Where I Stand

Looking forward, many issues – some truly serious confront the City of Takoma Park and Ward 6. There is a lot on our plate. Here are the principal ones.

I urge your attention to these matters.

Municipal Tax Duplication       

A topic that has stood over the City’s head for 20 years, things are getting stickier with our friends in Montgomery County. A recent OLO Report (Office of Legislative Oversight) commissioned by the County Council makes recommendations that, if implemented, would significantly reduce the amount of rebated property tax the County gives to us, without lowering our taxes. Takoma Park has made the case that we are already receiving less than our fair share.

What is Municipal Tax Duplication? It means we as tax payers are paying twice for certain municipal services the City provides. Under County law, it is supposed to pay the City money for the cost of certain services that the County would otherwise have to pay for if the City didn’t provide such services. These include police, recreation, library and road maintenance. As taxpayers we pay property taxes to the County. By all rights, the City needs to be fully reimbursed for the relief the County gets by not having to provide certain services. But, the County does not, so we are effectively over-taxed (paying twice) for these services.

Takoma Park is not alone in the County on this issue. There remain clear disagreements between the County and municipalities. The potential loss of revenue would seriously disrupt basic Takoma Park services. The good news is that constructive conversations are going on right now between the City and the County. 

Purple Line Funding

The federal government will make a decision in late 2013 about the State of Maryland’s application for partial Federal funding (about 50%) of this $2.2 billion project. There’s a reasonable chance this will happen. If it does, the City needs to focus on both the good and negative impacts on the City, and the Long Branch and Langley Park neighborhoods. It is important both to assure that construction disruption and economic dislocation are mitigated. Equally, it's important that planned mixed-use development of the old, underdeveloped commercial properties occurs sooner rather than later.

Washington Adventist Hospital (WAH)

The hospital submitted on October 4 its Certificate of Need (CON) application to the Maryland Health Care Commission which will decide whether WAH gets to relocate to White Oak or not. The Commission will also decide on how WAH would continue to use its existing Takoma Park campus for medical services. City Council members, including myself, have been meeting monthly with the president of the hospital during the past year to try to make sure that the plans will optimize outcomes to the City’s benefit.

Other Issues 

Other issues include the construction of Erskine Street traffic calming and sidewalk; relocation of the Crossroads Farmers Market; getting community input on the NH Ave Multi-way Boulevard Concept Plan; concerns over the County’s tentative plans for Bus Rapid Transit on NH Avenue; and solving the problem of too many vacant and deteriorated properties here and across the City.