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Takoma Park approves contract for resident survey

  • Published in Local

The Takoma Park City Council has approved awarding a contract to have a resident survey done.

The last time the city held a resident survey was in 2007, 2009 and 2014. The contract would be given to National Research Center, Inc., who has done resident surveys for the city in the past.

There was no significant backlash, but many Council members had input to improve the survey taking form previous years.

“In the past I’ve voted against these surveys quite often because of my concerns that we’re getting the answers we want to hear and not the feelings of the community,” said Council member Terry Seamens.

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Thirty Days in the Hole!

Cappuccino topped with dry milk foamWoke up this morning feeling half past dead, with this silly rock lyric running through my head.
The mailman was early and gave me a shout about something I had no idea about.
Then the garbage man jumped in screaming “Make America Great Again.”
Finally I had my morning covfefe and started thinking in prose once more – though my rock rhyming lingered for a while, that’s for sure.
I switched on the radio – that ancient listening device – and caught Humble Pie’s “30 Days in The Hole.”
Then I felt at home.
Suddenly it all made sense. I wasn’t having a lucid dream. This is reality. In the year 2018 we are now officially through the looking glass.

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Takoma Park votes to condemn gun violence

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City council voted to condemn acts of gun violence and to support the planned March 24 national “March for Our Lives” demonstration in a 6-1 vote, Wednesday evening.

“As a council … I felt like we really needed to support our young people and wanted a lot of the voices we’re hearing standing up,” said Council member Kacy Kostiuk (Ward 3), who sponsored the resolution.

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Takoma Park union at odds over performance

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — With contract negotiations at a standstill, the employees at Takoma Park’s Public Works Department say the city’s pay-for-performance system is an obstacle in their union negotiations with the city.

“The public should know if the city employees are being paid fairly,” said David Burbank, president of American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees 3399. “The pay-for-performance system is a total misnomer … it’s a corporate-based pay system.”

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Chief says Takoma Park crime is declining

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — Highlighting the declining crime rate, Takoma Park police chief Antonio DeVaul delivered his first report as head of the city’s law enforcement agency Wednesday evening in front of the City Council.

“We’ve seen a slight decrease in reported crime over the last year,” DeVaul said during the meeting. “I’m pleased to announce that violent crime has decreased.”

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Facing staff shortages, Takoma Park discusses upcoming budget

  • Published in Local

Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK — With the upcoming budget season, some of Takoma Park’s department managers asserted at a priorities meeting on March 1 that current staff shortages limit the ability of municipal departments to carry out the objectives laid out by the City Council.

“Our workload exceeds our staff capacity by an amazing amount,” said Sarah Anne Daines, the city’s Housing and Community Development director. “There’s a lot of commitment in terms of staff, time and energy in making those efforts come to reality.”

As the City Council discussed its budget priorities for the 2018-19 fiscal year, several other department managers said they run programs with limited staff.

“We have a small city staff that does a great deal and their commitment to carrying out the Council’s priorities has been terrific,” Mayor Kate Stewart said. “With a small staff, it’s important to recognize the need to possibly add more staff.”

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Takoma Park considers abolishing inventory tax

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — The inventory tax could be abolished in Takoma Park to make the south county municipality a more attractive place for businesses.

“We have found, over the years, that we have a real hodgepodge of businesses paying this tax including the city has received tax from entities right outside the line but have a mailing address that says Takoma Park,” said City Manager Suzanne Ludlow. “We have a number of businesses in Takoma Park that have never paid or probably aren’t paying the right amount.”

Alternatively known as the personal property tax, it requires businesses in the city to pay a certain amount based on the full value of their physical assets including goods and furnishings.

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Gubernatorial candidates talk issues in Takoma Park

  • Published in State

39622882705 9d7f4463a1 kGubernatorial candidates gather in Takoma Park COURTESY PHOTO BY EDWARD M. KIMMEL TAKOMA PARK — Six of the eight Democrats hoping to replace incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R) made their case to voters Sunday evening at Piney Branch Elementary School, during a candidate forum hosted by Progressive Neighbors.

The candidates in attendance – former NAACP president Ben Jealous, Baltimore County Executive Kevin Kamenetz, State Senator Rich Madaleno, attorney Jim Shea and former Obama administration officials Alec Ross and Krishanti Vignarajah – took questions from a moderator, Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart, as well as County residents, with subjects ranging from immigration, racial equity, housing and economic development to their ability to defeat incumbent Gov. Larry Hogan (R). Prince George’s County Executive Rushern Baker and perennial candidate Ralph Jaffe did not attend.

While there was little disagreement on policy matters among the candidates, there was an overarching theme for the event, which Madaleno summed up during his opening statement when he declared: “We are trying to bring back smart Democratic governance to the state of Maryland.”

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Takoma Park votes to allow outdoor dining

  • Published in Local

Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council will vote Wednesday to approve an ordinance that will permit restaurants to establish outdoor seating areas on public sidewalks.

The proposed ordinance – which seven of the eight Council members supported during the first of two required votes last week – establishes a process by which restaurants, coffee shops, cafes and community kitchens can apply for permits that will allow them to set up outdoor dining areas on publicly-owned sidewalks within the city.

“I think this would be a great benefit to the community and to businesses to allow this,” said Council member Kacy Kostiuk (Ward 3) while speaking during the Council’s Jan. 24 work session. “I was really excited by some of the ideas and recommendations that were in this related to doing some kind of innovative things like closing streets to offer opportunities for more of a plaza feel.”

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Takoma Park nonprofit promotes healthy eating and organic enterprise

  • Published in Local

With a $20,000 grant from the City of Takoma Park, the Crossroads Community Network aims to expand healthy food access for the city’s residents.

“This year we were up yet another 19.6 percent in sales … it shows our growth and sustainability as we become less dependent on federal nutrition benefits sales for our success which was the case in earlier years,” said Michelle Dudely, the Farmers Market and Healthy Eating manager of the organization, while giving an update on their progress to the City Council Wednesday evening.

“I cannot stress enough how much I appreciate … you bring together not only healthy eating classes but also recognize and embrace the cultural diversity that exists in the crossroads area and bring it to life,” said Council member Talisha Searcy (Ward 6).

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