Major Budget Issues Return Before Council
Hyattsville's City Council set to consider a host of budget measures tonight.
Following last Wednesday's budget impasse, fiscal matters dominate tonight's City Council's agenda, which sees four major budget measures considered.
First up is the controversial capital improvement plan, which sets out $9 million in funding for major purchases and modifications to city facilities over the next five years.
A push by Mayor Marc Tartaro to approve the CIP last week–two days after it was first released–was procedurally stonewalled over objections from some council members who said more time was needed to debate and receive public comment over the budget.
Councilor Tim Hunt (Ward 3) criticized the CIP for not including cost estimates for streetscape improvements in the University Hills neighborhood in Hyattsville's northern panhandle.
A perceived lack of investment in neighborhood amenities in Wards 4 and 5 has also drawn the criticism of Council members Paula Perry (Ward 4) and Ruth Ann Frazier (Ward 5).
Council President Matt McKnight (Ward 3) disagreed with that critique, noting that the estimated $4.5 million plan to renovate the old BB&T building at 3505 Hamilton Street into a new home for the city police department would constitute the second largest expenditure called for in the CIP.
Special Revenue Fund
The City Council will also consider the proposed special revenue fund, which lays out funding sources from specific programs, like $19,000 from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission to underwrite recreating activities or $80,000 in county funding for school police officers.
Full details of the special revenue fund can be found on page 33 of tonight's City Council agenda.
Debt Service Fund
The City Council will also consider the proposed 2013 debt service fund, which lays out the payments the city must make on its outstanding general obligation debt incurred through bonds, leases and notes.
According to the city charter, the city cannot have more than two percent of the city's assessed tax value. With $11 million in outstanding debt, the city currently runs debt equal to .59 percent of the city's assessed tax value. This leaves the city with an estimated $26.2 million debt margin.
Next year, the city will pay $1.4 million in debt service. Over the next five years, that annual debt service is projected to go down to $1.1 million.
Full details of the city's debt service fund can be found on page 35 of tonight's City Council agenda.
If those measures are all approved at tonight's meeting the City Council would consider the 2013 overall budget ordinance, which confirms and sets earlier itemized budget measures under one omnibus fiscal bill.
That's a big "if", by the way. Throughout this year's budget process, the City Council has repeatedly–but narrowly–declined to vote on budget measures after only one night of deliberations.
Such is the case here.
Though they were all on the last council agenda neither the debt service fund, the special revenue fund, nor the overall budget ordinance were debated in open session following last Wednesday's budget impasse.
Tonight's meeting starts at 8 p.m. in the Hyattsville Municipal Building on 4310 Gallatin Street. They are broadcast live on Comcast Cable channel 71 and Verizon Channel 12.