Published on: Wednesday, October 9, 2019 City Manager & Staff Blog

HEDS Plan | Tax Duplication


Dear Residents,

Next Wednesday night, October 16, the Takoma Park City Council will be considering a Resolution adopting the 2019-2030 Takoma Park Housing and Economic Development Strategic Plan (HEDS Plan).

If the plan is adopted, it will represent one of the most significant steps taken by the Council in decades to position the community for a healthy future. The only two other major efforts that rise to this level of significance since I began working for the City 26 years ago are the supporting of the construction of the Purple Line light rail system 20 years ago and the establishment of our City’s sustainability program in 2015.

City Manager Suzanne Ludlow,

The Resolution to be considered begins with strong statements about a fundamental right to housing. For a small municipality in an expensive metropolitan area, it will take an enormous effort for Takoma Park to preserve existing moderately-priced housing, produce more housing for residents at various incomes, and to protect residents from discrimination and displacement.

While there are strong objectives and strategies in the Strategic Plan regarding housing – including the continuation of the rent stabilization program – one of the major ways to move Takoma Park forward is to assist and promote businesses and business development. This is an area where we have not been as strong over the years. We need economic health and growth in the commercial sector to reduce the City’s dependence on residential real property tax. We also have many, many residents without good jobs or sufficient business income. They need workforce development, entrepreneurial programs and business assistance to be able to stay and thrive in Takoma Park.

Throughout the Resolution and Strategic Plan are provisions that show the Council’s commitment to consider every action through a race equity lens and to take into account the climate change resiliency needs of our community.

Please read through the materials for the October 16 Council meeting and share your thoughts with Council. If adopted, staff will assemble and share implementation plans, indicators of success, graphics and presentation materials to move the Strategic Plan forward and clearly communicate the Plan with the public.

Tax Duplication

One way to make Takoma Park a more affordable community is to finally get Montgomery County to pay fair tax duplication rebate payments. (Go here for more info.) County Executive Marc Elrich – who used to be a Takoma Park City Councilmember – has the responsibility to put the correct rebate payment amount in his proposed FY2021 budget.

County Executive Elrich is holding budget forums right now around Montgomery County. This is the time to tell him that a fair tax duplication payment for Takoma Park must be included in the next County budget. The next two forums are at 7 pm on October 21 at the Bethesda Chevy Chase Regional Services Center and on October 30 at the Silver Spring Civic Building.

The County Executive is providing a presentation on “Outcome Based Budgeting” as part of the forums. One “outcome” should be fairness. No taxpayer should be paying two governments for services they only get from one. Not paying a fair rebate hurts our collaborative efforts to help keep housing affordable, build climate change resilience, and protect the public. County Executive Elrich knows this and setting the payment amount is in his court.

Please attend an upcoming forum or send an email to the County Executive, copying the Takoma Park City Council, and say the time is now for the County to pay a full tax duplication rebate payment to Takoma Park.

Other Matters

There is an enormous amount of work being done by the City Council and City staff right now. Work on the Tree Ordinance and tree canopy, the Sustainability and Climate Action Plan, multiple construction projects, and lots of day-to-day maintenance, programs and services are underway. It can be hard to stay up on all of the important projects – let alone the fun things! If you haven’t already, please sign up to receive the Takoma Insider weekly e-newsletter. It is interesting and useful.

Best wishes for a happy and productive Fall!