Vote for College Park Proteus!

Proteus has been nominated for WABAs Bicyclist Choice Awards Best Bike Shop and best social ride again.
WABA’s voting categories include:
1. Best Bike Shop in 2017
2. Best Social Ride in 2017
3. Bike friendliest business in 2017
4. Best Improvement for Biking in 2017 in Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia

The voting closes on 2/2 at midnight. Here is the link: http://www.waba.org/events/washington-area-bicyclists-choice-awards/

Council Sets Top Priorities for the Year

The City Council held a Council retreat last weekend. Among a few things, it discussed a list of items that the Council should work on a priority basis for the next year.

The Council will continue to work on the existing items, such as City Hall, Hollywood commercial Streetscape, Gateway Park, and College Park Woods Pool, however, it also a voted to set priorities from a list of new items. The top priority new items include (1) Charter Amendment (extending Council term to 4 years) (2) completion of the Trolley Trail and the bike/pedestrian connectivity, early redistricting etc. Other items that were on the new list, but the Council did not make to the top of the list include (1) Police study implementation (2) Community / senior center (3) Duvall Field improvements (3) feasibility study concerning building codes (4) Pay As You Throw and bulk trash study (5) Stormwater issues and drainage (6) Parking study (7) Business recycling program (8) Business recognition program (9) Improvements of Farmers MArket.

As I noted to the Mayor and Council earlier, it’d have been better if the Council made an effort to incorporate residents’ input about the list we worked on. We should have given the residents an opportunity about how they want to spend their tax dollars on items they think most or least important to them. For example, the matter of extending Council term to 4 years may not be as important as other items in the list, such as adding more amenities (senior/community center), or Duvall Field reconstruction. The decision of prioritizing the list was a significant one, as the City will be spending staff time and budget money according to the top priorities set at the retreat. It’s our general practice to seek residents’ input before we make major decisions.

Congratulations to all Winners and Nominees from the Spencer Harris Awards!

The annual City of College Park Spencer Harris Awards ceremony recognizes the hard work and exemplary service of our Department of Public Works (DPW) employees. The awards ceremony also recognizes safe driving by City staff.

Named after Spencer Harris, a DPW employee who brought excellence to his position and dedicated almost twenty years to the department, the namesake award is given to a DPW employee who has gone above and beyond the call of service.

Thank you and congratulations to all winners and nominees for your hard work, dedication and exemplary service!

[Source: City of College Park]

North College Park Crime Map – January 16 – 20, 2018

9700 Blk Narragansett PKYTheft from auto
9800 Blk 53RD AVEStolen Veh
9100 Blk Baltimore AVETheft
5200 Blk Edgewood RDStolen Veh

Community Meeting to Discuss Bozzuto Development

The District 3 councilmembers are holding a meeting for their constituents in the City Hall Council Chambers Wednesday night at 7 pm. They have been kind enough to invite any members of the College Park community who would like to attend.

The Bozzuto team will make a presentation and there will be plenty of pictures. The tax incremental financing (TIF) will also be discussed. I encourage you to take this opportunity to some of your questions by the parties involved.

Council to Discuss Public Safety Report

Over the past year, the City engaged the consultant group the Police Foundation to assess the public safety situation in College Park and explore ways to improve it. The comprehensive review conducted by the Police Foundation assessment team consisted of examining the current contracts and memoranda of understanding for policing services in College Park; analyzing available crime data, calls-for-service records, and other resources provided by the City and the law enforcement agencies with jurisdiction in College Park; and, gathering input from law enforcement representatives, College Park and Prince George’s County government officials, business and neighborhood leaders, and community members through surveys, interviews, focus groups, and town halls.

The assessment team used the information to evaluate four options:
(a) remaining with the current policing structure;
(b) modifying the City’s existing relationship for officers and additional services with the PGPD;
(c) entering into a new contract with another local police department within Prince George’s County and
(d) establishing a standalone College Park Police Department (CPPD).

The report concludes that College Park should consider remaining under the current policing structure in the short-term, with the long-term goal of establishing a standalone College Park police department in the future. Developing a CPPD would unequivocally provide the strongest solutions, because it would not require the City to rely on another entity or department for policing services. Additionally, having a police department staffed by employees working for the city and wholly committed to College Park would directly benefit community members and merchants and provide them a dedicated set of officers with whom to build relationships and to partner create public safety together.

The report recommends having the City its own police department as a long-term goal, the City can spread out the start-up costs across multiple budget cycles, and apply for State and federal law enforcement grants to cover some cost. It also recommends creating a committee of City officials and business and community leaders to develop a long-term plan in establishing City’s own police department.

At tonight’s meeting, the Council is expected to discuss the various recommendations in the report and a plan to implement them in the short and long run.

New Charter Amendment May Give Mayor Additional Voting Power

According to the latest Council packet, Council may consider introducing one of the two draft amendments at this week’s meeting. One version will allow the mayor to vote in specific circumstances (assessments, moving money, and charter amendments), regardless if there is a tie vote. The other option does not extend the mayor’s right to vote in those specific circumstances but retains existing language whereby the Mayor can only vote to break a tie.

The two options that the Council may consider are as follows:
1) Introduce the attached draft Charter resolution that incorporates the draft amendments and schedule a Public Hearing. In addition to making clarifying amendments, this resolution would allow the Mayor to vote with respect to alterations of assessments, spending money for a purpose different from the purpose for which the money was appropriated, spending money not appropriated at the time of the annual levy or transferring funds between major budget items and adoption of Charter amendments, regardless if there is a tie vote.

2) Introduce a different Charter resolution that incorporates the draft Charter amendments but allows the Mayor to vote with respect to alterations of assessments, spending money for a purpose different from the purpose for which the money was appropriated, spending money not appropriated at the time of the annual levy or transferring funds between major budget items and adoption of Charter amendments only in the case of a tie vote; and schedule a Public Hearing.

It is important to note that none of the proposed Charter amendments before the Council will change the outcome of Charter Amendment 17-CR-02 (the non-U.S. citizen resident voting measure). That Charter Amendment was NOT adopted since it failed to receive a majority vote of 5 for the amendment to pass.

There will be a public hearing on the proposed change on February 13.

Crime Solvers Poster/Citizen Robbery

City Plans to Amend Charter to Clarify Mayoral Roles

Since last fall, the City Council, legal Counsel, and City staff have met several times to receive legal advice about necessary Charter amendments.

At this week’s meeting, the Council discussed a few minor changes to clarify Mayoral’s role during Council votes.

The proposed draft of the City Charter that Council is asked to consider includes language clarifying that the Mayor has historically and correctly been a part of the “legislative body” and language specifically allowing the Mayor to vote to transfer funds, amend the Charter, and alter an assessment regardless of whether there is a tie vote. Clarifying language concerning the presiding officer is also included.

The Council will later seek public input about these changes before they vote on them at a later time.

Bozzuto Asks City to Grant 75% Tax Relief for 15 Years

At tomorrow’s meeting, the Council will discuss a public financial assistance request for the proposed Bozzuto redevelopment at the Quality Inn and Plato’s Diner site.

The site was acquired by the University of Maryland Foundation and subsequently transferred to the Terrapin Development Company (TDC), which is a new entity created by the University of Maryland and the University of Maryland Foundation. Bozzuto requested that the County provide a 75% abatement of property taxes for 15 years (in
the form of a ‘Payment in Lieu of Taxes’, or PILOT) and the City provide 75% tax relief, in the form of Tax Increment Financing, or TIF in order to meet a gap in the project financial projections.

Based on Bozzuto’s projected value of the project upon completion, a 75% tax credit equals $14,003,990 in County tax revenue and $5,044,448 in City tax revenue over the term of the credit. The City would continue to receive 100% of the City property taxes on the current or base value ($50,935).

Council to Kick-Off FY2019 Budget Discussion

The Council will discuss the initial general overview of the City’s current financial condition, key preliminary projections and proposed guidance to be issued to staff as they prepare the FY 2019 budgets.

City staff estimates that the actual FY 2018 revenues may be somewhat less than anticipated – primarily due to a change in the contract for speed camera revenue and state income taxes coming in less than anticipated. For actual expenditures, we expect to be under budgeted levels when looked at in total.

Though we have had the luxury of having significant surpluses the last few years, we do not anticipate a significant surplus for FY 2018 but will end the year close to “break-even” with revenues equaling expenditures. The Council will also discuss the proposed budget Calendar. Staff is requesting the Council to submit requests / specific projects by February 16. The Council plans to hold to full-day budget worksessions on April 14 and 21. Please see the full budget schedule:

City Goes Cloud with Emails and Documents

At the last meeting, the Council decided to use a cloud-based platform for its internal emails and many documents.

The Council approved a contract with Volta, Inc. for $10,000 to migrate the City’s 2007 Exchange server to Exchange Online and to Microsoft Office 365 cloud-based solution from the current Microsoft Office 2007 desktop solution.

City believes that the conversion will help improve productivity, as staff can access the documents from anywhere online. However, physical documents that need to be stored properly can be safely placed inside mailing tubes for safe keeping.

The new solution will also many additional products for multiple devices, automatic updates, enhanced collaboration, and storage, etc. Staff contacted Rockville, Greenbelt, Leonardtown, Caroline County, and LaPlata who have switched to Office 365 and have been pleased with the results.

If approved, the City expects the process to require four to six weeks for the migration and for staff training for the updated applications. The annual cost for Office 365 is approximately $2,000 more than the same cost of new licenses every five years for Microsoft Office.

The conversion will cost the City $10,000 for 91 full Microsoft 365 licenses at $12.50 per month and 91 limited licenses at $4.00 per month

North College Park Crime Map: January 2-7, 2018

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

9000 Blk Autoville DRResidential Armed Robbery
9300 Blk Cherry Hill RDStolen Vehicle
9600 Blk Baltimore AveBreaking & Entering
9300 Blk Baltimore AveTheft

Today’s NCPCA Meeting: Dog Park, Community Center, Traffic and City Budget

NCPCA – It’s Your Neighborhood Association

Today is the second Thursday of the month and thus the day when the North College Park Community Association (NCPCA) holds its monthly meeting. Please see the full agenda below. The meeting will take place at Davis Hall at 7:30 pm.

7:35  Presentation – New Dog Park at Duvall Field. Ms. Brenda Alexander, Deputy Director of College Park Dept. of Public Works, will present developing concepts for a new dog park at Duvall Field.  Ms. Alexander is interested to receive input of residents regarding the location, and she will address resident questions, comments, and concerns. 
7:55  Presentation – Storage Facility on US 1 at Hollywood Rd.  Revised plans will be presented by the Johnson Development team for construction of a consolidated storage facility at 9604 Baltimore Ave.  Early concepts for this multi-story building were presented to NCPCA on Sept. 14, 2017.  Possible NCPCA resolution in ‘New Business’.
8:15  Report – New Community Center in North College Park.  The NCPCA Community Center Committee Chairs Ms. Mary Cook and Ms. Christine Nagle will provide an update of the efforts of the committee established at the December 2017 NCPCA meeting.
8:20  Break & Refreshments.  Members are invited to bring something to share as we pause to enjoy a short break. 
8:30  Discussion – US 1 & Edgewood Road Afternoon Gridlock.  Member discussion of afternoon traffic problems at the intersection of US 1 and Edgewood Road.  Possible NCPCA resolution in ‘New Business’.  Note:  Discussion of Rhode Island traffic flow problems will be scheduled for the February 8 NCPCA meeting.
8:45  Discussion – City Budget.  Member discussion of City budget priorities and wish list of NCPCA members for the next year, so bring your ideas and concerns!

January 28 – Family Fun Bowling Bash

Please join the City of College Park Rec Board for a bowling on Sunday, January 28 from 1-4pm at the AMF College Park Lanes. $5 a person for the first 100 who attend (includes shoes, bowling, pizza and soda). $10 for each person after. Hope to see you there!!!