HYATTSVILLE – New programs, continued expenditures and capital improvements are all included in the new Hyattsville budget.
Last week, the Hyattsville City Council passed a $30 million budget in an 8-0 vote during a special Wednesday meeting where both Councilwomen Ruth Ann Frazier and Paula Perry were absent. The vote brought to closure a process that began in early December 2016 and passed a budget that will fund the city through June 2018.
“Among the many things that we do, this is the most important task – funding our local government for the next year,” Councilman Joseph Solomon said. “This year, I’m particularly proud because of the new programs that are included in this budget.”
Some of those programs include a new low-cost after-school care program, a new senior meals program, and the launch of a new program called Mini Camp Magruder. The community services department, which is responsible for most community engagement programs, will receive a budget of more than $1 million – an approximate 18.5 percent increase over the previous fiscal year.
Solomon said he sees those increases and changes as the city rising to meet the needs of its growing population and addressing the concerns of residents who do not feel an attachment to the city.
“I’m happy that we are listening to those people who are asking for those changes and I’m happy that we are beginning to expand in those areas of service that are needed, but most importantly those groups of people who have felt left out a little bit, now have a little bit more attachment to our city by some of these new offerings that are available,” he said.
The approved budget also includes funding for a number of committee recommendations, including two lectures series on different climate change issues and a Hyattsville welcome packet, and funds for a few initiatives introduced by councilmembers, such as added community survey questions, a transportation study and funds for the Hy-Swap.
The only major changes made to the budget between the last council session on the document and the May 10 meeting were some additions and clarifications made by City Treasurer Ron Brooks and Human Resources Director Vivian Snellman. Snellman corrected the number of full-time equivalents the city will have and Brooks added in information about the University Town Center tax rebates, as well as an additional $100,000 in capital improvements funds for cable TV upgrades.
“This will be the last year that you will see that $150,000 for the town center,” Brooks said. “That was an agreed-upon tax rebate totaling $400,000. So this will be the last year you see that.”
Several on the council thanked Brooks for his work on the budget and efforts to keep the process transparent and easy to follow. Councilman Thomas Wright said he appreciated the transparent nature of the process both as a councilman and as a resident of the city.
Councilman Edouard Haba also noted that Brooks has done an exceptional job on the budget, especially in light of the fact that Brooks has also been tasked with bringing the city’s audits up-to-date.
“I’d also like to thank our treasurer for the job that he has done with the budget, knowing that he also had the audit going through,” Haba said.