Dear neighbors,

At tomorrow’s Council meeting, you’ll get an opportunity, to speak before the Council about the new fiscal year’s (FY2021) budget. Due to the current COVID-19 pandemic effect, many of you have concerns about City’s financial situation. Please read below more about the proposed budget. Also, please review this past weekend’s budget town hall meeting to take a quick look at the proposed budget here . In case you cannot attend the public hearing, you can email your comments to the City Council at by tomorrow at 5 PM. In addition to the budget hearing, the City Council will vote on whether to support the sectional map amendment request for the new student housing on Hartwick road, Additionally, the Council will vote whether to give a tax credit to the proposed development by the College Park Metro. Please see the full agenda below:

FY 2021 Budget and the Constant Yield Tax Rate Hearing
The Council will host a public hearing on 20-O-07, the Fiscal Year 2021 General Fund, Capital Projects Fund, and Debt Service Fund budgets, and the constant yield tax rate. Per City Charter, the budget will be adopted by May 31. City staff has provided for over $2 million of reduced revenue and additional contingency due to the pandemic to account for the financial loss to the City. The reductions assume that business will start to be back to “normal” by the end of this fiscal year – June 30, 2020. Thankfully, due to City’s healthy economic situation, we do not see any immediate impact. If the revenue loss due to the current economic downfall continues, the City may consider adopting other measures, depending on the scale of the future revenue losses. Also, the City is not proposing a tax increase in the proposed budget. Two important projects in north College Park – Duvall Field renovation and the Hollywood Streetscape are also fully funded. The construction work of both projects is expected to start this summer.
PROCLAMATION: Take the Parks to Kids Day on May 16
This year, COVID-19 has impacted everyone across the nation and the world and has limited our ability to interact with our beloved national, state, and local parks. The Mayor and Council will proclaim May 16, 2020, as Take The Parks To Kids Day, and encourage families to explore our great American parks using the National Park Trust’s Park Passport app, and remind children and families that an active lifestyle can help combat issues of childhood obesity, diabetes, hypertension, and hypercholesterolemia.
PROCLAMATION: Public Service Recognition Week
The Mayor and Council will proclaim to recognize May 3-9 as the Public Service Recognition Week. Residents are encouraged to recognize the accomplishments and contributions of government employees at all levels, in particular, our City staff and crew who have been serving every single day tirelessly especially critical today during the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, let us give a shoutout to our neighbors who have been working in other “essential” worker capacity and providing important services during this challenging time.
20-G-89 Approval of a Cooperation Agreement for the Community Development Block Grant  The Council will consider approving participation in the Prince George’s County Urban County Entitlement for CDBG and HOME funding for FY2021 – FY2023. The City has been successful in the past in securing CDBG funding from the Prince George’s County Entitlement program and generally receives an amount equivalent to our per capita contribution
20-G-96 Reappointments to College Park City University Partnership
The Council will consider approving the following reappointments to the Board of Directors of the College Park City-University Partnership (a) Class B Directors Patrick Wojahn, and Stephen Brayman (b) Class C Directors: David Iannucci 6/30/2023
20-G-91 “The Standard” Student Housing on Hartwick Road
The Council will consider approving the Preliminary Plan of Subdivision (PP) of “the Standard” located at 4321 Hartwick Road, 450 feet east of the intersection of Guilford Drive and Hartwick Road. The developer Landmark Properties is proposing a mixed-use building containing 282 dwelling units/951 beds for student housing and 6,671 square feet of retail space. The subject site currently contains approximately 12,119 square feet of office space and surface parking. The Planning Board is scheduled to hear the application on May 14th. Based on the discussion at last week’s work session on May 5th, the following changes have been included (a) further defining the public use dedication/easement for the new road; (b) deleting the requirement for a traffic signal warrant study; (c) adding conditions to address stormwater management and permits that may be required for wetlands and wetland buffers and stream impacts.
20-R-12 Revitalization Tax Credit for the College Park Metro Apartments (The Atworth)
The Council will vote whether to grant a City Revitalization Tax Credit to the Gilbane Development Company for College Park Metro Apartments (The Atworth). Last year, the Preliminary Plan of Subdivision and Detailed Site Plan was supported by the City and approved by the Prince George’s County Planning Board with conditions. The City Council declined to approve the requested City Revitalization Tax Credit because the Applicant declined to execute a Declaration of Covenants with the City that included a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) provision if the property were sold to a tax-exempt entity in the future. The applicant has now agreed to execute a Declaration of Covenants with the City that includes this provision (attached) and has requested approval of their application for a City tax credit. The maximum tax credit is an amount equal to 75% of the increased assessment of City tax imposed in the first year, 60% in the second year, 45% in the third year, 30% in the fourth year, and 15% in the fifth year.
20-G-93 Approval of Certain COVID-19 Related Relief Efforts
Council will consider approving of the following COVID-19-related relief efforts: 1) Waiver of business license renewal fees through the end of FY21; 2) Suspend commercial sign and banner code enforcement, and 3) Encourage landlords to delay or forego rental payments from their tenants if financially feasible. The Council may discuss the following additional assistance items in the future (a) Delay payment of City business personal property taxes (b) Identify existing Federal, State, and County business incentive programs where City assistance could be beneficial by filling a gap. (c) Modify Business Assistance and Façade improvement Program to enable more businesses to access the program and address current business needs.
20-G-94 Award of Contract for Feasibility Study to Establish a City Department of Building Code, Permitting & Enforcement:
The Council will consider approving a contract not to exceed $51,720.00 to IBTS to conduct a study to determine the feasibility of the City assuming the responsibility for building construction permits and inspections. The goals for the study are to 1) improve services to residents, developers, builders, and contractors performing work in the City of College Park (and neighboring jurisdictions, if any, who elect to contract with the City for said services), 2) reduce timeframes associated with these services, 3) increase efficiency and workflow and reduce redundant services, 4) standardize review of applications for permits, and 5) avoid repeated reviews that result in multiple revisions of plans and unnecessary expense. Included in the study is the identification of steps necessary for the City to assume responsibility for these functions from the Prince George’s County Department of Permitting, Inspections, and Enforcement (DPIE). The selected consultant shall recommend the most efficient and cost-effective method of providing these services within the City (and neighboring jurisdictions, if any, who elect to contract with the City for said services.
20-R-13 Dedication of Amherst Avenue as a Publicly Dedicated Street
The Council will consider accepting the dedication of Amherst Avenue (in Old town College Park) as a publicly dedicated street/right-of-way, based upon the delineations in the “Johnson & Curriden’s Subdivision of College Park”. This is an undeveloped swampy area (also known as ‘frog pond’) that houses a number of animals, aquatic and plant species resulting in a bio-diverse place. There has been an interest in the City in taking jurisdiction of this area to preserve and study it.
Thanks for reading. Please let me know if you’ve any questions.

Fazlul Kabir

[Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of mine alone and are not necessarily those of City of College Park, or any other organization that I’m officially affiliated]