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Stay Home Order for All Marylanders

Yesterday, Gov. Hogan issued a stay-home order for all Marylanders because of the severity of the COVID-19 virus in the region. You can read the order here.

The order states that, ”No Maryland resident should leave their home unless it is for an essential job or for an essential reason, such as obtaining food or medicine, seeking urgent medical attention, or for other necessary purposes.”

Information on what is considered essential and non-essential can be found here.

Hogan said in closing, “This situation is going to get considerably worse before it gets better.”

On the positive side, you can help be a “hero” and save countless lives by staying home and practicing social distancing if you absolutely must go out, he said.

Here is some other critical info I thought you would need immediately:

NEW DRIVE THRU TESTING SITES OPEN TODAY:
These sites are ONLY available to those with REFERRALS and/or an APPOINTMENT set up through either a family doctor or local health department.
Priority for testing are:
1. Those with symptoms
2. Those over the age of 65
3. Health care providers
4. Those living in group homes
5. Those determined by health care providers to be at risk

DRIVE THRU SITES
1. Glen Burnie Motor Vehicle Administration
2. Waldorf Motor Vehicle Administration
3. Bel Air Motor Vehicle Administration
4. FEDEX Field

HEALTHCARE ASSISTANCE AND REQUEST FOR VOLUNTEERS
To ease access to healthcare:
The state has suspended premiums for the MD Children’s Health Program (MCHIP)
COVID testing is free; insurers are waiving any regular co-pays

COVID symptoms and what to do:
Most people experience mild enough symptoms that they can recover at home. However, if you or a loved one is experiencing COVID symptoms (fever, dry cough and respiratory issues) AND have trouble breathing or feel faint, call 911.

Request for volunteers:
Maryland needs medical and public health volunteers during this COVID emergency. Go here to register as a responder.

Hospital Beds Being Added
The state is working on several fronts:
1. With FEMA to open a field hospital at the Baltimore Convention Center;
2. Retrofitting Laurel Hospital for a 135-bed COVID unit;
3. Adding 100 advanced medical tents at various hospitals to create 1,000 COVID beds;
4. Adding 500 beds to existing acute care hospitals; and
5. Kaiser Permanente is adding 218 beds to the 500 beds it already has.

[Source: MD Delegate Mary Lehman’s office]

Comparing Tax Rates of College Park and Neighboring Towns ..

Thanks to our Finance staff, who presented us the real property tax rates of College Park and the surrounding neighborhoods, at this weekend’s budget work session. College Park has the 5th lowest cumulative tax rate among 27 local municipalities when it comes to how much our residents pay property taxes to all jurisdictions. This is mainly due to the fact that College Park’s own tax rate is the second in the list.

Please see below the tables ranking the cumulative and individual tax rates of College Park and the surrounding towns.

Real property tax rates PGC County, Locality & MNCPPC
Residential, excludes taxes that are the same for all jurisdictions (State, Stormwater, WSTC)

Real Estate Property Tax Rate

City Plans to Repave 6 Streets in FY 2021

How Can you Watch Tomorrow’s Budget Worksession

Tomorrow, the College Park City Council will discuss the proposed FY2021 budget .
To join the meeting Click Here
Meeting number: 794 246 682
Password: a2pGds9wPT8
Join by phone: 202-860-2110
Access code: 794 246 682
Need help? Go to http://help.webex.com
Click Here to view the FY2021 City of College Park Proposed Operating Budget.
Here is the agenda:
8:00 am – Overview of the FY 2021 Proposed Budget & Revenue
8:40 am – General Government and Administration
• Mayor & Council; City Manager; City Clerk; City Attorney; Finance; Human Resources;
Communications & Public Relations; Information Technology; Non-Departmental;
Elections Board and Ethics Commission
• CIP: I-Net; New City Hall; Property Acquisition; Facilities Capital Reserve
• Debt Service Fund
10:00 am – Public Services
• Administration; Parking Management & Enforcement; Code Enforcement; Animal Control;
Speed Enforcement; Contract Police
• CIP: CCTV; Parking Enforcement Equipment Replacement
11:15 am – Planning, Community & Economic Development
• Administration, Community Development, Planning & Zoning, Economic Development
• CIP: Bikeshare; Duvall Field Renovation; Hollywood Gateway Park; Hollywood
Commercial Revitalization
– Engineering Services
• CIP: Streets & Sidewalks
• Engineering Ops (Budget in DPW – program 5021)
12:30 pm Break
12:45 pm – Youth, Family & Senior Services
• Administration, Clinical Services, Seniors Program
1:15 pm – Public Works
• Administration; Solid Waste Management (Refuse Management; Leaf & Grass Collection; Litter &
Graffiti Control; Recycling; Compost Yard Operations)
• Street Management & Parking Lot Maintenance (Street Cleaning; Signage; Street Maintenance;
Snow & Ice Control; Parking Lot Maintenance; Parking Garage)
• Buildings & Grounds (Public Works Buildings; Recreation Facilities Maintenance; Building Maintenance;
Turf & ROW Maintenance; Tree & Landscape Maintenance);
• Fleet Services
• CIP: DPW Facilities Maintenance; Old Parish House Renovations; Vehicle Replacement
Program; CP Woods Property Acquisition & Redevelopment; Dog Park
3:30 pm – City Council discussion (Move to March 31, 2020 @ 7:30 pm if necessary)
• Council requests for inclusion in budget
• Miscellaneous issues and other budget matters
• Wrap-up & direction to City staff
5:00 pm – Adjourn

Our Parks are Open, But Please:

Our City parks are open but please:

  • Do not gather in groups of more than 10 or get closer than six feet from other people.
  • Do not touch any surfaces that are likely to be touched by other people.
  • Refrain from using playground equipment.
  • Do not participate in activities involving physical contact or sharing of equipment.

For more information about the City’s response to COVID-19, please visit www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19.

[City of College Park]

Metro Closes College Park and 16 Other Stations

Starting from tomorrow, Thursday, March 26, 2020, Metro will close 17 additional stations, including College Park. Bus service is also curtailed, and they have also closed some Metro entrances. To get the full list and more info, click here.

Senior Call Check In (Maryland)

Sign up for Senior Call Check here:

The Senior Call Check program is a free resource to MD residents over 65+ and we recommend all seniors use the program as a resource during the COVID-19 global pandemic. Senior Call Check phone lines are open M-F 8 am-5 pm and Saturday 9 am-3 pm.  During these hours, seniors can call toll-free 1-866-50-CHECK (1-866-502-0560) and register.  Registration is also available online, click here.

•         The verification and enrollment process can be completed within 24 hours Monday – Saturday.

•         We will provide messages and updates regarding the COVID-19 outbreak where to find support if you need it.

•         Finally, regarding our emergency preparedness for handling possible disruption from COVID-19, we can provide you information at this time of need.

Please read program details here: https://aging.maryland.gov/Pages/senior-call-check.aspx

Fundraising Drive for Sanitizing Solution/hand Sanitizer

The outbreak of COVID-19 has greatly impacted our community, changing daily life in ways no one could have predicted even a month ago. Many items we once took for granted are now scarce—chief among these simple sanitizing solution/hand sanitizer.

Brian Roan, a north College Park resident started a local distillery, called Shmidt Spirits (http://www.shmidtspirits.com/) recently, and now is attempting to help to ease this scarcity by producing hand sanitizer at their distillery in Beltsville, MD. While Brian and his team are currently in the midst of producing sanitizer for sale, they would love to be able to produce a batch that is available to residents of the College Park area regardless of their ability to pay.
The $10,000 they are asking for will cover the production of 2,000 4-ounce spray bottles of hand sanitizer, which we are producing in accordance with World Health Organization (WHO) guidance. These bottles would be free to any families who need them, the cost of their products having been fully covered by this fundraiser.

The money they are asking for goes toward helping us buy the materials needed to produce the sanitizer, the packaging, and to cover our overhead in production, not to mention helping to seed production of future batches.

Please consider supporting the production of the much-needed hand sanitizers for our neighbors during this challenging time. Here is the link to make a contribution: https://www.gofundme.com/f/hand-sanitizer-from-shmidt-spirits

All Special and Bulk Trash Suspended in College Park

College Park’s Department of Public Works is suspending all bulk and special collections until further notice. DPW will continue to collect your regular household trash and recycling as well as your soft yard waste on your regular day.

The announcement is part of last week’s City announcement. Please see it below.
————————————-
During this unprecedented time, the City will continue to prepare and monitor the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) and evaluate ways to best serve our community while reducing risk of transmission for residents and staff.

For the latest updates and news, please visit collegeparkmd.gov/covid19. This dedicated webpage also features information about local resources and other governmental closures/service modifications.

Effective 5 p.m. March 18, 2020, the City has closed all City buildings–including service windows–to the public until further notice. This includes City Hall (8400 Baltimore Avenue), Davis Hall (9217 51st Avenue), and Youth & Family Services (4912 Nantucket Road). City facilities will not be available for public use or rental. We apologize for any inconvenience, but the safety of our staff and residents is our foremost concern.

The following events, activities and services are suspended until further notice:
Special/Bulk trash and brush collections after March 20;
The Department of Public Works April Cleanup Saturdays;
Issuance of parking permits and animal licenses;
Organized or reserved use of City fields or recreational facilities (in accordance with Governor Hogan’s March 19 Executive Order prohibiting gatherings of more than 10 people);
All events, Seniors Program activities and community meetings;
All Department of Youth, Family & Services group meetings (including the Lakeland STARs tutoring program, Hispanic Parent Support Group, therapist-led school groups);
Monthly City Board and Committee Meetings; and
Notary services.

The following services and activities will continue:
Police patrols and emergency response;
Regular trash, recycling and yard waste collections (with the exception of special/bulk trash);
Seniors Transportation Services for essential trips (medical appointments or medications which are vital or to purchase items that are essential for subsistence within the next 7-14 days only);
Compost deliveries; and
Parking enforcement.

The following services and activities will be modified until further notice:
Mayor and Council meetings are now held virtually. Visit the City’s website at www.collegeparkmd.gov/covid19 for the updated link and call-in number to watch or provide public comment during the meeting;
Only external property Code compliance and inspections will be conducted; and
Only external patrols and service for City Animal Control will be conducted.

The following services can be conducted online, via email and/or by phone (contact information below):
Compost and wood mulch purchases and scheduling of delivery;
Meetings/consultations with City staff;
Department of Youth, Family & Senior Services case management and client meetings; and
Application and processing for City building permits, variance and departures, homeownership grants, Business Assistance grants, and chain-link fence grants.a

The following services can be conducted online or via the phone (240-487-3509) with a credit card:
Parking ticket payments
Personal property tax payments
Refuse collection payments
Payment for speed camera citations
CDMA and liquor license payments
Occupancy permit payments (phone only)
Building permit payments (phone only)
Municipal infractions (phone only)

Only credit card transactions and checks arriving by mail can be processed at this time. No cash transactions can be processed until further notice. For any finance related questions including payment questions, please email finance@collegeparkmd.gov or call 240-487-3509.

City staff in all departments will continue to process and respond to postal mail, email, and phone calls. ­Please see the contact information below for each department.
City Manager’s Office: 240-487-3501, citymanager@collegeparkmd.gov
City Clerk’s Office: 240-487-3501, cityclerk@collegeparkmd.gov
Department of Finance: 240-487-3509, finance@collegeparkmd.gov
Department of Planning, Community & Economic Development: 240-487-3538, planning@collegeparkmd.gov
Department of Public Services: 240-487-3570, publicservices@collegeparkmd.gov
Department of Public Works & Engineering: 240-487-3590, publicworks@collegeparkmd.gov
Department of Youth & Family Services: 240-487-3550, families@collegeparkmd.gov
Seniors Program: 301-345-8100, seniors@collegeparkmd.gov

CP Food Bank Volunteers Needed Today Sat 3/21

Want to help out your neighbors? Volunteer to help the College Park Community Food Bank TODAY, Saturday, 3/21. We need help directing traffic or handing bags of groceries to recipients via drive thru. We’re streamlining our food distribution this Saturday to keep volunteers and recipients safe from covid-19. We will probably ask volunteers to show up at 8:00am or 8:30am. Distribution lasts until 11am or sometimes a little later.

If you can help (particularly in the early part of the morning), please go to http://www.collegeparkfoodbank.com and click Contact Us to volunteer. Thanks!

Coronavirus: All Maryland Malls, Entertainment Venues to Close today at 5 p.m.

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan just ordered that all Maryland malls and entertainment venues would be closed at 5 p.m. today, the latest in a series of steps area officials have taken in response to the novel coronavirus that has swept the nation in the past few months.

He said, the number of Maryland residents testing positive for the virus increased 88 percent over the last 48 hours to a total of 107 people, including a five-year-old girl.

Additionally, he said that the Maryland Department of Transportation will immediately restrict access to the terminal at BWI Thurgood Marshall Airport to ticketed passengers and badged airport employees only. Exceptions will be made for visitors that are visiting disabled passengers.

WSSC to Suspend All Water Service Shutoffs

The World Health Organization has classified the novel coronavirus, which causes the COVID-19 disease, as a global pandemic. The safety of the public, and the safety of our employees, is our top priority.

Considering this ongoing and escalating public health situation, WSSC Water is taking the following steps:

Suspending all water service shutoffs
Waiving late fees and working one-on-one with customers to customize payment plans
All WSSC Water scheduled public meetings have been postponed for the next 30 days (April 12).
This includes the WSSC Water Commission Meeting on Wednesday, March 18. All future in-person, public Commission meetings are postponed indefinitely until further notice.
The One-Stop-Shop and WSSC Water cashier, both located at WSSC Water’s building at 14501 Sweitzer Lane in Laurel, will be closed for the next 30 days (April 12).
WSSC Water’s Satellite Offices in both Montgomery and Prince George’s Counties are closed for the next 30 days (April 12).
The Visitor’s Center at Brighton Dam will be closed for the next 30 days (April 12).
All in-home, non-emergency work, including meter reading, in-home water sampling and plumbing/gas inspections, will be suspended for one week and reassessed on a weekly basis.
All non-essential WSSC Water employees that can work from home are encouraged to telework for the foreseeable future.
For employees that cannot do productive work from home, supervisors will implement social distancing measures.

WSSC Water is actively monitoring the emerging health threat and working closely with our state and local health partners to exchange information and coordinate responses. We have an emergency plan in place to ensure continuity of operations and meet our clean-water needs.

Coronavirus Is Not Transmitted via Water/Sewage

Virus transmission is not a risk in drinking water or sewage.
Water utilities are working to ensure continuity of operations and encourage our region to continue preventive measures such as hand washing.
Water workers are protected by standard safety practices and personal protective equipment.

Additional Water-Related Points
Coronavirus has not been detected in drinking water.
Disinfectants, like chlorine, used to produce drinking water and treat sewage are effective to kill viruses.
Enveloped viruses, like the coronavirus, are more susceptible to disinfection and less stable in the environment.

General Coronavirus Prevention Tips

Health officials for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourage the following everyday actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory viruses, including:

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60 percent alcohol.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
Stay home when you are sick.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.

To learn more about coronavirus and ways you can help prevent the spread of this disease, visit: CDC and the Maryland Department of Health

City Council Meetings are Going Online

Due to the current outbreak of the COVID-19 outbreak, the future City Council meetings are moving online. Residents will be able to call in and provide comments before the COuncil votes. Please read more about this and other updates in the following update the City issued yesterday.

The City of College Park continues to prepare for and monitor the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) outbreak. The City is following Centers for Disease Control and state and county health departments guidance. As a reminder, the CDC recommends that the general public continue to practice everyday actions (like washing hands often and staying home if sick) to prevent illness. For a full list of those actions, please visit www.cdc.gov/coronavirus.

Many City services like ticket payments, permits, applications, scheduling of special trash collections, ordering of compost, and more can be done via our website
(www.collegeparkmd.gov) or via phone (240-487-3500). We encourage our residents to utilize those resources prior to visiting any City facility.

To reduce the risk of transmission to our residents and staff, the City has directed eligible employees to telework, if reasonable, and has consolidated or suspended services that require direct interactions including in-home consultations, inspections, and in-person meetings. City Mayor and Council meetings will be held virtually starting March 17, 2020 until further notice (noted below).

Due to this continually evolving and unprecedented situation, and to adhere to the latest executive orders from Governor Larry Hogan, the City is announcing further changes to its services and activities. The safety of our residents and staff are our foremost concern.

We regret to announce the cancellation or suspension of the following events, activities and services until further notice:
All events, Seniors Program activities and community meetings;
All Department of Youth, Family & Services group meetings (including the Lakeland STARs tutoring program, Hispanic Parent Support Group, therapist-led school groups);
Public use of City facilities (including rentals);
Monthly City Board and Committee Meetings;
Notary services; and
Department of Youth, Family & Senior Services client meetings/sessions.

The following services and activities will be modified until further notice:
Mayor and Council meetings will now be held virtually. Residents can watch or participate in the meetings via WebEx by downloading the app. The City will provide the link, meeting number and password to participate via the City’s website and social media. A call-in number will also be provided and made available.
All City buildings will be closed to the public with the exception of the windows at City Hall (8400 Baltimore Avenue Suites #375 and #340) and at Davis Hall during normal business hours only;
All in-person meetings/consultations will be decided on a case by case basis, done via telephone or postponed;
City fields and recreational facilities are open, however all gatherings, games, and sporting events must be kept to under 50 people per the Governor’s executive order;
Only external property Code compliance and inspections will be conducted; and
Only external patrols and service for City Animal Control will be conducted.

As of now, the following services and activities will continue and not be disrupted:
Police patrols and emergency response;
Regular trash, recycling, bulk trash, and yard waste collections;
Compost pickup and deliveries;
Seniors Transportation Services for essential trips (medical appointments or medication which are vital or to purchase items that are essential for subsistence within the next 7-14 days grocery or medical trips only);
Application submission and processing for City building permits, variance and departures, homeownership grants, Business Assistance grants, and chain-link fence grants;
Parking enforcement; and
Department of Public Works April Cleanup Saturdays.

The state and county have initiated measures to help school-aged children and seniors in need access food during this difficult time. For information and locations for food distribution to children while schools are closed, please visit www.pgcps.org/Inside-PGCPS/2019-2020/Student-Meals-Available-During-COVID-19-Closures or mdsummermeals.org.

For food delivery information for seniors who typically receive meals at DFS Nutrition sites, please visit the Prince George’s County Nutrition Services website at www.princegeorgescountymd.gov/1723/Nutrition-Services or call 301-265-8475. Seniors can also contact the College Park Meals on Wheels (301-474-1002 or mowcp.yolasite.com) or Neighbors Helping Neighbors (301-222-3434 or www.nhn-cp.org) to request services or volunteer. The College Park Community Food Bank will be open for food distribution on Saturday, March 21 from 10:00 a.m. until noon; for more information visit www.collegeparkfoodbank.com.

As the situation continues to evolve, the City will continue to update the public as necessary. Please visit the City’s website (www.collegeparkmd.gov), sign up for the City’s emails (www.collegeparkmd.gov/cpconnect) and follow the City’s Facebook (www.fb.com/collegeparkmd) and Twitter (@collegepark_md) for the latest and most up-to-date City news and information.

The City would like to remind residents to only share accurate information from the CDC, state or county health departments to reduce misinformation. For the latest and most accurate information about this evolving situation, visit the CDC, state and county health department websites:
CDC: www.cdc.gov/coronavirus
Maryland Department of Health: health.maryland.gov/coronavirus
Prince George’s County Department of Health: health.mypgc.us/coronavirus

Tonight is the Deadline for College Park Recreation Needs Assessment Survey

With almost all activities canceled, there are still one important thing folks can do to feel productive: Respond to the College Park Recreation Needs Assessment Survey

College Park is currently running a Community Recreation Needs Assessment Survey that asks about recreational facilities, programs, transportation and services, and will assist in determining the current and future level of services for the community based on public input.  The survey was mailed to randomly selected City households earlier but is now open to every resident. The survey is looking for community input and addresses needs for every resident in College Park of ALL ages.  The deadline to respond to the survey is this coming tonight.

Please take the online survey: www.collegeparksurvey.org/open.  Make sure your voice is heard.

More COVID-19 Cancellations: Good Neighbor Day, Maryland Day, and More..

1. Good Neighbor Day: Statement from the organizer: Part of being a “good neighbor” means considering the health of those in our community. With that in mind, we have made the difficult decision to postpone Good Neighbor Day 2020. Our partners and planning committee made a collective decision based on guidelines advising social distancing and avoiding large gatherings to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. We extend a huge thank you to everyone who registered to volunteer with the projects, who pledged and provided support and supplies for the event and those involved in the planning. We are postponing Good Neighbor Day 2020 until the fall.

2. Maryland Day: In the light of the widespread cancellations due to the threat of COVID-19, the organizers have decided to CANCEL this year’s Maryland Day Celebration.

3. Book Festival canceled: The College Park Comunity Library also decided to cancel this year’s Book Festival scheduled for March 29th. They hope to reschedule in the fall. Additionally to closing the library until April 6th.