Budget Update and Worksession: April 19, 2011

April 19, 2011

The City Council had its second and final budget worksession on Saturday. We made a number of amendments to the budget – the largest of which was a substantial increase for additional City contract police, which we are using the speed camera revenue to pay for. Most of these items will be paid for with revenue we were able to reallocate due to the additional public safety funding from the speed cameras. Funds that we would have otherwise spend on contract police this year will go into undesignated reserves, and then be available to spend next year.

The draft budget allocates an additional $150 thousand for part-time contract police coverage, and includes about $35,000 for the hiring of a part-time public safety coordinator, to assist the Neighborhood Watch coordinators and act as a liaison with the police. We also added the following items:
–$25,000 for a feasibility study for a Community Center in Hollywood
–$10,000 additional for College Park Day to hire an event coordinator
–$10,000 to do a study to look at the rental market in College Park to help the Council decide whether to extend the rent stabilization ordinance once it sunsets in 2012
–$10,000 additional to support public education grants for schools outside the City boundaries that serve College Park kids
–$10,000 to design, engineer and print new City district maps after redistricting
–reduction of City Council snacks at meetings from $1,500 to $600, and reduction of staff coffee, snacks, supplies and paper products from $4,800 to $1,000
–$40,000 (maximum) for software to track and handle complaints and work requests from residents and staff. The staff is currently investigating options, and this could go so far as to allow residents to submit complaints online and track their progress and City staff investigate those complaints.
–eliminated the adoption fees
–eliminated the lunch portion of the City’s wellness programs
–decreased travel and training for the Mayor and Council by $2,000
–increased the City’s contribution to the College Park City-University Partnership by $25,000, in order to expand the Partnership and give it more of a role coordinating collaborative activities between the City and the University (the University is also increasing its contribution)

Let me know if you have any questions about these items.

We will introduce the budget formally next week, at the April 26 official Council meeting, and we will be holding a public hearing on the evening of Tuesday, May 10 at 7 pm. Councilmember Nagle and I will be holding a town hall meeting to answer questions about the budget on Saturday, May 7 at 10 am at Davis Hall.

Here’s our agenda for the worksession tomorrow night:

1. PROGRESS REPORT ON 2011-2030 UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND FACILITIES MASTER PLAN UPDATE BY BRENDA TESTA, U-MD FACILITIES PLANNING. The University is currently undertaking an update of its Facilities Master Plan, which sets forth all of the physical improvements that the University campus undertakes over a 20-year period. The University has shared a preliminary, incomplete draft of the plan, giving us a glimpse into what the University intends to accomplish over the next 20 years. The biggest issue that the University confronts is lack of space – both the lack of space to build new buildings and the lack of building space for classrooms, offices and other facilities. The University System plans to expand by about 20% over the next decade, although much of this will be absorbed by other campuses. Priorities for the plan are to make use of the limited space in a way that satisfies the demands of the University, to promote connectivity across campus through use of public transportation, walking corridors, bike paths and roadways, to encourage stewardship of the campus’s natural resources, and to establish a forward-looking and flexible plan for land use. The plan mentions encouraging the use of public transportation and strengthening community relations, in order to coordinate land use and transportation with the jurisdictions surrounding the University. After reading the draft of the facilities master plan, many of the University’s ideas sound promising, and I look forward to watching how they turn out.

2. SOLAR INSTALLATION ON CITY HALL. University Park Solar, which put together the funds necessary to install solar panels on the University Park Church of the Brethren, has approached the City about possibly putting solar panels on the roof of City Hall. This is good timing, because we are currently looking into the possibility of obtaining funding to expand City Hall in its current location. If we can find a way to fund a project like this, it could help protect the environment and save the City money by reducing our utility costs.

3. SPEED ENFORCEMENT REVENUE. The Council is going to have a discussion tomorrow night on how to spend the revenue we received this year from the speed cameras. As I noted above, a portion of this revenue will be carried over to the next fiscal year to help expand our contract police program and hire a part-time public safety coordinator. Other ideas we may discuss include providing additional support for the volunteer fire departments that serve the City, and finding additional ways to add pedestrian and traffic safety measures on busy roads in the City. Please let me know if you have any ideas along those lines.

4. FY 2011 BUDGET AMENDMENT. As often happens toward the end of the fiscal year, due to conservative budgeting, the City has funds left over to spend on additional projects or pay off City debt. This year, we already decided to allocate some of our remaining funds to pay off the Bank of America loan that we used to renovate City Hall about 7 years ago, and to pay off the taxable portion of the bond anticipation note we purchased to build the downtown parking garage. The City staff has also proposed transferring $45,000 to a capital improvement program to upgrade the City’s radio communications system, and putting some amount of money to the capital improvement project to improve the public works facility behind Davis Hall.

5. INTRODUCTION OF FY 2012 BUDGET ORDINANCE. At next week’s official meeting, the Council will formally introduce the proposed FY 2012 budget. The budget is available online at here, with the changes listed above.

6. DISCUSSION OF PETITIONS FOR REFERENDA IN 2011 CITY ELECTION. I’ve sent around information about two possible referenda being proposed for the upcoming 2011 election. Either of these referenda, if it were to pass, would do serious damage to the ability of the City to conduct its business. The first referendum would prevent the City from ever collecting any property tax revenue above what it is collecting in fiscal year 2011, regardless of inflation, additional development within the City, annexations or anything else that might naturally increase the property tax revenue that the City receives, and without considering the impact that this might have on City services down the road. The second referendum would prohibit the City from distinguishing in any way between different types of housing it regulates, and would require the City to treat rental properties in the same way it treats owner/occupied properties. This would prohibit the City from licensing and making annual safety inspections for rental properties, and prevent the City from limiting the occupancy of rental properties to five unrelated persons. It would also prevent owner-occupants from claiming the Homestead Property Tax exemption, and hurt owner-occupants in the City. The referenda petitions are being circulated by Petition Partners, a for-profit signature gathering firm from Arizona.

If you are approached by a signature gatherer, you may request a copy of the petition and the person collecting petition signatures is required to give you a copy of the petition. If you have signed the petition and wish to withdraw the signature, you may do so by signing a statement to that effect. Please let me know if you would like assistance withdrawing your signature or if you have any questions about the petition drive.

7. PGCMA REQUEST RE: ENVISION PRINCE GEORGE’S RESOLUTION. The Prince George’s County Municipal Association has asked that all Prince George’s County municipalities pass a resolution in support of the Envision Prince George’s process. This is an effort that the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) has undertaken to create a new vision for development in Prince George’s County. Envision Prince George’s is developing a broad range of policy recommendations, and the proposed resolution states that College Park would pursue these. More information about Envision Prince George’s is online at here.

8. FOUR CITIES AGENDA ITEMS. The next Four Cities meeting, between College Park, Greenbelt, Berwyn Heights and New Carrollton, is scheduled for April 27 in New Carrollton. This will be the next opportunity that we will have to discuss the Greenbelt area sector plan with the other two cities involved, Berwyn Heights and Greenbelt, so I will propose that we add this to the agenda to discuss the other cities’ recommendations as to the boundary of this plan, and any preliminary thoughts as to the content of the plan.

9. BOARDS AND COMMITTEES. Board and committees with vacancies available to District 1 residents include the Airport Authority, Animal Control Board, Animal Welfare Committee, Cable Television Commission, Committee for a Better Environment, Education Advisory Committee, Rent Stabilization Board (landlord position), Tree and Landscape Board, and Veterans Memorial Improvement Committee. Please let me know if you have any questions about these or are interested in serving.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Patrick

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Council Meeting: April 12, 2011

April 12, 2011

We had our first of two budget worksessions on Tuesday, and got through the finance and administration, public works and engineering sections of the budget. This upcoming Saturday, we’ll be talking about Youth, Family and Senior Services, Economic Development and Planning, and Public Services. Please let me know if you have any questions as our discussions move forward.

This Tuesday, we have a public hearing at 7:45 followed by what I predict will be a relatively short meeting. Here’s what’s on the agenda:

1. PUBLIC HEARING ON ORDINANCE AMENDING CITY HOUSING REGULATIONS TO PROHIBIT THE SPREAD OF BAMBOO ONTO ADJOINING PROPERTIES. This Ordinance would require that residents who decide to grow bamboo on their property maintain it and prevent it from spreading onto neighboring properties without their permission. This ordinance only requires people to be good neighbors to each other and be mindful when planting bamboo – it would only be enforced if a neighbor complains about it, and a resident can easily address the problem by putting in barriers to prevent their bamboo from spreading into neighboring yards. If a resident doesn’t address the problem, the City can step in and give the person a citation and a fine unless they put in a barrier. I brought this up after a couple residents complained about neighbors who were growing bamboo and not cutting it back, so that it would spread to a neighbor’s property and require that the neighbor cut it back. The City doesn’t currently have any tools to address this problem with the resident growing bamboo, but this would hopefully fix that.

2. PROCLAMATION FOR ARBOR DAY. The Council will issue a proclamation recognizing Arbor Day, which is on Saturday, April 23. For a number of years, College Park has received recognition as a Tree City USA due to the City’s efforts to preserve and maintain its woodlands.

3. ANNUAL REPORT BY COLLEGE PARK ARTS EXCHANGE. The College Park Arts Exchange is one of three organizations – including the Boys & Girls Club and Meals on Wheels – that receives a direct grant from the City. The City instituted a requirement last year that direct grantees make an annual report and submit a budget every year to the Council. The Arts Exchange submitted their annual report and will be coming to the Council meeting Tuesday night to answer questions. The Arts Exchange provides a variety of different activities and entertainment around the City of College Park, including after-school arts programs at the Youth and Family Services buildings, choirs and music for children and youth, and different diverse musical performances for adults. You can check out what they do and sign up for their mailing list at cpae.org.

4. CONSENT AGENDA – There are three items on the consent agenda:
1. APPROVAL OF USE OF DUVALL FIELD BY THE BOYS & GIRLS CLUB FOR BOYS LACROSSE HOME GAMES SUNDAYS IN APRIL AND MAY. The Boys & Girls Club got approval to use the baseball diamonds on weekends, but not the fields for the Sunday home Lacrosse games. This would grant them permission.
2. CHANGE IN EFFECTIVE DATE OF EXPANSION OF HOMEOWNERSHIP GRANT PROGRAM. At the last Council meeting, the Council approved an expansion of the City’s Homeownership Grant program to allow career firefighters and EMT’s to take advantage of it, as well as people who purchase foreclosed and vacant properties. The amendment was to become effective in July with the start of our new fiscal year, but the staff has proposed making it effective immediately.
3. AMENDMENT TO THE CHARGE TO THE REDISTRICTING COMMISSION TO ALLOW IT TO CONSIDER RESIDENTS OF STRUCTURES BUILT OR ANNEXED INTO THE CITY SINCE THE CENSUS. A few years ago, the City Council amended the Charter regarding redistricting to allow the redistricting commission to consider residents erroneously omitted from the Census and to consider residents of housing structures built or annexed into the City after the census count was completed. The City Code was not changed to reflect this amendment to the Charter, and the charge to the redistricting commission did not reflect this. This amendment will fix that oversight and formally make the redistricting commission’s charge consistent with the City Charter as amended.

5. ORDINANCE AMENDING CITY HOUSING REGULATIONS TO PROHIBIT ALLOWING THE SPREAD OF BAMBOO ONTO ADJOINING PROPERTIES. The Council will vote on the ordinance discussed above.

6. FY 2011 PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATION GRANTS. The City put in its budget this year $10,000 for grants to local schools. These are meant to be divided between the two public schools that are in the boundaries of the City – Hollywood Elementary School and Paint Branch Elementary School (although in past years the City gave away $15,000, and divided the remaining $5,000 between other schools that serve College Park students and applied). Hollywood submitted a grant request for a collaborative planning for teachers program – this program would allow the school to hire substitute teachers to allow teachers to engage in collaborative planning. Paint Branch submitted a grant request to help support its annual trip for students to China. The City’s Education Advisory Commission unanimously recommended approving the grant requests.

7. FY 2011 FIRE DEPARTMENT CAPITAL EQUIPMENT GRANTS. The City’s fire department grants are non-competitive grants of $10,000 each to the three volunteer fire departments (VFD’s) that serve College Park as first responders – Branchville VFD, College Park VFD, and Berwyn Heights VFD. College Park VFD is requesting $10,000 to apply to debt service on the 2010 custom ambulance it purchased, with a $37,000 annual payment. It will raise funds through fundraisers and other grants to pay for the rest. The Branchville VFD requested $10,000 to help pay for a new ambulance to replace the 2002 Ford ambulance it has, which is no longer in good shape. The total cost is approximately $175,000, and the fire department will engage in fundraising and obtain other grants to pay for the rest. Berwyn Heights VFD has requested $10,000 to apply for the debt service on a 2010 ladder track, which the department purchased to service the high-rise apartment buildings along US 1. The annual debt service for this truck is $42,000, and the department is engaging in fundraising and applying for other grants to pay for the rest.

8. TRANSFER OF LIQUOR LICENSE FOR APPLEBEE’S FROM THE CORPORATE ENTITY TO THE FRANCHISEE. The owner of the Applebee’s franchise on Route 1 in downtown College Park has requested that the City support its request to transfer stewardship of the restaurant’s liquor license from the corporate entity to the franchisee. Although the City already has a property use agreement in place, which requires the restaurant to meet a 35%:65% alcohol to food sales ratio, we want to set up a new one for the new license holder. The franchisee is willing to agree to all the same terms, but has asked that we allow it to have happy hour deals at night and allow it to sell pitchers. I don’t have any particular concerns about this, since the restaurant has never had any noise violations or underage drinking violations.

9. LETTER TO PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY PLANNING BOARD RE: BOUNDARIES OF GREENBELT METRO AREA SECTOR PLAN AND SECTIONAL MAP AMENDMENT. As has been discussed a lot on this list already, the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is initiating a new Sector Plan for most of the City of Greenbelt and the commercial districts along Route 193, including the Greenbelt Metro Station developments. The planning areas have been changed from the 2001 plan to exclude all of North College Park and to include areas east of Kenilworth Avenue. The 18-month plan is set to begin in May 2011, with a draft plan to be released to the public in February 2012. On March 31, 2011, the City held a meeting with North College Park residents to discuss the proposed boundaries of the plan and the role that the City would play. Residents expressed a desire to be deeply involved with the development of the plan, but to avoid having any part of North College Park be within the boundaries of the plan, so that no change in zoning would happen in north College Park. Residents expressed a strong desire to ensure that the development in the Greenbelt Metro area would not have any negative impact on the residential neighborhoods in North College Park, and that the wooded areas and the creeks in the development would be preserved. The City staff worked with me and Councilmember Nagle to draft a letter to that effect to send to the Planning Board. The draft of the letter is below.

10. RESOLUTION TO ESTABLISH A NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH STEERING COMMITTEE. The City is currently in the process of appointing new leadership for the Neighborhood Watch program, in order to expand the program city-wide and enhance its presence in our neighborhoods. The Council appointed a subcommittee, including myself and Councilmembers Nagle, Afzali and Mitchell, in order to put this together. We decided to work to expand the Neighborhood Watch program city-wide by establishing a Neighborhood Watch steering committee, with three appointees to work with City staff and the police and to help develop and direct the program. We will be considering a resolution to do this, and considering appointments of three residents – Robert Boone, Aaron Bourne, and Zari Malsawma – to take over this work.

11. ORDINANCE REGARDING ELECTION PRACTICES. On Tuesday, the Council will be introducing an ordinance to address a couple concerns about election practices in preparation for the 2011 elections. In order to address concerns regarding ethical practices involving robocalls and display of City signs, the Council will be considering an ordinance that would: would do the following: 1) require that anyone who disseminates campaign material by e-mail or social media comply with the notice requirements or link to a website that gives the required information, 2) require that anyone who campaigns with pre-recorded phone calls state the identity of the individual or entity that initiated the call, including a telephone number or address of that individual or entity; and 3) require that political signs in the City right-of-way not be posted more than 45 days before the election, and be removed within 48 hours after the election is over. There will be a public hearing on this ordinance on Tuesday, May 10 at 7:45 pm.

12. APPOINTMENTS TO BOARDS AND COMMITTEES. The Council will consider the three appointments mentioned above for the Neighborhood Watch steering committee, and will also be considering reappointments of Mayor Fellows and former Mayor Steve Brayman to the College Park City-University Partnership as Class B (City) appointments, as well as changing the expiration date of Richard Wagner’s term to the CPCUP to January 2013.

Please let me know if you have any questions or comments about any of these items!

Patrick

DRAFT
April 6, 2011

Mr. Samuel J. Parker Jr., AICP
Chairman
Prince George’s County Planning Board
14741 Governor Oden Bowie Drive
Upper Marlboro, Maryland 20772

Re: Greenbelt Metro Area and MD193 Corridor Sector Plan and Sectional Map Amendment

Dear Mr. Parker:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the proposed boundaries of the Greenbelt Metro Area and MD 193 Corridor Sector Plan. These boundaries have been changed from the boundaries of the 2001 Greenbelt Metro Area Sector Plan to exclude any portion of the City of College Park. For the past several weeks, there have been discussions among city residents, staff and the City Council about the implications of this change to the planning area boundary. The North College Park neighborhoods, in particular, are impacted by transit-oriented development at the Greenbelt Metro Station. North College Park residents were involved stakeholders in previous planning efforts and development proposals for this area. Many of the residents of these neighborhoods and the City of College Park would like to be active participants in the planning process regardless of where the plan boundaries are drawn. The City of College Park is not asking that the boundary be expanded to North College Park but is requesting an equal place at the table during the development and drafting of the new Sector Plan.

In general, the concepts and policies for North College Park and the Core Area contained in the 2001 sector plan are acceptable to the community. These include the following: retaining the existing low density residential character in North College Park; preserving the environmental envelope including the state-owned property as open space; minimizing stormwater-related problems due to new development; and utilizing a height transition zone to a maximum of 12 stories in the north core of Greenbelt Station. We would like to see these ideas maintained as key principles as the new Sector Plan is drafted.

A stated purpose of the proposed plan is to address connectivity issues and “complete” streets with a focus on the Greenbelt Road/MD193 corridor. A portion of this corridor lies within College Park and should be studied as part of the planning process as it serves as a gateway between College Park and Greenbelt. The city requests that the plan boundary be extended to include the MD 193 right-of-way between Rhode Island Avenue and the railway tracks and the Greenbelt Road right-of-way between the railway tracks and US Route 1. This area is in great need of enhanced streetscapes and improvements for pedestrians, bicyclists and vehicles and should be addressed as part of the planning context.

The City Council appreciates your consideration of this request and also asks that city staff be included in planning staff team meetings when issues relative to Greenbelt Station and corridor streetscapes are under discussion.

Sincerely,

Andrew Fellows

Worksession: April 5, 2011

April 3, 2011

I hope you all are enjoying the beginning of Spring! If you’re like me, I’m sure you can’t wait for the weather to warm up a bit. The Council has a busy week this week with both the regular worksession on Tuesday and the budget worksession starting at 7:30 Saturday morning.

This Tuesday will be the first worksession with the new audio equipment in City Hall! If you watch the broadcast of the worksession on TV or online this Tuesday, please let me know how it sounds. Hopefully this will fix the sound problems that have long plagued our meetings.

Here’s our agenda for this week:

PROPOSED CONSENT AGENDA. There are three items proposed for the consent agenda:

1. APPROVAL OF USE OF DUVALL FIELD BY THE BOYS & GIRLS CLUB FOR BOYS LACROSSE HOME GAMES SUNDAYS IN APRIL AND MAY. The Boys & Girls Club got approval to use the baseball diamonds on weekends, but not the fields for the Sunday home Lacrosse games. The B&G Club submitted their application too late for use in April, but the City Manager approved their request to use it in April, as City rules allow.

2. CHANGE IN EFFECTIVE DATE OF EXPANSION OF HOMEOWNERSHIP GRANT PROGRAM. At the last Council meeting, the Council approved an expansion of the City’s Homeownership Grant program to allow career firefighters and EMT’s to take advantage of it, as well as people who purchase foreclosed and vacant properties. The amendment was to become effective in July with the start of our new fiscal year, but the staff has proposed making it effective immediately.

3. AMENDMENT TO THE CHARGE TO THE REDISTRICTING COMMISSION TO ALLOW IT TO CONSIDER RESIDENTS OF STRUCTURES BUILT OR ANNEXED INTO THE CITY SINCE THE CENSUS. A few years ago, the City Council amended the Charter regarding redistricting to allow the redistricting commission to consider residents erroneously omitted from the Census and to consider residents of housing structures built or annexed into the City after the census count was completed. It seems, though, that the City Code was not changed to reflect this amendment to the Charter, and the charge to the redistricting commission did not reflect this. This amendment will fix that oversight and formally make the redistricting commission’s charge consistent with the City Charter as amended.

4. PRESENTATION BY WMATA RE: ADDITION OF TEST TRACK BETWEEN COLLEGE PARK AND GREENBELT METRO STATIONS. WMATA has proposed building a third “test” track between the Greenbelt and College Park Metro stations. Currently, WMATA tests new and rehabilitated rail cars on existing “revenue” track, which sometimes interferes with the regular operation of the Metro or has to be done at night. WMATA did an analysis of the track areas, and found that the only place where it has sufficient right-of-way to install a third “test” is the area between College Park and Greenbelt. The proposed track would be built alongside the existing track between the existing track and the CSX rail. Construction is to begin in Spring of 2012 and be completed by late summer 2013. I have some questions for WMATA about the impact that the construction will have on our neighborhoods. Let me know if you have any questions or comments about this project.

5. FY 2011 PUBLIC SCHOOL EDUCATION AND FIRE DEPARTMENT GRANTS. The City put in its budget this year $10,000 for grants to local schools and $30,000 for grants to local fire departments to buy equipment. The local school grants are meant to be divided between the two public schools that are in the boundaries of the City – Hollywood Elementary School and Paint Branch Elementary School. Hollywood submitted a grant request for a collaborative planning for teachers program, and Paint Branch submitted a grant request for a project-based learning project. We didn’t get the actual grant applications in our packets, so I don’t know anything more about these specific requests, but we should get the grant applications and reports from last year’s grants on Tuesday night, so I can answer questions about the grants after the worksession Tuesday night. The City’s Education Advisory Commission unanimously recommended approving the grant requests. The City’s fire department grants are non-competitive grants of $10,000 each to the three volunteer fire departments (VFD’s) that serve College Park as first responders – Branchville VFD, College Park VFD, and Berwyn Heights VFD. College Park VFD is requesting $10,000 to apply to debt service on the 2010 custom ambulance it purchased, with a $37,000 annual payment. It will raise funds through fundraisers and other grants to pay for the rest. The Branchville VFD requested $10,000 to help pay for a new ambulance to replace the 2002 Ford ambulance it has, which is no longer in good shape. The total cost is approximately $175,000, and the fire department will engage in fundraising and obtain other grants to pay for the rest. Berwyn Heights VFD has requested $10,000 to apply for the debt service on a 2010 ladder track, which the department purchased to service the high-rise apartment buildings along US 1. The annual debt service for this truck is $42,000, and the department is engaging in fundraising and applying for other grants to pay for the rest.

6. REVIEW APPLICATION TO TRANSFER THE LIQUOR LICENSE FOR APPLEBEE’S FROM THE APPLEBEE’S CORPORATE ENTITY TO THE FRANCHISEE.
This is part of an effort by Applebee’s to transfer ownership at all locations to the franchisees rather than the corporate entity itself. This won’t change much in terms of the operations of the actual restaurant, which must still be operated according to the terms of the franchise agreement and Applebee’s business plan. The City currently has a property use agreement in place, which requires the restaurant to meet a 35%:65% alcohol to food sales ratio, and the franchisee has indicated it is willing to continue this. The staff has also proposed setting a $2 minimum for beer sales.

7. DISCUSSION OF PROPOSED BOUNDARY FOR GREENBELT METRO AREA AND MD 193 CORRIDOR SECTOR PLAN. The Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission (M-NCPPC) is initiating a new Greenbelt Metro Area and MD 193 Corridor Sector Plan and Sectional Map Amendment (SMA) process, to begin in May 2011. This is intended, in part, to update the Greenbelt Metro Area sector plan, which was passed in 2001. The currently proposed boundaries include the areas east of the Green line Metro tracks that were part of that sector plan – the Greenbelt Station development and the state-owned natural area west of Cherrywood Ln., as well as Franklin Park (formerly Springhill Lake) and Beltway Plaza. The proposed boundaries also include the commercial areas along Route 193 east of the Metro tracks. A map of the area is here. The question for the Council to consider is whether we agree with these proposed boundaries. Councilmember Nagle and I held a meeting for residents to discuss this on Thursday night, March 31. Coming out of that meeting, I believe the following:
1) Residents wish to have input in the process to the same extent as Greenbelt and Berwyn Heights, regardless of whether any part of College Park is included in the sector plan. M-NCPPC’s activities thus far have not indicated that College Park is to be given the same treatment;
2) Residents are very concerned about proposals to redevelop the residential and natural areas in north College Park west of the Metro tracks, and are opposed to any sector plan that might consider doing this;
3) Residents are generally happy with the proposals in the Greenbelt Metro Area Sector Plan from 2001, which limited the height of the development just East of the Greenbelt Metro tracks limited to 4-10 stores, and the highest buildings, at 12 stories, in a “Maximum Height Zone” to be located at least 1400′ from the residential areas in Hollywood. See p. 178 of this document – for more information on how that was to be built;
4) People are very concerned about the Conceptual Site Plan that was ultimately submitted for the north core, which was passed in 2006 and proposed much higher buildings near the Metro station (as high as 18 stories). This Site Plan does not expire, and although the original developer that had contracted with Metro to build here is no longer in the picture, this proposal is still in place. When a new developer comes along, the City will have to renegotiate with that developer to ensure that the developer’s proposal is more in line with the 2001 Sector Plan;
5) Many people are concerned about preservation of the Narragansett Run and Indian Creek, both for the purposes of preserving natural areas and to ensure proper stormwater management in north College Park. While the wooded area along these creeks in the Metro station area has been proposed for preservation, it is currently zones as Mixed-Use. Residents are interested in downzoning this area to ensure its preservation. In order to downzone this area (which M-NCPPC staff agrees would be appropriate), this area should be included in the Sector Plan;
6) Berwyn Heights and the City planning staff have proposed adding a couple of additional areas into the plan, including the industrial area north of Lake Artemesia and in Branchville east of the Metro tracks (which is part of Berwyn Heights), and the streetscape on Route 193 between Route 1 and the Metro tracks (to consider additional pedestrian safety measures).

Given these considerations, I would like to propose that the Council send a letter to M-NCPPC strongly asking that the City of College Park and the residents of North College Park be allowed input and given equal treatment to Berwyn Heights and Greenbelt in development of the sector plan. I would also like to ask that the north and south cores of the Greenbelt Station development be removed from the Sector Plan, so that the recommendations of the 2001 Sector Plan remain in place. I want to ask that the wooded area along Narragansett Run and Indian Creek stay in the plan to be downzoned to an Open Space zone or something similar, to prevent this area from being developed. I would concur with the requests of Berwyn Heights and planning staff that the industrial areas along Route 193, and the street itself, be included to review what measures could be taken to improve these areas.

Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions now or as this process goes forward.

8. APPROVAL OF NEIGHBORHOOD WATCH RESOLUTION.
The City is currently in the process of appointing new leadership for the Neighborhood Watch program, in order to expand the program city-wide and enhance its presence in our neighborhoods. Councilmembers Nagle, Mitchell, Afzali and I are part of a subcommittee charged with doing this, and we’ve put out “job” descriptions to recruit new leadership. A number of people are interested in helping out, but we decided to establish a formal steering committee to move this forward. We will be considering a resolution to do this. The steering committee will consist of three people, and will be charged with recruiting Neighborhood Coordinators around the City, training new leadership, disseminating information about criminal activity, and acting as liaisons between the police and residents. The police community liaison officer (currently Officer Black) will be part of the steering committee as well. Appointments to the Steering Committee will be in two-year terms, and will provide yearly reports to the Council about the status of crime prevention efforts in the City. I’m eager to move forward with this and see what we can do to build the Neighborhood Watch program.

9. REVIEW OF DRAFT CHANGES TO ELECTION LAW. Over the past couple of months, the Council has been discussing possible changes to the election and nuisances law to deal with two issues: 1) robo-calls and campaign materials sent out electronically (by e-mail, twitter, Facebook, etc.), and 2) time restrictions on the display of campaign signs in the City right-of-way. After talking with Jack Robson, chair of the Board of Elections, and throwing some ideas around, we will be considering an ordinance that would do the following: 1) require that anyone who disseminates campaign material by e-mail or social media comply with the notice requirements or link to a website that gives the required information, 2) require that anyone who campaigns with pre-recorded phone calls state the identity of the individual or entity that initiated the call, including a telephone number or address of that individual or entity; and 3) require that political signs in the City right-of-way not be posted more than 45 days before the election, and be removed within 48 hours after the election is over.

Also, due to the recent Supreme Court decision in Citizens United vs. Federal Election Commission, our attorney has recommended that we amend the elections ordinance to only restrict direct contributions from a corporation or business entity to a candidate, and allow business entities to independently promote or oppose candidates by means of election advertisements or other published or distributed literature.

We will be announcing next week when there will be a public hearing on this proposed ordinance. In the meantime, please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

10. DISCUSSION OF USE OF BOND BILL FUNDING FOR DESIGN OF EXPANSION OF CITY HALL PRIOR TO JUNE 1, 2011. In 2004, the State gave the City a $100,000 capital grant for design and engineering of a new city hall. The grant expires on June 1, 2011, unless the funds have been encumbered (or obligated in a contract). Over the years, we haven’t been able to get any further with these funds, because the City had hoped to get additional funding through the developer funds from the East Campus project, and possibly find a new location for the City Hall. The City explored selling the land where City Hall is currently located and moving to a new location, but we were unable to get anywhere with that. This year, with the impending deadline, the City attempted to get the Maryland State Assembly to extend the grant, but the Senate Budget and Taxation Committee was not supportive, due to the City’s lack of progress with the funds. The City’s consultant has advised that our best course of action may be to just expand City Hall at its current location, and with the parking garage now located across the street, it may be possible to expand City Hall into the surrounding parking lot. The City could quickly contract with a design firm by riding on another City’s contract if that City went through a request for qualifications. If the Council has consensus on building an addition to the existing City Hall, staff believes there may be enough time for us to encumber the funds before July 1.

11. LEGISLATIVE UPDATE. Assistant to the City Manager Chantal Cotton provided the following update about our City’s legislative priorities – the Bill to remove the sunset provision and allow the City to continue to bus pass program on the Shuttle-UM passed through the Senate, and is now awaiting action in the House of Delegates; the bill to extend the City’s bond for design of a new City Hall was withdrawn due to lack of support (see #10 above), and the Bill to allow the City to implement a revitalization tax credit program passed the Senate and is now awaiting action in the House.

12. APPOINTMENTS TO BOARDS AND COMMITTEES. Amy Neugebauer, Executive Director of the College Park City-University Partnership, requested the City’s appointments to the CPCUP. The City will be considering appointing Mayor Fellows and former Mayor Steve Brayman as its appointees, and approving resident Richard Wagner as a joint University-City appointment.

There are seats available to District 1 residents on the following committees: Airport Authority, Animal Control Board, Cable Television Commission, Committee for a Better Environment, Education Advisory Committee, Rent Stabilization Board (landlord position), Tree and Landscape Board, and the Veterans Memorial Improvement Committee. Please let me know if you have any questions about these committees or might be interested in serving on one.

Council Meeting: March 22, 2011

March 24, 2011

Thanks to those of you who were able to come to the town hall meeting about the FY 2012 Action Plan and budget on Saturday. Because the budget wasn’t released yet, we’re looking at doing another town hall meeting to discuss the budget on Saturday, April 30. More to follow on that.

We have a brief Council meeting tomorrow night. We’re starting the night at 7:30 with a PUBLIC HEARING ON 11-O-02 – AN ORDINANCE TO PROHIBIT THE LOCATION OR USE OF FURNITURE ON A ROOF. First up, we have a public hearing on the proposed ordinance to prohibit placing furniture on the roof of a house, except on an approved porch or deck. This has been a significant problem in Old Town and other student-heavy areas in the City, and creates a safety hazard. The fines would be $200 for the first offense, and $400 thereafter. Please let me know if you have testimony you would like to submit for the written record and aren’t able to come tomorrow night.

The following items are on the agenda for the official meeting:

1. INTRODUCTION OF PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY POLICE DISTRICT 1 COMMAND STAFF. As I’ve noted in past e-mails, there are new leaders in District 1 of the Prince George’s County Police Department, including new District 1 commander Hector Velez. Many of you were able to meet Major Velez at the NCPCA meeting a couple weeks ago. I’m optimistic about his capabilities and hope that he and his leadership team will be able to improve relations with the community and help prevent problems like the crime wave that we had last month.

2. APPRECIATION TO CITY COUNCIL FROM PARKDALE HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS. A group of Parkdale High School students will come tomorrow night to express their appreciation to the Council. I believe this is for a grant the Council recently gave to support security cameras around the school. The cameras are intended to prevent truancy and crime immediately around the school.

3. ADOPTION OF ORDINANCE 11-O-02, TO PROHIBIT THE LOCATION OR USE OF FURNITURE ON A ROOF. The Council will consider and vote on the ordinance that will be discussed during the public hearing tomorrow night.

4. APPROVAL OF FINAL DESIGN FOR SUNNYSIDE SKATE PARK AND AUTHORIZATION FOR THE CITY MANAGER TO NEGOTIATE AMENDMENTS TO AGREEMENT WITH MNCPPC. After an interesting discussion with the design committee members and with members of the skating community last week about some features of the design of the Skate Spot in Sunnyside Park, I believe the City is ready to move ahead. The conversation last week centered around the size of the bowl in the park. Some older and more experienced skaters were asking the City to install a deeper bowl, which it seemed that they thought would provide a better feature for more experienced skaters. The design committee, for the most part, supported a shallower bowl (four feet), which they felt would attract more beginning skaters and would be more safe for the community and easier to maintain. I support the committee’s recommendations – the park is meant to be for the neighborhood, and I think that having a more advanced skate park would attract more people from outside the City. Because the park is fairly small, there isn’t much parking, and the park will be unstaffed, there isn’t much capacity to accommodate a lot of people there. In fact, most of the skaters who came last week to support the deeper bowl do not live in the community. I believe we will be able to approve the design tomorrow and move forward.

5. RESOLUTION TO AMEND THE HOMEOWNERSHIP GRANT PROGRAM (“NEW NEIGHBORS PROGRAM”) TO AUTHORIZE CAREER FIREFIGHTERS AND EMERGENCY MEDICAL TECHNICIANS WHO WORK IN PRINCE GEORGE’S COUNTY TO QUALIFY FOR THE GRANT, AND TO EXPAND THE PROPERTIES TO WHICH THE GRANT APPLIES TO SINGLE FAMILY RESIDENCES AND CONDOMINIUM UNITS THAT ARE IN FORECLOSURE OR SHORT SALE STATUS. The New Neighbors program provides $5,000 grants for people who purchase homes that were previously rented for at least two years. Grants are also available for city employees and police officers who move to College Park. Only one grant was awarded in FY 2010, and no grants have been awarded so far in FY 2011. The Council will be considering expanding eligibility to people who purchase foreclosed homes or homes purchased by banks through short sales. Also, based on a suggestion from a resident last week, I suggested that we expand eligibility to potential homeowners who work as full-time EMT’s or career firefighters. The purpose of this was to attract more public safety professionals (in addition to police officers) who will live and work within College Park. I believe this will expand use of this program and help us to reduce the number of vacant houses in the City.

6. LETTER TO THE BOARD OF LICENSE COMMISSIONERS REGARDING THE REVOCATION/FORFEITURE OF THE LIQUOR LICENSE FOR THE THIRSTY TURTLE. Alan Wanuck, owner of the Thirsty Turtle, decided not to appeal the revocation of his liquor license and to turn in the liquor license to County authorities. Because the Board of Licensing Commissioners decided to revoke his license and he did not appeal the decision, the outcome stands on his record as a forfeiture. Mr. Wanuck, apparently realizing the long-term consequences of having this on his record, has requested that the BOLC amend this to indicate that he relinquished the license – presumably so that he could open another establishment down the road. Although I sympathize with Mr. Wanuck’s concerns, as the record stands before us, there was every reason to revoke his license – considerable evidence suggested that Mr. Wanuck was blatantly allowing underage drinkers into the Thirsty Turtle. When the City Council was first considering its position on this matter, we invited Mr. Wanuck to defend himself, and he decided not to show up. Given that we already have taken a position supporting revocation of the license, I don’t think that we should now stand silent as he attempts to change the record on this matter, as he is requesting. If Mr. Wanuck was capable of once opening a bar that created safety concerns for our community, I believe he could easily do it again. The Council will be considering sending a letter to the BOLC opposing Mr. Wanuck’s application to change the outcome of his liquor license battles from a revocation to a forfeiture, and I intend to support the letter.

7. INTRODUCTION OF ORDINANCE 11-O-04 TO PROHIBIT THE SPREAD OF BAMBOO ONTO ADJOINING PROPERTIES. This Ordinance, which would prohibit residents from allowing bamboo to spread onto neighboring properties without their permission, is up for introduction tomorrow night. As I said last week, this ordinance only really requires people to be good neighbors to each other and be mindful when planting bamboo – it would only be enforced if a neighbor complains about it, and a resident can easily address the problem by putting in barriers to prevent their bamboo from spreading into neighboring yards. If a resident doesn’t address the problem, the City can step in and give the person a citation and a fine unless they put in a barrier. This will be up for a public hearing on April 12, 2011, at 7:45 pm.

8. APPOINTMENTS TO BOARDS AND COMMITTEES. Thanks to Winston Hazard, who’s up for reappointment tomorrow night on the Veterans Memorial Improvement Committee.

As always, thanks for reading, and please let me know if you have any questions or concerns about any item we’ll be discussing!

Patrick

Join Us

March 5, 2011

Join Us For a

Walk and Talk on Public Safety
In the Hollywood Neighborhood

with

Officer Jaron J. Black,
PGCPD Community Liaison for North College Park

6:00 pm
Friday, March 11, 2011
Meet at the Greenbelt Metro Station Lackawanna Street Entrance

Come with your questions about police coverage in Northern College Park and recent crime incidents

Upcoming Town Hall Meetings/Events

March 5, 2011

I wanted to bring everyone’s attention to a couple of upcoming events for you to put on your calendars:

1. PUBLIC FORUM ON FY 2012 ACTION PLAN. Next Tuesday, March 8 at 7 pm, before our regular Council meeting, the Council will have a public forum on our draft FY 2012 action plan. The staff will give an overview of the plan and of the things that the Council has asked to include in the plan, and then we will answer questions and listen to thoughts and ideas about the things that are included in the plan and ideas for additional things to include in the plan. This public meeting will be in City Hall Council Chambers. Click here for more information. The FY2010-2015 Strategic Plan and draft FY 2012 Action Plan are available by clicking here.

2. WALK AND TALK WITH COMMUNITY LIAISON OFFICER JARON BLACK. Due to recent crime activity in the neighborhood and recent concerns about safety around the Greenbelt Metro station, Officer Black has agreed to hold a walk and talk for residents on Friday, March 11 at 6 pm. Officer Black will be available to answer questions and talk about things that you can do to protect yourself as the weather gets warmer. Spring is often a time for increased criminal activity in the neighborhood, and there has been a spike in criminal activity in the neighborhood recently, so please come with your questions! We will meet at 6 pm at the Greenbelt Metro station. A flier is attached – please spread the word!

3. TOWN HALL MEETING WITH COUNCILMEMBERS WOJAHN AND NAGLE REGARDING THE FY 2012 ACTION PLAN AND CITY BUDGET. On Saturday, March 19, at 1 pm at Davis Hall, Councilmember Nagle and I have will be hosting, like last year, a town hall meeting to discuss the draft FY 2012 City Action Plan and budget. We will be available to answer questions and take suggestions and comments about the budget and action plan. Unfortunately, the budget will not be available at that point, but Christine and I will be able to talk about some of its highlights and take input about things that might be included in the budget. The City Council budget worksessions will be held the first two Saturdays of April.

4. MEETING WITH COUNCILMEMBERS AND STAFF ABOUT THE DRAFT CITY ZONING ORDINANCE. On Thursday, March 24, at 7 pm at Davis Hall, the Council will be holding a meeting to answer questions about and to discuss City Ordinance 11-O-03. This Ordinance, if it passes, would give the City additional zoning authority, over three specific items: 1) Certification of and Approval of Revisions to Nonconforming Uses; 2) Minor Changes to Approved Special Exceptions; and 3) Approval of Alternative Compliance to the Landscape Manual. Larry Bleau’s helpful side-by-side chart, which compares the current County procedures with the procedures under Ordinance 11-O-03, is attached. City Attorney Suellen Ferguson and City Director of Planning and Economic Development Terry Schum will be available to answer any questions. This meeting is being held in addition to the regular public hearing on this ordinance, which is scheduled for April 26, 2011 at 7:30 pm.

Let me know if you have any questions about any of these events!
Patrick

Discussion: Strategic Plan FY2012 Action Plan

March 2, 2011

District 1 residents are invited to participate in a discussion with the City Council and City staff about the Strategic Plan FY 2012 Action Plan draft.
Both the Strategic Plan (2010-2015) and the current FY 2011 Action Plan are available on the City’s website under special reports. Additional information will be posted on the website as the date approaches. Please call the City Clerk’s office at 240-487-3501 or either of us if there are questions.

Patrick (240- 988-7763)
Christine (240-965-0214)

Public Hearing and Meeting: February 22, 2011

February 21, 2011

Hope you all had a good President’s Day weekend! We’re supposed to get bad weather tonight, so please let me know if you might need help shoveling or taking care of snow, and please stay off the roads tonight if you can. The City’s gearing up for another possible snow emergency, hopefully the last of the year!

We’re starting tomorrow night off with a PUBLIC HEARING ON THE CITY CODE REGARDING PARKING OF COMMERCIAL VEHICLES ON RESIDENTIAL STREETS. The Council passed an ordinance late last year setting out criteria about when a vehicle should be prohibited on residential streets as a commercial vehicle. These included the following: 1) any vehicle exceeding 21 feet in length or 6 feet in width used for commercial purposes; 2) any vehicle exceeding a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight specification of 8,500 pounds; 3) vehicles containing advertising other than a firm name or similar designation less than 4 inches high; 4) vehicles exceeding 300 cubic feet of load space; and 5) any stake platform trucks, dump trucks, crane or two trucks, or vehicles with rear dual wheels. After putting this into effect, we got some feedback from some residents with smaller commercial vehicles that suggested this may be too restrictive. Unfortunately, some residents rely on work vehicles to get to and from work, and park those vehicles on the street. Because the county zoning code prohibits residents from parking these vehicles in their driveways, they could only park them in the street before, and they were surprised that the City would become more restrictive after letting them park on the streets for many years. As a result, we had a discussion about easing these restrictions somewhat, and the Council thought it might be best to do two things: 1) allow vehicles with commercial lettering on the sides that met the other restrictions, and 2) allow dual rear wheel trucks, many of which can be used for legitimate personal hauling (such as hauling trailers, campers, etc.). We’re still interested in hearing feedback on these ideas, if people have concerns or know of vehicles that might be used for personal use but might still fall under these restrictions. Please let me know!!

The following items are on the meeting agenda tomorrow:

1) CONSENT AGENDA – two items are scheduled for the consent agenda:
1) Conditional approval of a variance for a brick retaining wall at 3705 Marlbrough Way in College Park Woods. After the long history of this item I described last week, this is to approve a small front-yard brick retaining wall at this property that was initially approved in error by the City as part of a larger wall. After two reviews by the Advisory Planning Commission, the property owner scaled the wall back to just a small brick retaining wall, and the APC determined that this met the criteria that the Prince George’s County Circuit Court said that the City should use. No one has called the APC’s decision up for review, so this is on the consent agenda without a full hearing by the Council.

2) Approval of two requests for field use by the Boys & Girls Club, at Duvall Field and the Calvert Hills Playground Field. The Boys & Girls uses at least a portion of Duvall Field on evenings and weekends during much of the spring and summer for practice. Under the City’s rules for field use, the Boys & Girls Club has priority when granting permission for use of these fields. The B&G Club has submitted an application to use the fieldsfrom March through July 2011, Monday through Thursday 5-10:15 pm, Friday 5-10:30 pm, and Saturday 9 am through 10:30 pm. The Club has also requested to use the Calvert Hills Playground Monday through Friday 5 pm until dark and Saturday 9 am until dark.

2) CONSIDERATION OF REQUEST BY THE MARYLAND STINGERS RUGBY CLUB FOR USE OF DUVALL FIELD – The Maryland Stingers have in the past used a portion of Duvall Field Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:30-9:30 pm, and have requested this use again. The Stingers have assisted and supported the Boys & Girls Club, and their use of the field is compatible with the Club’s use. The City Recreation Board recommended we continue to let the Stingers use the fields free of charge as they have in the past. Councilmember Nagle asked to bring this off the consent agenda so the Council could discuss whether to continue granting free use of the facilities to the Stingers. The City’s policy on use of recreational facilities allows these fees to be waived when a majority of the people in the Club come from the City. I asked to make sure that we invite a representative of the Stingers to discuss their membership and the things that they do for the City, and whether we should continue allowing them to use the fields for free.

3) CONSIDERATION OF ORDINANCE AMENDING RESTRICTIONS ON COMMERCIAL VEHICLES ON RESIDENTIAL STREETS TO ALLOW PARKING OF VEHICLES WITH COMMERCIAL LETTERING AND DUAL REAR-WHEEL VEHICLES. The Council will vote tomorrow night on the amendment to the commercial vehicle ordinance discussed above.

4) RESOLUTION TO APPROVE $8,150,000 TAX-EXEMPT PARKING GARAGE BOND OF 2011 WITH SUNTRUST BANK. The City Council will be considering permanent financing of the downtown parking garage. The City initially funded the construction of this garage with Bond Anticipation Notes, a portion of which (used to build the garage itself) were tax-exempt and a portion of which (used to construct the retail space) are taxable. The City’s financial advisor has been soliciting permanent financing to replace the BAN’s, and the City received 5 responsive proposals by the February 7, 2011 due date. The proposal from SunTrust Bank includes a tax-exempt interest rate 1/2% to 1% lower than all other quotes the City received. The proposal includes: 1) 20-year financing for the bonds at a a 3.68% interest rate for the tax-exempt bonds; 2) upfront fees (similar to “points” when obtaining a mortgage) of $8,000; 3) the bonds would be “callable,” meaning that the City could refinance them at any time if interest rates decrease; 4) a 10-year “put,” meaning that, after 10 years, the bank could change the interest rate or require that the bond be paid off, with 90 days notice to allow the City to obtain replacement financing.

5) RESOLUTION TO PAY OFF THE TAXABLE PORTION OF THE FINANCING OF THE DOWNTOWN PARKING GARAGE. The City’s financial advisor has determined that we can structure the financing of the downtown parking garage so that only $475,000 is taxable. Because the City would be paying more in interest on these bonds than it would be receiving in interest if we hold on to the funds until we pay off the bonds, our financial advisor has recommended that we pay off the taxable portion of the bonds with funds from our reserves. This resolution would do that.

6) RESOLUTION TO PAY OFF THE REMAINDER OF THE BANK OF AMERICA CITY HALL DEVELOPMENT REFUNDING NOTE OF 2000 IN THE AMOUNT OF $160,000. In the year 2000, the City took out a $600,000, 13-year note for permanent financing of the City Hall renovation that took place in 1997. The tax-exempt interest rate on this project was 6.18%, and we have $160,000 left to pay off the note. Since we have some money left in our reserves that only pulls in about a 1% interest rate for the City, it would make sense to use this money to pay off the debt. The City will be considering this course of action on Tuesday.

7) RESOLUTION TO CLARIFY PROVISIONS FOR REMOVAL OF THE STUDENT LIAISON. At our worksession last week, the Council had a discussion with SGA president Steve Glickman about the removal process for student liaisons. Mr. Glickman thought our current procedure – recommending that the Council make a referral for removal to the SGA for them to decide – was appropriate, but said that ultimate removal would require a 2/3 vote of the SGA “legislature,” a clarification of what we had before, which just said a 2/3 vote of the SGA. We’re making this modest change to our ordinance establishing the student liaison position to state that the SGA legislature should decide.

8) AWARD OF CONTRACTS FOR HEALTH INSURANCE, DENTAL INSURANCE, WORKER’S COMPENSATION INSURANCE, AND LIABILITY INSURANCE. Based on its work with a broker, the City HR and finance staff has made the following recommendations regarding our insurance contracts for next year: 1) Health insurance – remaining with CareFirst, which has offered renewal of its health insurance contract with no increase in premiums. The broker looked at a number of options and determined that this would be the cheapest. 2) Dental Insurance – remaining with the current plans through DentaQuest and MetLife. MetLife has offered to continue its plan with no increases, while DentaQuest is increasing its premiums by $600/year. The broker found these to be the cheapest options. 3) Workers Compensation Insurance – remaining with the Injured Workers Insurance Fund, which has offered a 6% increase in premiums next year due to the City’s claims history and state mandated increases. The broker was not able to find a lower premium. 4) Liability insurance – Remaining with the Local Government Insurance Trust (LGIT). Firm premium quotes are not available until May, but LGIT has advised that we budget a 10% premium increase. Due to our history with LGIT, staff recommends staying with them.

9) APPROVAL OF A MARYLAND HERITAGE AREAS AUTHORITY FY 2012 GRANT APPLICATION. City staff has proposed to apply for a $66,000 grant to support establishment of a pilot bike-sharing program around the City. Looking for resources to support bike-sharing has been a part of the City’s action plan over the past year, and we attempted to get resources through two consecutive TIGER (transportation infrastructure grants) from the federal government, through the Council of Governments, but these were unsuccessful. The Maryland Heritage Areas Authority grant is intended to support cultural and historical projects around a specific theme (this year, the bicentennial of the War of 1812), but the staff consulted with MHAA about this project, and they suggested we submit a grant proposal. The grant requires 1-for-1 matching funds, which the City would get through developer contributions and through money already set aside for this project, as well as in-kind support from the City’s work installing the bike stations. The grant would support three bike-sharing stations around the City, and the staff has suggested bike stations downtown, at the College Park Metro, and at the Hollywood Commercial District. I would also like to see stations at the Greenbelt Metro, but that may have to come later. The bike stations would be compatible with other bike stations around the D.C. Metro area.

10. LETTER TO THE MARYLAND DEPARTMENT OF THE ENVIRONMENT EXPRESSING CONCERNS ABOUT THE PERMIT APPLICATION FOR RESTORATION/RELOCATION OF NARRAGANSETT RUN NEAR THE GREENBELT METRO STATION. I discussed the history of this project last week – this relates to the proposed new developments around the Greenbelt Metro station, which have stalled due to the economy. The developer has proposed shifting the location of the Narragansett Run on the opposite side of the Green line Metro tracks from us. The letter that the staff drafted with Council input reflects two concerns: 1) the overall environmental impact of this project. The City of Greenbelt retained a stormwater management consultant, who laid out a number of concerns about the impact that this project would have, which the consultant did not feel were adequately addressed in the proposal. These concerns must be addressed. 2) the impact of this project on stormwater drainage in north College Park. Because the project, as proposed, would involve a large number of switchbacks, presumably intended to slow the flow of the river, I have a lot of concerns about how this would impact stormwater drainage in north College Park. Before we could support any project like this, I would want assurance that the project would not have any significant impact on stormwater drainage.

11. APPOINTMENTS TO BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS. Thanks to north College Park resident (and former City Councilmember) Dave Milligan for his continued service on the Citizens Corps Council. Thanks also to Adele Ellis and Jay Gilchrist, who my colleagues have decided to reappoint to the Recreation Board.

As always, thanks for reading, and let me know if you have any comments, questions, or concerns!

Patrick

Council Worksession – February 15, 2011

February 17, 2011

We have a lot on the agenda for Tuesday night’s worksession, and many of these are important issues. Please let me know if you have any questions or suggestions on these items:

1. PROPOSED CONSENT AGENDA. Items for the proposed consent agenda include:
1) Conditional approval of a variance for a brick retaining wall at 3705 Marlbrough Way in College Park Woods. This variance request, for a front yard wall, has a long history – it went first before the Council in 2007, after the homeowner built a wall that was improperly granted a permit by the City but then also improperly built in the City right-of-way. After the City denied the variance request, the applicant appealed the process to the Prince George’s County Circuit Court, which remanded the application back to the City’s Advisory Planning Commission for reconsideration under a different standard. At this point, the applicant has torn down the original wall, and left standing only a smaller wall that is no longer in the City right-of-way, and is apparently necessary based on some fill and grading that the applicant did. The APC considered the variance based on the new standard that the Circuit Court required, and approved the variance conditionally, to keep the wall as currently constructed. No Councilmember has objected or called it up for review.

2) Approval of two requests for field use by the Boys & Girls Club, at Duvall Field and the Calvert Hills Playground Field. The Boys & Girls uses at least a portion of Duvall Field on evenings and weekends during much of the spring and summer for practice. Under the City’s rules for field use, the Boys & Girls Club has priority when granting permission for use of these fields. The B&G Club has submitted an application to use the fieldsfrom March through July 2011, Monday through Thursday 5-10:15 pm, Friday 5-10:30 pm, and Saturday 9 am through 10:30 pm. The Club has also requested to use the Calvert Hills Playground Monday through Friday 5 pm until dark and Saturday 9 am until dark.

3) A request for use of the Calvert Hills Playground Field by the Boys & Girls Club. The Maryland Stingers have in the past used a portion of Duvall Field Tuesday and Thursday evenings from 7:30-9:30 pm, and have requested this use again. The Stingers have assisted and supported the Boys & Girls Club, and their use of the field is compatible with the Club’s use.

2. PRESENTATION BY THE UNIVERSITY OF MARYLAND REGARDING UPDATE OF INITIAL CONCEPTS IN THE FACILITIES MASTER PLAN. The University of Maryland is currently updating its Facilities Master Plan, and will be presenting the initial concepts of this update to the Council on Tuesday night. The facilities master plan guides the growth of University of Maryland facilities, and is meant to ensure that the buildings and infrastructure at the University of Maryland will be sufficient to serve the students, faculty and staff. Click here for more information.

3. PERMANENT FINANCING FOR THE DOWNTOWN PARKING GARAGE. The City initially funded the construction of its downtown parking garage with Bond Anticipation Notes, a portion of which (used to build the garage itself) were tax-exempt and a portion of which (used to construct the retail space) are taxable. The maturity date of the bonds was extended to February 28, 2011, and the City’s financial advisor has been soliciting permanent financing to replace the BAN’s. The City received 5 responsive proposals by the February 7, 2011 due date, and the financial advisor is recommending a proposal from SunTrust Bank, with a tax-exempt interest rate 1/2% to 1% lower than all other quotes. The proposal includes 20-year financing for the bonds at a a 3.68% interest rate for the tax-exempt bonds and a 5.61% interest rate for the taxable bonds, with upfront fees (similar to “points” when obtaining a mortgage) of $8,000 for the tax-exempt bond and $500 for the taxable bond. The bonds would be “callable,” meaning that the City could refinance them at any time if interest rates decrease. The bonds also have a 10-year “put,” meaning that, after 10 years, the bank could change the interest rate or require that the bond be paid off, with 90 days notice to allow the City to obtain replacement financing. Because the amount of the taxable bond is only $475,000, the City’s financial advisor is recommending paying that off now if possible. If we do this, the annual financing for the bond will be $560,000.

4. DISCUSSION WITH STEVE GLICKMAN, SGA PRESIDENT, ABOUT THE PROVISION IN THE STUDENT LIAISON CODE REGARDING REMOVAL OF THE STUDENT LIAISON. The Council recently reviewed the City Council liaison position, and passed a new ordinance officially establishing a deputy liaison position and establishing rules regarding liaison attendance at executive sessions. The Council left in a provision stating that the Council may recommend removal of a student liaison, which is ultimately decided upon by the Student Government Association. We have invited SGA president Steve Glickman to discuss this procedure.

5. DISCUSSION OF A PROPERTY USE AGREEMENT AND CONSIDERATION OF SUPPORT FOR THE LIQUOR LICENSE OF THE BARKING DOG (7416 BALTIMORE AVE. – FORMER LOCATION OF THE THIRSTY TURTLE). The Barking Dog, a small chain of restaurants with another location in Bethesda, has obtained a lease with the owner of the former Thirsty Turtle location to set up a restaurant and bar there, and is now applying for a liquor license. As is customary when an establishment applies for a liquor license, the City must decide whether to support the liquor license application, and the Council typically agrees to do so if the owner signs a Property Use Agreement (PUA). The PUA usually sets out requirements regarding alcohol to food sales ratios, minimum prices for drinks, types of entertainment that may be offered at the venue, and rules for sales of pitchers and hours of operation. In this case, the Barking Dog is willing to agree to a 50/50 sales ratio. The applicant has agreed to a security plan – now a requirement under state law – which includes ID scanning, security guards for certain activities, and a security camera system. The security plan must be reviewed by County police and the Board of Licensing Commissioners, and the PUA includes a provision that it must be reviewed by the University police as well. The applicant has also agreed not to support or sponsor drinking games, which commonly occurred at the Thirsty Turtle, but has asked to be allowed to sell pitchers, but not as significantly discounted rates. It seems to me that these extra security measures, and consistent monitoring by the police and the BOLC, will help prevent the problems that occurred at the Thirsty Turtle with underage drinking and fights between students. Also, the Barking Dog is a restaurant with a history of activity in Bethesda, and has never had a noise violation or underage drinking violation at its other locations.

6. RECOMMENDATIONS FOR RENEWAL OF HEALTH, WORKERS’ COMPENSATION AND LIABILITY INSURANCE CONTRACTS. The City is reviewing its insurance contracts for the next fiscal year, and used a broker and staff research to come up with proposals that the staff believes are the best options available for health insurance, workers’ compensation and liability insurance. 1) Health insurance – the City received a proposal from CareFirst for renewal of its health insurance contract with no increase in premiums, and was unable to receive other quotes due to CareFirst’s decision not to increase. The City also contacted the County staff to look into signing up for its plan, but realized that their premiums are slightly higher. The City staff also looked into joining the Local Government Insurance Trust’s (LGIT’s) new self-insurance cooperative, but this has only been in operation for a year and only has one member at this time, so the staff recommended making sure that the cooperative is viable in the long run before signing up. 2) Dental Insurance – the City has plans through DentaQuest and MetLife, and MetLife has offered to continue its plan with no increases, while DentaQuest is increasing its premiums by $600/year. Staff recommended keeping what we have. 3) Workers Compensation Insurance – The workers compensation premiums (through the Injured Workers Insurance Fund) will increase 6% next year due to the City’s claims history and state mandated increases, but the broker was not able to find a lower premium, so staff recommended continuing with the same carrier. 4) Liability insurance – The City obtains liability insurance through LGIT, and firm premium quotes are not available until May, but LGIT has advised that we budget a 10% premium increase. Due to our history with LGIT, staff recommends staying with them.

7. DISCUSSION OF EMERGENCY MANAGEMENT PLAN. The City is undergoing the first major update of its Emergency Operations Plan since the Plan was first developed in preparation for Y2K contingencies. This will address the City’s role in handling emergency preparation and response for incidents such as hazmat spills, major fires, terrorist attack, and large-scale vehicle crashes. The City’s EOP is intended to work with the County and University EOP’s – the City has a significant role in communicating with residents about emergency plans and coordinating local efforts, but since the County and University have more resources, much of the preparation and response work is carried out by them. County and University managers have reviewed the City’s draft plan. I still have some questions about how the County and University plans are intended to interface with the City’s – for example, how the City will receive communications from the County and the University, how the County and the University will coordinate, and the ongoing role that the City, County and University are engaged in to train and prepare for emergency situations. Although the Emergency Operations Plan itself is confidential, due to the sensitive nature of some of the information regarding response to terrorist threats, etc., I’m happy to respond to whatever questions I can.

8. DISCUSSION OF COST-FREE PUBLIC SPACE TRASH AND RECYCLING PROGRAM. Two companies have contacted the City in the past few months to offer cost-free public space recycling bins. These are no-cost operations that would be controlled by the City of College Park and managed by the vendor. The City would select the design, and the bins would have two or three containers – one for trash and one or two for recycling – with advertising panels. Bins would be inspected weekly by the vendor and replaced at no cost when damaged. Although the vendor offers weekly collection, the City could conduct daily collection and receive a portion of the proceeds from advertising – this may be the best option, since weekly collection is not enough at many of our trash bin locations. The City currently conducts daily collection at our public trash bins. Local small business owners would be given the opportunity to sponsor a Recycling Station, and a portion of the revenue would be shared with the City. A portion of the advertising space would also be offered to the City at no cost. To me, this seems like a good way to expand recycling in the City at minimal cost.

9. PROPOSED MARYLAND HERITAGE AREAS AUTHORITY APPLICATION. Applications for the Maryland Heritage Areas Authority grant program are due on March 4, 2011. Grants of up to $100,000 for capital projects and up to $50,000 for non-capital projects are available, and all grants require a dollar-for-dollar match. Projects must address priority activities outlined in the Certified Heritage Area Management Plan – for this year, the priority is commemoration of the Bicentennial of the War of 1812. The City staff has proposed requesting grant funds in the amount of $66,000 to initiate a pilot bikeshare program for the City that would build on the existing Capital Bikeshare program existing in Virginia and the District of Columbia. The City could piggyback on the Arlington contract for bikesharing, which would allow us to install three small stations with four bicycles and seven docks at each for $136,000. The staff is proposing to put bike stations downtown, at the College Park Metro, and in the Hollywood Commercial District. Matching funds of $66,000 would come from developer contributions ($10,000 from the Varsity project and $31,000 from the Domain project) and the City’s FY 11 Operating Budget ($25,000, which was already set aside as matching funds for the TIGER II grant request, which we did not receive). The remaining $4,000 would come from an in-kind match, which I believe would consist of the City’s efforts in installing the bike stations. I’ve been hoping to initiate bike-sharing in College Park for a while – I think that, with the number of students in our community, this would help enable more people to commute by bike, and I’d be excited to have one of the first bike-sharing stations in Maryland in the Hollywood Commercial District. The University is also looking at bike-sharing opportunities, and this has been discussed as part of the University’s Facilities Master Plan, so after we pursue this initial plan, we can work with the University and look at ways to expand the program.

10. APPLICATION BY METROLAND DEVELOPERS FOR JOINT FEDERAL/STATE APPROVAL OF WETLANDS ALTERATION AT GREENBELT METRO SITE. Metroland Developers, which a few years ago submitted a conceptual site plan for the North Core of the Greenbelt Station development, submitted, in 2008, an application to shift Narragansett Run, the creek that runs through North College Park along Narragansett Parkway, in its location east of the Green Line Metro tracks, to make room for the development. For obvious reasons, including the severe stormwater drainage problems existing in north College Park, residents have been concerned about the impact that this would have in our neighborhood. Because of the economy, the Greenbelt Station project has been dormant for a couple years, and the Maryland Department of the Environment (MDE) this year threatened to close out the application if the developer didn’t take further action on it. As a result, the developer is now asking it to move forward. The City of Greenbelt learned about this and sent a letter against the proposal last month, but the City of College Park only learned of it recently, thanks to former Councilmember John Krouse reading an article about it in the Greenbelt News-Review. Although the time for comment expired at the end of January, Councilmember Nagle and I requested extension of the time for comment on this proposal, and with the help of Delegate Joseline Pena-Melnyk, MDE agreed to extend the time for comment. No development proposal is going forward at this time, though, and the request may be premature. The City of Greenbelt opposed the application, though, after it hired a consultant to review the proposal and recommend certain remedial measures that the developers would have to take to make sure that this action could be taken without damage to the watershed. Many of these proposed remedial measures are not in the application permit. Also, after reviewing the permit application, I’ve seen what the developer proposes to do – essentially, make the creek a lot more windy through the new development. I don’t understand why they want to do this, but I do know that making the creek more windy may slow down the water drainage. I think we should oppose this, at least until both: 1) the developer can demonstrate without a doubt that the proposed change to the path of Narragansett Run will have NO impact on the flow of the lake that would cause increased stormwater drainage problems in North College Park, and 2) the other remedial measures recommended by Greenbelt’s consultant are addressed.

Please let me know if you have any questions about this.

11. DISCUSSION OF PROPOSED NEW MODEL ETHICS PROVISIONS FOR LOCAL GOVERNMENTS BY THE STATE ETHICS COMMISSION. The State Ethics Commission has recently proposed new model ethics rules, and the Council will be reviewing these and looking at how we need to revise our ethics rules. The State has to approve municipal ethics rules, so the City may have to revise its rules accordingly. We’ll be receiving more information on this Tuesday night, so I’ll keep you posted of any changes.

12. LEGISLATIVE UPDATE. We will be receiving more information on the City’s legislative priorities, and proposed bills that we might wish to take a stance on, Tuesday night.

13. REPORT ON THE FEBRUARY 7 COLLEGE PARK CITY-UNIVERSITY PARTNERSHIP MEETING. The City Council recently requested that we receive a report on the College Park City-University Partnership activities after every meeting. The CPCUP had a meeting last Monday night, so we’ll be receiving a report of its recent activities.

14. APPOINTMENTS TO BOARDS AND COMMITTEES. There are vacancies for District 1 residents in the following committees: Animal Welfare Committee, Cable Television Commission, Citizen Corps Council, Committee for a Better Environment, Education Advisory Committee, and the Veterans Memorial Improvement Committee.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you have any comments, suggestions, or questions.

Patrick

Council Worksession – January 18, 2011

January 18, 2011

I hope you all enjoyed your weekend! Dave and I went to Pittsburgh, so unfortunately I missed the Martin Luther King celebration on Saturday, but I hope some of you were able to make it!

We’re back to our regular 8 pm worksession time tomorrow night, although we still have a pretty full agenda. Here’s what we’ll be discussing:

1. PROPOSED CONSENT AGENDA – we have two items up tomorrow night which shouldn’t need any discussion: 1) Approval of a policy for rental of city holidays on Sundays and holidays. The City has established rental policies allowing residents to rent the Parish House and Davis Hall on weekdays and Saturdays, for a certain cost, and for some organizations to rent them for free. Unfortunately, on Sundays and holidays, there are not always people available to open up the buildings and ensure that renters take proper care of the property and that there are no security concerns. Therefore, staff has proposed that the Council set a policy that the Old Parish House will only be available on Sundays and holidays when the caretaker of the Parish House is available to open the building, and that Davis Hall will not be available for rentals on Sundays and holidays. 2) Change of responsible person for the liquor license for the University of Maryland University Center. The Inn and Conference Center at UMUC is currently under the stewardship of Jean Bielefeldt, the University’s Associate Vice-President of Human Resources, to Mary Harmon, Assistant Provost of Administration and Finance.

2. REVIEW OF DETAILED SITE PLAN FOR DOMAIN COLLEGE PARK, ANNEXATION AGREEMENT FOR PROPERTY, AND AMENDMENT TO DECLARATION OF COVENANTS AND AGREEMENT REGARDING LAND USE. The Council has discussed this proposed development, a proposed market-rate rental housing and retail development on the corner of Mowatt Lane and Campus Drive, for the past couple of weeks. The Council worked out an agreement with the developer to reduce the amount of money the developer would put toward a bike-share station on the property, and will now be requiring a $31,000 investment into a 4-bike, 7-dock bike-share station, which the developer has agreed to. The staff has now, however, asked that the Council review a set of proposed amendments to the Declaration of Covenants, a set of terms that the developer has agreed to in order to receive the City’s support for the project. These amendments would require that the developer take certain steps to help ensure that the project is designed for professional and graduate-student housing instead of undergraduate student housing, such as ensuring that the units are mostly one-bedroom, ensuring that the developer rents the apartments out as whole apartments instead of renting out beds, and enforcing an occupancy limit of no more than two adults per bedroom. The amendments also ensure that the public has access to one of the recreational facilities that the developer will be providing, and ensure that, if the developer sells the property to a non-taxable entity (such as the University itself), the developer must ensure that the new owner makes a payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) to the City in perpetuity. I believe the developer is agreeable to these conditions, and I feel that the conditions make sense to help ensure that the development is, as promised, a high-quality development marketed to young professionals and graduate students.

3. REVIEW OF DETAILED SITE PLAN FOR THE CHINESE BIBLE CHURCH. The Chinese Bible Church, located off Autoville Drive about 500 feet south of Chery Hill Drive, just northwest of the Mazza development, has long had an expansion in the works. This expansion would not increase the size of the sanctuary or increase the number of people in attendance at the church, but it would allow the Church to increase its classroom, office space, and parking spaces. The expansion has a long and complicated history. The City Council has already reviewed the proposed detailed site plan for the project, but the County erroneously told the Church that it could withdraw its detailed site plan because it wasn’t part of the Route 1 sector plan, so it withdrew the DSP. Unfortunately, the Church did have to submit a DSP, because it was part of a sector plan at the time when it initially submitted the DSP – so the County now has to review the DSP. The Church has been working closely with Autoville and Cherry Hill residents in developing a quality addition, addressing environmental concerns, and taking care of the needs of neighboring residents. Therefore, the City only has a few minor concerns about the project, mostly relating to enclosing a new dumpster at the church, adding new plantings to buffer the parking lot, and making minor changes to the architecture. Hopefully we can reach an agreement with the Church so that the Church can move forward without any difficulty.

4. REVIEW OF PROPOSED AMENDMENT TO 10-O-09, DEFINITION OF PROHIBITED VEHICLES. I sent an e-mail about this earlier this evening – this relates to the City’s prohibitions on parking commercial vehicles overnight on residential streets. The code currently prohibits the following vehicles from being parked overnight on City streets:

–any vehicle exceeding 21 feet in length or six feet in width that is used for commercial purposes;
–any vehicle exceeding a manufacturer’s gross vehicle weight specification of 8,500 pounds;
–vehicles containing advertising other than a firm name or similar designation less than 4 inches high;
–vehicles exceeding 300 cubic feet of load space; and
–any stake platform trucks, dump trucks, crane or tow trucks, or vehicles with dual rear wheels.

We’re now considering how to tweak these rules, given that some residents have received citation notices for vehicles that they need to drive back and forth to work every day and that they have used for years without citation. The current proposal on the table is to keep all the restrictions mentioned above, but to lift the restriction on commercial lettering. Please let me know if you have any input or questions on this.

5. ANNUAL LIQUOR LICENSE RENEWALS. Every year, the City reviews the activity of all liquor license holders in the City to see if they’ve maintained compliance with the liquor laws (that is, not gotten cited for violations of the underage drinking laws, the noise ordinances, etc.) to determine if we should challenge renewal of the license. In the past, the City Council has objected to renewal of some liquor licenses, such as the Terrapin Station due to its violation of underage drinking laws, and College Perk due to its refusal to allow inspection of the property by code inspectors. This year, there seems to be little reason to challenge any of the liquor license holders – the biggest problem was the Thirsty Turtle, which is now closed. None of the liquor license holders have ongoing code violations – some faced minor code citations, but they were corrected. Only Alario’s has an ongoing problem regarding a violation of the requirement that the liquor license holder reside in the County – and the Board of Licensing Commissioners is currently investigating this issue. Another problem is that V.F.W. Post 5627 does not have its required Health Department Permit – I do have some questions about this and whether the V.F.W. Post has worked to come into compliance. Otherwise, I see no reason to challenge any of the current liquor licenses.

6. FY 2012 BUDGET GUIDANCE. We have received preliminary numbers for the FY 2012 budget and a proposed budget calendar. We are still awaiting the assessment summary for some of the City’s reassessed properties, but some of the money lost through decreased assessments will be made up by the new residential properties coming online (such as the Varsity and Starview Plaza properties). We will also be getting some money from the Ledo Restaurant Lease. All together, staff currently predicts additional revenue of about $350,000. The City Manager has proposed limiting increased expenditures to 1% of their current amount. There will be no Cost of Living Adjustment for employees in FY 2012, but we will have to start paying off the debt for the new parking garage.

City Council wish lists and other budget requests will need to be in by February 11. Due to the minimal increased expenditure, I will limit my wish list requests this year. One thing I would like the staff to look into, though, is a possible grants manager for the City. I believe that this is a position that could pay for itself and help us take advantage of grant opportunities to improve our stormwater management as a City or, like the cities of Bowie and University Park are doing, to offer residents low-cost ways to make their homes more energy-efficient. I would like the staff to see if there is money available in our budget for such a position.

The City Manager’s draft budget will be available online and distributed to Mayor and Council on Thursday, March 31, and there will be two budget worksessions on Saturday, April 9 and Saturday, April 16, both at 7:30 am. The budget ordinance will be introduced on Tuesday, April 26, and the public hearing will be held Tuesday, May 10, for the budget to be adopted on Tuesday, May 24. Please let me know if you have any questions.

7. APPOINTMENT OF MEMBERS TO THE REDISTRICTING COMMISSION. Once the final numbers are available from the Census Bureau, the City will be redistricting Councilmember districts for the 2011 municipal election. A redistricting commission will be developing three redistricting proposals for the Council to consider. Councilmember Nagle and I have asked, respectively, north College Park residents Tim Miller and John Krouse to participate in this commission. Thank you to Tim and John for their service!

8. APPOINTMENTS TO BOARDS AND COMMITTEES. There are vacancies available for District 1 residents on the following boards and committees – the Airport Authority, the Animal Control Board, the Animal Welfare Committee, the Cable Television Commission, the Committee for a Better Environment, the Education Advisory Committee, and the Veterans Memorial Improvement Committee. Please let me know if you’re interested or if you have any questions about any of these.

Thanks for reading! Please let me know if you have any questions or comments.

Patrick