HYATTSVILLE - Hyattsville has been keeping busy over the last few months and not everything makes the paper. Here are some updates and stories not previously covered.
Keeping Up With the Audits
Hyattsville City Treasurer Ron Brooks believes everything is on track with the fiscal year 2016 audit and said the reviews and analysis in the audit would be closed by the last week of December.
“We’re in pretty good shape,” he said, noting that his team has hit the milestones he set at a good pace.
He hopes to complete the financial statements by the second week of January and start work on the fiscal year 2017 audit the following week. The 2015 audit was filed in November. Finishing the fiscal year 2017 audit will put the city back on track, Brooks said, after working his way through a several-year backlog.
Place Making Funds
On Nov. 6 the Hyattsville City Council voted to move funds around in the capital improvements budget to allow the Hyatt Park Place Making Project to move forward. The move created $325,000 in funds for the project while eliminating $1.5 million from the department of public works renovation fund. The city also anticipates a $75,000 grant to help fund the project.
In the agenda item report to the council, Brooks said the move was because “other projects have come forward for consideration and the previously approved (capital improvements) appropriations need to be adjusted.”
The council approved the change, and the vote essentially shifted the city’s available resources to make those other projects possible. Mayor Candace Hollingsworth said the city would plan public engagement session on the place making project soon.
Recertifying the Force
The Hyattsville City Police Department is up for Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) recertification, and, although official word on the matter will not come until mid-2018, the police department has already undergone the assessment.
Over the final months of 2017, the police department welcomed two assessors to analyze the department on more than 600 individual points, hundreds of standards and through a public input session.
The police department had only two areas of interest that the assessors felt needed improvement: the first is a missed audit, while the second is adherence to an active threat policy. The police chief will now travel to a CALEA conference in March to finish the final part of the recertification process.
Meeting for Short-Terms
Short-term rentals will be at the forefront of the city’s code compliance committee after the city council voted to direct the committee to make rentals it’s number one agenda item for the next six meetings.
The move came after the committee sent a letter to the council asking for the go-ahead to dedicate time to the issue. The letter, dated Oct. 24, said the committee had previously discussed the “emerging trend of short-term rentals” and any impact they could have on the city.
Previously, the city had considered short-term rental regulations and the committee requested the six meeting period to discuss the merits of the city adopting regulations on such rentals.
The letter said the committee would conclude deliberations sometime in May and then report to the city council on any findings in June. Before any action is taken, the committee asked for public input on the issue as well.
Just One More Station
Phase one of the Capital Bikeshare county rollout is scheduled to start this spring, but the city of Hyattsville worries the planned initial eight stations will not be enough. On Dec. 18 the city council began discussion of possibly paying for one additional bikeshare station.
Jim Chandler, the assistant city administrator, told the council they could use the funds set aside in the budget for the Capital Bikeshare implementation, approximately $83,000 in capital improvements funds, to purchase a single additional station at around $50,000. The county department of public works, which is overseeing the bikeshare rollout, told Hyattsville an additional station would have to be funded through the city, though Chandler said he is not sure if an additional station would be in the first phase or second phase of the project.
City staff hinted at two possible locations for the additional station, in Northern Hyattsville or another station on Route 1, but Chandler said if the city wants the station, they can decide on location at another time.
The council voted to move the measure forward.
Updating the Zone
Before December two schools in the city of Hyattsville did not have formal school zones, according to city code. The city council voted to change that during their Dec. 18 meeting after Councilwoman Erica Spell introduced and update to the city code.
Spell noted that both Edward M. Felegy Elementary School and the Chelsea School did not have formal school zones, while there were also two outdated school zones on record. The school zone ordinance will establish both the school location and streets within a half-mile radius as school zones. There are currently 11 school zones in the city and that number will remain unchanged as two zones will be eliminated while two will be added.
The final vote on the update will take place in January.