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November 21st, 7:30pm-11ish

Hi Ward One Residents and those who are otherwise invested,

Last Wednesday was my first full length council meeting. The previous one on Monday, November 21st, was a short meeting thanking members who were moving on for their service and swearing in new members. I really appreciate family, friends, and community members who came out in support of myself and others.

The link for the agenda for this meeting is:

If you'd prefer to watch or listen to the meeting:

I’m clearly very new to this City Council gig and I’m not one for sports (or even sports metaphors), but this past meeting very much felt like one where the more experienced members of the City Council and City Staff took all of that into consideration and tossed me very slow pitches with all of the encouragement one gives to a councilwoman stepping up to bat for the first time.

Item 1: Presentation of Annual Comprehensive Financial Report and Audit (PDF)

The City Council heard a presentation from the City’s auditors, Barbacane Thornton & Company LLP given by Timothy Sawyer. The auditors “issued unmodified (“clean”) audit opinions” and found “Management was helpful and forthcoming throughout the audit.” My takeaway is that the auditors found our City to be trustworthy in showing that money is being spent with a paper trail showing it has been spent appropriately and that the auditing firm finds the City to be saving a prudent amount.

Item 2: Presentation of Police Retirement Plan Actuarial Valuation (PDF)

The City Council heard a presentation from Bolton Retirement, the City’s actuary. The presentation was made by Tom Vicente, FSA, EA Senior Consulting Actuary. Each year, the City Council receives an annual report on the pension plan for the Takoma Park Police with includes the financial health of the plan and the recommended level of funding.

Item 3: Economic Development Update (PDF)

It is always exciting for me to hear from the leaders in our business community what’s going on in their parts of Takoma Park. All three business associations were very positive with some issues that require creative solutions.

Amy (I didn’t get her last name) is working on pedestrian safety and connecting with more of the businesses in the Long Branch Business League. Old Town Takoma Business Association’s Laura Barclay is unable to accommodate all of the businesses looking for space in the OTBA storefronts. Kayleigh De La Puenta of Takoma/Langley Crossroads Development Authority is seeing an strong need for public outdoor space to accommodate vendors, outdoor eating, and events.

Item 4:Resolution Setting forth the Dates of the City Council Holiday Recess (PDF) Our last item for the (somewhat late) evening was to set the date for our recess and return. The next meeting will be on Wednesday, December 7th with the D20 team, our delegates who represent us in the Maryland legislature. On Monday, December 12, we will meet with the City’s attorney who will advise on dos and don’ts, like not using our personal cell phones for City business. We are to return on January 11th, 2023. With 4 new council members and a new mayor, there will be lots of reading and getting to know each other, our constituents, and the budget, between now and then. I have solid plans to get together with most members and plans that need to be tightened up with the others. After I understand the legalities and protocols of talking to City staff I will make plans for talking with them. The Council did informally consider getting back in session on the 4th of January, but heading into the holiday season and the work that City employees must do to make a meeting happen, it is not feasible to meet before the 11th.

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