April 2019 Meeting Report

All Commissioners were in attendance: Ann Mladinov (3B01), Jackie Blumenthal (3B02), Melissa Lane (3B03), Mary Young (3B04) and Brian Turmail (3B05).

Police Report.  Lt. Ralph Neal gave the police report, comparing the number of crimes reported between March 12-April 11 this year to the same period last year.  Overall the number of crimes dropped from 19 to 15, all property crimes.  The number of reported thefts increased from 9 to 12.  Commissioner Blumenthal asked about package thefts but from the location data, since there have been so many messages on community listservs about missing packages. It was clear from the locations of reported thefts that package thefts were not all being reported to MPD. Lt. Neal and the ANC urged neighbors to call MPD to report any suspected crime including package thefts. Lt. Neal also spoke about several community outreach activities planned by 2nd District MPD including Glover Park Day on June 1.

Highlights of Mayor’s Proposed FY 2020 Budget.  Polly Donaldson, Director of the DC Department of Housing and Community Development, gave an overview of the Mayor’s budget proposal for FY 2020.  The Mayor proposes a budget of $15.5 billion, of which $8.6 billion comes from local funds. (The Federal portion is $3.4 billion, primarily for Medicaid.)  The Mayor calls it a “Fair Shot” budget because it focuses on “sharing the upside,” helping those in need and also making it possible for middle class residents to live and thrive in DC. The proposed budget includes a $30 million increase in annual funding for the Housing Production Trust Fund that is used to create affordable housing, a new program aimed at workforce housing, increases to the “Safe at Home” program to help senior residents remain in their homes, increasing investments in neighborhoods east of the river and more for “Homeward DC” to help individuals and families move beyond homelessness. It would also increase the income ceiling for Schedule H and increase the value of the credit.

The biggest item in the proposed budget is $2.3 billion in local funds going to education, an increase of $54.6 million from the current fiscal year. Several residents noted that the budget would include a cut in per pupil funding for many schools in Wards 7 and 8. Stoddert would also get 6.6% less in education funding per pupil than it received in the current school year. The capital budget calls for future improvements to address overcrowding at several schools including Stoddert, which is slated for $20.4 million in capital spending in FY 2024 to construct ten new classrooms. The proposed capital investment would replace the 6 demountables currently on-site and add four more classrooms to accommodate an additional 230 students.   Commissioner Turmail announced that ANC 3B’s May 9th meeting will focus on local education funding issues. 

Grant Application from Friendship Place.  Stephanie Jones-Patterson, Assistant Director for Workforce Development at AimHire, presented a request for $2500 to purchase pre-paid phones and SmarTrip cards for jobseekers.  AimHire is a program at Friendship Place that helps people who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness find and keep a job.  This grant will help between 150-200 program participants. The grant was approved unanimously. 

Grant Application from DC Food Project.  Krista Weymouth of the DC Food Project presented a grant for $1505 to cover administrative supplies to support its “share table” and Weekend Food Bag projects.  At Stoddert, about 12 percent of the students face food insecurity.  The DC Food Project launched these programs at the school to encourage students to put unwanted wrapped and unopened food in baskets for others to share, and to offer students in need to take home a bag of healthy non-perishable food for the weekend. Nine schools now have share tables and DC Food Project wants to begin offering Weekend Food Bags in all the schools with share tables. The ultimate goal is to expand the programs to all District schools and also include DC recreation centers.  The grant was approved unanimously.

Updates and Information

  • Commissioner Young reported that one of the many issues surrounding the traffic problem in the 4100 block of Cathedral Avenue has been addressed: One crosswalk was striped.
  • Commissioner Mladinov reported on the annual symposium on homelessness sponsored by Friendship Place. Data show a 37 percent decrease in the number of families that are homeless in DC but DC has not had as much success addressing individual homelessness.  As fast as the city finds housing for homeless individuals, more are in need of services. In February, the city opened its first day-services center for homeless individuals at New York Avenue Presbyterian Church downtown and is hoping to create centers in other areas to provide activities for homeless individuals during the day. Also, the National Methodist Church at Nebraska and New Mexico Avenues has agreed to sponsor a hypothermia center for homeless men next winter following ANC 3B’s recommendations for an emergency shelter west of Rock Creek Park.
  • DDOT’s Public Space Committee held a meeting on March 21 to hear comments on revised design guidelines for small cell technology. The committee voted to adopt an amended version of the guidelines but DDOT has not yet published the approved language.
  • DC Water has announced several new programs to reduce costs to customers for the Clean Rivers Impervious Area Charge (CRIAC) which makes up a large part of monthly water bills. Under the plan, part of the monthly CRIAC bill could be based on the volume of water use rather than just the amount of impervious surface on the customer’s property.  The DC Department of Energy and Environment (DOEE) will also begin offering discounts on water bills to households with incomes at various levels below the Area Median Income as part of a Customer Assistance Program (CAP) to help offset the CRIAC.
  • DPW Inspector Brooks provided an update on her activities in Glover Park. She asked residents not to put plastic bags or any plastic film into their recycling bins or use plastic bags to dispose of recycling. She also reported that after working with CVS for many months, they have cleaned up around the building and are no longer storing containers or pallets on the sidewalk.

The next meeting of ANC3B will be Thursday, May 9.