This week we have two City Council meetings, one Monday night (including a closed session) and one Wednesday night.
MONDAY, APRIL 17, 2023
6:30 (Closed)–The City Council will vote to convene in closed session at 6:30 PM on Monday, to receive a briefing on Council safety protocols and emergency plans.
7:30 PM–BUDGET WORK SESSION
We will hear from the City Manager, Communications, City Clerk, Human Resources, Finance, Information Systems.
We were first provided the proposed budget Wednesday the 12th (View the Proposed FY 2024 Budget (PDF)). This will be our first chance to ask questions about the City Manager’s proposed budget. Going into this meeting, I am struck by two implied goals from our financial sustainability analysis: 1. (Slide 6) Provide the level of service that your community expects while ensuring that your General Fund is financially sustainable into the future and 2. The primary measure of financial sustainability is unassigned fund balance. https://documents.takomaparkmd.gov/government/city-council/agendas/2023/supplemental-documents/financial-sustainability-anaysis-2023-04-03-corrected.pdf
That is the balance that we are trying to find; how to provide a level of service that the Takoma Park community expects within a responsible level of taxation while adding to our unassigned fund reserve. With the City Manager’s proposed increase of taxation, if we fully fund all of our Capital Improvement Program, we are headed for a future where we will be forced to take out loans to fund our city and will cease putting money into our reserve. It seems there needs to be some reduction in our CIP.
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 19
6:30 PM Presentation-Mental Health Crisis Counselors Pilot Program and Memorandum of Understanding with Montgomery County Department of Health and Human Services Public Hearing
The City has long been working to have mental health crisis counselors that will work alongside our police department. These counselors will primarily be dispatched with the police to help our community members that are having mental health issues. These counselors will help with the continuity of care for community members in a way that the police officers are not qualified to do. The program is supposed to be initiated with ARPA money and then continued through funding by Montgomery County. Questions have been asked about who will be paying for these employees’ vehicles, cellphones, etc. I am hoping this presentation will include that in what the MOU is, but will ask those questions if it doesn’t.
7:30 PM - Proposed FY24 Budget
Voting Session: - Single Reading Ordinance Authorizing Procurement of Five Police Vehicles
Of the seven vehicles the TPPD is looking to replace this year (5 in this ordinance): they range in miles from 91K-131K, they range in age from 5-9 years, their yearly maintenance cost ranged from $1,200 to $9,900, three have been in accidents, and all have degraded to “fair” condition. While the mileage may be less than you might consider necessary for the replacement of a personal vehicle, police vehicles receive more engine use than is measurable by odometers due to idle time from accident scenes and from frequent low speed operation. Both our officers and the public receive a benefit in safety from maintaining a current fleet. I will vote in favor of these replacements.
Budget Work Session: - Operations Budget and Capital Budget (Housing and Community Development, Police Department, Library, Public Works, Recreation)
We will continue to hear from departments within the City on their proposed budget items.