on Rhode Island Avenue near the MoM/REI shopping complex. Please check http://zagster.com/mbike for more information.

Greenbelt station 1

Greenbelt station 2

College Park 2017 Budget for Community Review

2017 Budget for Residents Review p1
2017 Budget for Residents Review p2