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Takoma Park votes to condemn gun violence

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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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Facing staff shortages, Takoma Park discusses upcoming budget

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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

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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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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

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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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Takoma Park considers amending charter on appointments and hiring

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council is considering amending its charter to change how Council members interact with the city manager during the hiring and appointment process.

“We wanted to make sure that after we went through our process for the police chief that we revisited the language in our charter regarding how the Council may provide input to hiring decisions by the city manager,” Mayor Kate Stewart said during the meeting. 

The proposed changes would allow the city manager to consult the City Council on candidates’ qualifications during the hiring process. The City Council or individual Council members would also be allowed to provide limited input. A variation of the amendment would also require the city manager to outline the requested input in writing.

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Takoma Park sets priorities for legislature

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TAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council laid out the municipality’s priorities for the upcoming legislative session in front of the District 20 delegation, taking into account the likelihood of budget cuts in next year's legislative session. 

“Takoma Park has a very active citizenry, and the government is very proactive here about getting these kinds of conversations going,” Del. David Moon (D) said after the meeting. 

Moon, who is the only member of the delegation to reside in the Takoma Park, explained that the state and county governments are facing major budget shortfalls that would complicate the policymaking environment in Annapolis.

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Takoma Park inaugurates second woman majority council

  • Published in Local

takoma park logoTAKOMA PARK — The Takoma Park City Council seated more women than men on its dais Wednesday evening for the second time in its history. 

“Tonight I think is a night to celebrate, celebrating the incoming council members and those who have been reelected to serve,” said Takoma Park Mayor Kate Stewart. “It is a new chapter in our city's history.”

Of the seven elected members, three women were elected to represent the city's residents.

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Competition close as Takoma Park elects new City Council

  • Published in Local

Takoma Park Govt logoTAKOMA PARK – Voters in Takoma Park elected a new City Council on a rainy Tuesday evening selecting from eleven candidates to elect a mayor and six Council members.

In the City’s most competitive race, Ward 2 candidate Cindy Dyballa prevailed against two other candidates after two rounds of voting.

“I’m impressed with the turnout, I think it’s fabulous that more people are coming out to vote in local elections,” Dyballa said shortly after being declared the winner.

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Takoma Park votes to move junction concept plan forward

  • Published in Local

TAKOMA PARK – In a meeting lasting until 1:30 a.m., the Takoma Park City Council voted to approve the concept plan Wednesday evening and continue the process to redevelop Takoma Junction.

The council voted 6-1 to approve the concept plan and move forward in the redevelopment process with Neighborhood Development Corporation (NDC), the contractor chosen for the project. Council member Tim Male (Ward 2) cast the sole dissenting vote.

“I’m trying to send a signal that there’s things that they need to pay attention to so that when we get to the site plan stage, we’re actually in the right place as opposed to going in the wrong direction,” Male said.

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