The budget season is upon us! In the next few days and weeks the council and the community groups will be busy in discussing what and how to spend in the next Fiscal year 2013. The Council will be having two working sessions next two Saturdays. We will also be having a public forum for north College Park residents on April  26, 7:30 pm at Davis Hall.

Here is the list of items that the Mayor and Council has for FY 2013 proposed budget. Let me know what you think.

1. Budget 1% of total revenue budget on education
1% = $140,000, but individual schools would have difficulty keeping money, as large grants must be turned over to PGCPS. Requested budget includes $60,000 for public school education grants (an increase from $25,000 in FY12).

2. Budget for 1 or 2-day retreat
UMUC Inn & Conference Center has a $104 meeting package that includes continental breakfast, lunch, morning and afternoon refreshment breaks, parking and standard a/v needs. For M&C, manager, facilitator, cost would be approx. $1 ,200; adding senior staff would increase cost to $2,080. A facilitator would run approx. $2,000 per day. So, total cost would be $3,150 (M&C) to $4,080 (with senior staff).

3. Budget for cost calculation for a defined benefit plan
In 2005, City spent $5,950 for an actuarial evaluation for entry into Maryland State Retirement System. Actuary (Milliman) determined cost for purchase of prior service credit at $5,160,238 for 100%, $2,778,402 for 50%, and $2,036,528 for 33.33%. Costs would probably be higher now as State retirement returns have been lower since 2005 than before.

4. Budget for doubling of City contribution to CPCUP
Requested budget includes $100,000 for CPCUP contribution (an increase from $50,000 in FY12).

5. Budget for state lobbying services
Bowie budgets $45,000 for a lobbyist to assist City with legislative issues. The City’s FY2008 budget contained $5,000 which was unused.

6. Increase non-competitive public school education grants for Hollywood and Paint Branch from $5,000 to $7,500
Cost= $5,000, but individual schools would have difficulty keeping money, as large grants must be turned over to PGCPS. Requested budget includes $60,000 for public school education grants, details to include input from Education Advisory Committee (an increase from $25,000 in FY12).

7. Provide College Park resident book scholarships for UM students, 2 @ $500

8. Provide $7,500 non-competitive public competitive grants for Greenbelt MS and Parkdale HS

9. Provide $2,500 competitive public school education grants for Buck Lodge MS, High Point HS, Cherokee Lane ES

10. Provide scholarships to UM summer educational camps@ $550 each for College Park elementary, middle, high school students, $2,200 for each of 3 levels

11. Consider spending down reserves to 25%. goal
After Ordinance 12-0-01′ unassigned reserve is at 39.97%, but reserve funds may be needed in the future for Public Works modular replacement (estimate $1 Million) and City Hall expansion ($6-8 Million) in order to avoid excessive borrowings for these projects. Using reserve funds for some/all of these projects would be much less expensive than longterm borrowing. A planned FY12 budget amendment (to be brought forward in April) will transfer $1,000,000 to the Public Works Facility Improvements C.I.P. project to cover the cost for a replacement modular building, which will reduce the unassigned reserve to 32.87%.

12. Budget an additional $500 for Neighborhood Watch committee

13. Budget $1 , 000 for Citizens Corps Council

14. Allocate $2,000 for Sustainable Maryland “Green Team” committee

15. Support public improvements to infrastructure, streetscape and pedestrian lighting in Hollywood commercial district

16. Support a community center in North College Park, particularly serving seniors and teens

17. Rain garden near Hollywood Shopping Center, possibly as a joint project between Carrollton Enterprises, REI and CBE

18. Install netting at Duvall Field to catch fly balls. Expansion of tree replacement program

19. Directional signs pointing drivers to side streets off Rhode Island Avenue service roads

20. Add Pepco lights for Gettysburg Lane

21. Support a “substantial expansion” ofpedestrian streetlights (similar to Lackawanna) in North College Park