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City Council Priorities

The City Council’s Priorities are used as a tool to guide policy and budget decision making and outline strategies to work toward desired outcomes for a wide range of major projects, initiatives and ongoing activities. The Council affirms their priorities by Resolution each year.

City Council policy affects many aspects of civic life in Takoma Park. Establishing and sharing priorities helps inform residents, businesses and regional stakeholders on what the City Council’s constituents and elected officials view as important for the Takoma Park in an easy to understand and transparent manner.

How City Council Priorities Affect You

Priorities are not policy. They serve as the framework used to shape it. Anyone affected by City Council policy who has input – whether in agreement or not – is encouraged to engage with the City Council to help shape how priorities are implemented.

You can engage in the process by attending a City Council meeting, contacting your City Councilmember or by joining a board, commission or committee.

What are the City Council’s Priorities?

The City Council’s priorities break down into five broad categories with key major projects, initiatives and ongoing activities identified for each. Those five broad categories are:

  1. A Livable Community For All
  2. Fiscally Sustainable Government
  3. Environmentally Sustainable Community
  4. Engaged, Responsive & Service-oriented Government
  5. Community Development for an Improved & Equitable Quality of Life

Each priority is explained in detail below. For information on major projects, initiatives and ongoing activities associated with the priorities, visit the City’s Project Directory. The priorities are also available in poster form. Click here to access the poster of the priorities.

Current City Council Priority Details

A Livable Community For All

Identify Programming Needs

Goal: Identify programming needs in the community and develop approaches to meet those needs, emphasizing youth, families, seniors, and our more vulnerable residents, such as those with lower incomes, immigrants, and people with developmental disabilities.

Strategy:

  • Utilize resident survey, staff and committee reports, and other sources to determine where there may be existing gaps in program offerings; develop programs to close gaps.

Desired outcome: Expanded or improved programming.

Ensure Stable Housing Options

Goal: Ensure we have a range of safe, quality, and stable housing options for residents of varying incomes.

Strategy:

  • Consider draft Strategic Plan related to housing and economic development and adopt strategies to address housing and economic development challenges and opportunities; develop implementation plans.
  • Develop and implement plan of action for Housing Reserve Fund, including request for contributions from the County and State
  • Develop incentives and possible new enforcement and other measures for landlords to improve living conditions for tenants.
  • Facilitate improved communication among City, landlords, and tenants; build on existing outreach and tenant education efforts.

Desired outcome: Meet the current and future housing needs of the community to ensure affordable housing options for residents of varying incomes levels and of all races and ethnicities. Improved living conditions for renters.

Defend Sanctuary Status

Goal: Defend status as a Sanctuary City and continue to be a welcoming and inclusive community for all residents.

Strategy:

  • Continue advocacy efforts on behalf of immigrants, including connecting those in need of assistance to appropriate area organizations.

Desired outcome: Remain a strong Sanctuary City.

Racial Equity

Goal: Further efforts related to racial equity.

Strategy:

  • Develop strategy to address racial equity issues, including how we organize, institutionalize, and operationalize the racial equity framework; explore possible task force on racial equity.
  • Provide racial equity training to members of Council-appointed committees and other residents; seek grant funding for training.
  • Conduct racial equity survey among City staff members.

Desired outcome: Progress toward a more racially equitable community and government.

Fiscally Sustainable Government

Increase Funding from Montgomery County and State

Goal: Increase funding from County and State to address tax duplication and other City needs.

Strategy:

  • Councilmember advocacy and lobbying activities; improve coordination of efforts between staff and Councilmembers.
  • Partner with other Montgomery County municipalities to pressure County and General Assembly.
  • Acquire grant funding to help offset costs for library renovations.

Desired outcome: Increased funding from County and State to address tax duplication and other City needs.

Adopt Reserves Financial Policy

Goal: Adopt financial policy to determine the appropriate level of designated reserves.

Strategy:

  • Review best practices and benchmarks and determine reserve level suitable for City.

Desired outcome: Formally establish reserve levels.

       Address Changes to Federal Tax System

Goal: Minimize adverse impacts of changes to the federal tax system.

Strategy:

  • Assess implications of changes to federal tax system and develop tactics to help mitigate adverse impacts.

Desired outcome: Minimize adverse impacts of changes to the federal tax system.

Sustainable Investment and Banking Policy

Goal: Adopt sustainable investment and banking policy and practices.

Strategy:

  • Identify and work with consultant to determine tolerance levels and next steps in adopting sustainable investment and banking policies and practices.

Desired outcome: Work to align the City’s banking and investments with values of social responsibility.

Environmentally Sustainable Community

Lead in Community Programs/Policies for Sustainability

Goal: Continue to be a leader in community programs and policies for energy and environmental sustainability.

Strategy:

  • Continue program and policy efforts for more efficient energy use, especially for renters and multi-family buildings, businesses, and City operations.
  • Increase use of renewable energy (especially solar) throughout the City; offer bulk buy of solar and/or wind power to residents; consider incentives for multifamily buildings and new buildings; continue efforts related to electric vehicle use.
  • Consider draft Strategic Plan related to housing and economic development and adopt strategies to promote and ensure sustainable development.
  • Work with Committee on the Environment to identify potential ways to minimize environmental impacts during development construction.

Desired outcome: Improved energy efficiency City-wide; increasingly sustainable City operations and building; increased use of renewables and offsets.

Tree Canopy Preservation

Goal: Preserve and grow tree canopy.

Strategy:

  • Establish and support tree and tree canopy goals through programs and education; identify opportunities for tree retention, maintenance, and growth.
  • Coordinate efforts to review tree ordinance with tree canopy goals to ensure changes to the tree ordinance advance and do not adversely impact tree canopy goals.

Desired outcome: Greater maintenance of mature trees; more plantings on City and private property.

Engaged, Responsive & Service Oriented Government

Identify Policing Priorities

Goal: Identify policing priorities and explore options for enhanced police/community relations.

Strategy:

  • In addition to resident survey, hold community meetings and conversations to learn more about perceptions of police relations with the public; develop and implement steps that the Police Department can take to improve community relations.

Desired outcome: Improve relationships between the police department and community measured by resident survey responses and through other means.

Strategy:

  • Develop and implement plan of action to enter into mutual aid agreements.

Desired outcome: Mutual aid agreements in place with District of Columbia and Prince George’s County to enhance coordination among police departments.

Improve Communications With Residents

Goal: Improve communications with residents, especially two-way online and social media communication.

Strategy:

  • Regularly update project directory, staff and Councilmember blogs on City website, promote My TkPk application.
  • Explore ways in addition to Newsletter to get information to a broader array of residents; increase in non-English communications.
  • Develop innovative graphic representations of key issues to help communicate key issues to residents and policymakers in Rockville and Annapolis; develop outreach on City programs including property tax assistance and others.

Desired outcome: Information about issues and programs more easily accessible for all residents.

Strategy:

  • Improve notification system for utility and other work in the right-of-way, including work by City contractors and staff, and explore development of accountability measures to address deficient notification and to strengthen monitoring of utility and contractor work.

Desired outcome: Better communications with residents about utility and other work that may impact them.

Strategy:

  • Conduct resident survey.

Desired outcome: Data that can be used to inform decision-making.

Improve Tree Ordinance and Utility Policies and Processes

Goal: Improve policies and processes related to the tree ordinance; traffic calming; sidewalk requests, repair and maintenance; and residential/commercial boundary conflicts.

Strategy:

  • Review existing tree ordinance, and develop and implement improvements.

Desired outcome: More user-friendly and easy to understand tree ordinance.

  • Consider existing traffic calming policies and processes, develop and implement recommendations for improvements.

Desired outcome: Improved and more equitable policy and processes related to traffic calming.

  • Consider existing policies and processes related to sidewalk requests, repair, and maintenance, develop and implement recommendations for improvements.

Desired outcome: Improved and more equitable policy and processes related to sidewalk requests, maintenance and repair.

  • Consider existing issues and code enforcement strategies related to the intersection of commercial and residential areas; develop and implement recommendations for improvements.

Desired outcome: Improved policy and processes related to residential/commercial boundary conflicts.

Goal: Improve and formalize systems for Council-appointed committees and external committees on which Councilmembers serve (e.g. MWCOG).

Strategy:

  • Review existing structure, appointment processes, and practices for Council-appointed committees, and make changes to increase efficiency and effectiveness and attract new members; explore innovative ways to engage residents who tend to be harder to reach.

Desired outcome: Diverse, engaged, productive, and rewarding committee membership.

  • Develop a formal plan and procedures for how Council works with and represents the City on outside committees and communicates back to the full Council.

Desired outcome: Better understanding of individual Councilmember’s roles; improved communication amongst Council.

Community Development for an Improved & Equitable Quality of Life

Plan and Prepare for Development

Goal: Plan and prepare for development in the City and region while maintaining the special character and diversity of Takoma Park.

Strategy:

  • Consider draft Strategic Plan related to housing and economic development and adopt strategies to address housing and economic development challenges and opportunities; develop implementation plans.

Desired outcome: Implementation plans developed and adopted to plan and prepare for development and maintain the special character and diversity of Takoma Park.

Strategy:

  • Optimize and improve coordination with the Takoma/Langley Crossroads Development Authority and the Old Town Business Association to bolster their work in promoting thriving businesses and commercial districts.
  • Provide direct outreach and support for local businesses.

Desired outcome: Improved coordination with business associations in order to help make them more effective; thriving local businesses.

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