This is going to be hard to believe, I know, but the February 27th city council meeting was not terribly thrilling.
The council plowed through a number of agenda items, some of which were, shall we say, more interesting than others? Certainly, many of the items had been previously discussed, for instance the transfer of a chunk of city land to the county for the new Fire Station rear parking area, providing for repair to the police department, and funding for library roof repair, citywide bike racks, and roadway bike-route markings.
The council directed the staff to draft a statement disapproving the building of a self-storage facility at the corner of Eastern and New Hampshire Avenues, again a subject fully aired recently. Also recently proposed was a Health Services Impact Committee to look at how the city should deal with the potential loss of the Washington Adventist Hospital. The council moved forward with the creation of the committee at this meeting.
A letter decrying the proposed transfer of hook and ladder Truck #2 from Takoma Park’s fire station to Silver Spring was summarized prior to sending it to County Executive Doug Douncan. The reasons given for not making the transfer were: The soon-to-be-built Takoma Park station is configured to accommodate the hook and ladder truck. T here is excellent coverage of Silver Spring by the existing arrangement. The alternative coverage that the county fire department says would come from nearby Prince George’s County is not equivalent. Moving the hook-and-ladder would be a reduction of service. Takoma Park’s older high rise buildings are not equipped with sprinkler systems whereas new Silver Spring high rises are. Truck #2 would not fit in the old Silver Spring station #2. It would fit in the new Silver Spring station #2, but there aren’t enough living quarters for the additional staff.
So, if you were Doug Duncan, would you be convinced? Personally, I think all that is needed is a letter with one sentence: “Yo, Dougie, if you take away our fire truck, you’ll be pounding the last coffin-nail into your sorry-ass campaign for governor!”
Looks like your stormwater fee is going up to almost $50! The staff made a presentation on the projected costs of stormwater management, from the current yearly $200,000 to $350,000 – $375,000. The “basis rate” would become $44.06 – $47.20 to cover the costs.
One of the reasons it is so pricey is to cover the cost of tv inspection. Gilbert is outraged that the city has such an extensive video program but does NOT make it AVAILABLE on public access cable, nor on the city’s new high-tech web site where anyone in the world can now download video clips of city council meetings. Maybe the council is worried that the stormwater inspection videos would be more popular.
But, yes, the city makes a video inspection of YOUR stormwater drain once every three years. So, be warned, the stormwater pipes are NOT a good place to hide a body or any other incriminating evidence. Just a little neighborly tip from your buddy Gilbert.
The council was not particularly happy with the increased fee rate, but after the thorough presentation it was hard to deny that the costs have increased and must be covered.
Highlight of the evening, devoid as it was of council friction and fractions, came when the mayor, in a snit over the inaccurate remark made about Takoma Park at another meeting, said “People ought not to make statements about things they know nothing about,”
At which councilmembers started chuckling and making smart-aleck remarks, cut short by a loud quip (from Terry Seamens?), “We better be quiet!”