Featured Post

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Mount Rainier Residents and MSA in general

Take heed and remember to AVOID standing water. It can be very dangerous!
 
The National Weather Service has issued a Flash Flood Warning until 10:15pm. Please monitor local TV and radio for additional information. Be safe out there people.

FLASH FLOOD WARNING FOR... THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA, SOUTHERN ARLINGTON COUNTY IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA, EASTERN CITY OF ALEXANDRIA IN NORTHERN VIRGINIA, WEST CENTRAL PRINCE GEORGES COUNTY IN CENTRAL MARYLAND* UNTIL 1015 PM EDT

 ...AT 714 PM EDT...NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE DOPPLER RADAR INDICATED
VERY HEAVY RAIN CAPABLE OF PRODUCING FLASH FLOODING. RADAR
ESTIMATES THAT 1 TO 2 INCHES OF RAIN HAVE ALREADY FALLEN ACROSS
ALEXANDRIA AND SOUTHEAST WASHINGTON DC IN THE LAST 45 MINUTES.
ADDITIONAL RAINFALL AMOUNTS OF UP TO 1 INCH CAN BE EXPECTED.

Sunday, May 26, 2013

SAINT AUGUSTINE'S UNIVERSITY'S FAMILY REUNION COOKOUT & STUDENT RECRUITMENT

ATTEND THE ST. AUG FAMILY REUNION COOKOUT & STUDENT RECRUITMENT MEET AND GREET
Saturday June 1, 2013 - Grove 6, Rock Creek Park, Washington DC - 1:00 pm - 6:00 pm p.m.


We're looking forward to seeing you at the cookout! This year, the Saint Augustine's University office of Admissions will host a Student Recruitment Meet and Greet during the cookout between the hours of 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Newly accepted students and potential students have been invited and are sending in their RSVP to attend with their families and we're asking alumni to come out to meet and greet the students and their families.

We've held the student meet & greet in past years and some students were enrolled on the spot. If you know of high school students who may interested in Saint Augustine's please share the attached invitation and invite them to attend the cook out. Admissions officers will be on hand to talk with the students.

Students should bring their "official" transcript and their "official" SAT or ACT test scores with them.

As always local alumni, current students and family and friends are invited to the cook out. It's potluck -- please bring your favorite dish to share.
There will be activities for all ages and we look forward to seeing you there. For more information and to RSVP (for count purposes) email or call 202-421-4119

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Mount Rainier Elementary's PEACE PARADE

The Mount Rainier Peace Parade is Friday, May 31, 2013.  NORTHWESTERN HIGH SCHOOL BAND will be participating! HOWEVER, some of the students must return to the school immediately following the parade and take exams. Therefore, the peace parade will be start at 9:00am instead of 9:30am.
PLEASE post on your Facebook page etc. and come out and cheer them on.
THANK YOU to everyone on staff that put their lives on hold while we worked out the transportation issue.
THANK YOU to everyone who made the bus transportation available to us!
THANK YOU to the faculty and staff for continuing our more than a decade tradition of celebrating our children for KEEPING THE PEACE, and learning that there are peaceful solutions!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Career Day at Mount Rainier Elementary School

This morning, I am up and off to "Career Day" at Mount Rainier Elementary School.  This is one of my highlights of the school year.  The other one is going to our local schools for the MML's "If I Were Mayor Contest..."

If you are looking for ways to support your local schools, consider signing up next year for career day.  You will make a major contribution, and the children will love it!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Maryland IMPOSES a RAIN TAX on HOMEOWNERS

I bet you did not see this one coming!  Was sitting in my home office working on other issues, e.g., TIFs, policies and procedures for advisory bodies, etc., and I get this question "Please explain the new rain taxes that's going into place on July 1."  What rain tax?  The City is not imposing a rain tax.  Response, no, it's that Governor O'Malley that you ran around getting everybody to vote for who is imposing the rain tax.   Left standing with my mouth wide open.

So, now, I have to stop what I am doing and figure out what I missed.   You got it, I missed the impervious surface tax.  Maryland lawmakers passed an "Impervious Surfaces" tax that is also being called the "Rain Tax."

The rain-tax program is designed to pay for upgrades to plants that treat stormwater and thus reduce the amount of nitrogen and phosphorous flowing into the bay from rainwater that flows off development’s impervious surfaces -- roofs, sidewalks, driveways and parking lots, for example.
Stormwater management fees must be in place by July 1, and property owners are in for some sticker shock.

State leaders are already muttering about making changes, including exempting nonprofits and churches. Homeowners associations and businesses with large parking lots are also set to be hit hard, because the fees are based on sizes of impervious surfaces owned.

Mayor and Council did address this issue, but as stormwater utility fee and whether or not the City should try to take this on or go with the County.  We opted to go with the County, and some how did not deal with what that would mean.  EACH COUNTY (there are 10), gets to set the fee and the amount to be paid as well as any waivers.

Read more: http://www.myfoxdc.com/story/22053317/chesapeake-bay-foundation-explains-maryland-rain-tax#ixzz2U2UI1sdm
Follow us: @myfoxdc on Twitter | myfoxdc on Facebook

What does this mean to Mount Rainier residents?  A lot!  If you live in Mount Rainier (the County or nine other counties in Maryland) you will be taxed for impervious surfaces (does not let the water go down into the ground, instead it runs off into the Chesapeake) in your yard, e.g., your concrete drive way, the roof on your house, etc.

This law goes into affect, Monday, July 1, 2013.  How much it will cost you?  WHO KNOWS? 

What is a TIF?

Don't know?  Do not feel bad.  I thought I knew.  We (Mayor and Council) have been discussing this giant elephant that walked into the middle of our City Hall and left one big ugly nasty footprint, and now, it is time to get educated and make this "TIF" work for us, or throw it the hello out of our City.

Question one:  What is a TIF?  These three letters stand for Tax Increment Financing.
 
Question two:  Why Tax Increment Financing is needed or used?  The original idea around TIFs was that it was a mechanism by which a city could float a bond and make the payment while at the same time cleaning up its blighted areas, and spurring its economic development and revitalization.  It would attract developers and give them help if they would do business in their blighted areas where most did not want to go because they could not see it adding to their bottomline -- profit.

Question three:  Why do TIFs still exist?  Someone thought it was a good idea and a way to revitalize blighted areas.  So Chicago, California, and a host of other places (believe it or not, years ago) came up with this plan, and in some places it has worked (at least that is what I am told).  In others, TIFs are used in rich neighborhoods, and many places have encountered debts that will be around for years!

In the next few paragraphs, I will attemp to explain TIFs in layperson terms.  If you get this , PLEASE PLEASE email me at mayormiles@gmail.com.

You and your family own the old Bass Liquor lot, the funeral home, and four other parcels of land with older buildings, and a parking lots.  Combined, you and your family pay a total property tax of $25,000 with $5000 going to City, $5000 going to Schools, $5000 going to MNCPPC, and $10000 going to the County.

Now there is a proposal to put before Mayor and Council for a 5-story building on your combined sites that will generate $100,000 in property taxes.  The City can use TIFs to help develop the site.  That means the City (Mount Rainier) pledges the increase that the new development would create, or in this hypothetical -- $75,000.  The City, Schools, MNCPPC, and the County would continue to get their split of the $25,000 of the funds that you and your family originally generated.  So no change there, and if they pull this deal off, you will have some NEW buildings down town. 

The $75,000 increase generated over the life of the TIF project (the time frame can be between 25 and 30 years) helps pay for the land assembly, utility work and/or some other public purposes as defined by the City in its mou/lda agreement with the developer.
 
You could argue hat there is no cost to the City, Schools, MNCPPC and/or the County because without the TIF assistance  the project would have never gotten off the ground and the blight would have continued.  In addition, you and your family would have continued to generate and pay the $25,000 in property taxes. 

I would argue that maybe another project at the right time would have come in (when we purchased the property, we knew we would have to hold it five or more years) built there that didn't need or require a TIF assistance, thus creating a property valuation increase that goes straight to the City, Schools, MNCPPC, and the County's coffers without a 25 to 35 year loss.

Maybe instead of a TIF-financed 5-story building, a 4-story building would be built without TIF financing.  With the new no TIF project in place, the new tax increase of about $60,000 generated by this new project in property taxes will provide $10,000 going to the City, $10,000 to the Schools, $10,000 to MNCPPC, and $30,000 going to the County -- not in 25 to 35 years but within two to three years following the completion of the project. 
 
This difference in these two projects is really a lost opportunity for the community, the City, and the County.  Neither can be proven on paper because they are hypotheticals.  That is what a TIF is based on, a hypothetical that will result in City taxes staying the same OR a need for the City to raise taxes on those "benefiting" from the TIF to handle increase cost of services (more police calls, more trash pick up, more code enforcement, more more more).

Clearly TIF is an important economic development tool, but it MUST be used wisely, and with the residents of the CITY in mind and NOT THE DEVELOPER or the County for that matter.  A TIF can be an effective revitalization tool when used prudently and rarely!  
 
The current offer on the table for our City, in my opinion is rare (we would probably be the first City in the County to use a TIF), BUT it may not be the most prudent decision your Mayor and Council could make. 
 
Many of the things that was spoken at the August and October hearings have been taken off the table or modified to the point that should the City accept the current offer, our residents will be the losers.  I am looking for a win-win for Mount Rainier, the developers, Prince George's County, and the State of Maryland as the GATEWAY to the Nation's Capital, and the Signature Entry to Prince George's County.
 
I need to hear from you on this one!

 


Monday, May 20, 2013

Maryland artists Invited to APPLY

The Maryland State Arts Council (MSAC) invites Maryland artists to apply for the competitive 2014 Individual Artist Award (IAA).

Each year, the award recognizes the value of artists and their work to the cultural vitality of Maryland. Through the Individual Artist Award Program, The Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation administers MSAC awards of $1,000, $3,000 or $6,000 to artists that apply and are selected by an out-of-state jury, which reviews anonymous submissions solely on the basis of artistic merit. This year, 87 artists received FY13 awards totaling $218,000.

The IAA Program reviews a total of 18 artistic disciplines, which are separated into three competition groups that are awarded once every three years. The artistic disciplines eligible for a 2014 IAA are:
Choreography
Classical Music Composition
Classical Music Solo Performance
Sculpture
Solo Dance Performance
World Music Composition
Three webinars will provide step-by-step instructions on how to submit a complete online IAA application with the required materials. Registration is required and webinar details will be emailed once registration is complete.

Register for Webinar 1: Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM
Register for Webinar 2: Wednesday, July 10, 2013, 2:00 PM - 3:30 PM
Register for Webinar 3: Saturday, July 13, 2013, 10:00 AM - 11:30 A.M
The deadline to submit an online application for the 2014 IAA is Friday, July 26, 2013. The Awards will be announced by March of 2014.

For more information, view the 2014 IAA Guidelines (PDF) or email Kimberly Steinle-Super ( 410-539-6656 ext.101).

Saturday, May 18, 2013

And the Rain DID NOT STOP Mount Rainier Day!

Thank God for the rain, but most of ALL thank you for the strong heart and showing of all the people at the Mount Rainier Day Festival!  It was awesome.  The rain did not stop the party, did not send the vendors packing, did not stop the bands from performing or the HAPPY HAPPY SPIRIT that flowed throughout the day!  ONLY in Mount Rainier.  THANK YOU residents, staff, volunteers, and everyone that came together to make this wonderful day a success.  If you missed it, you can catch it on Channel 71 Comcast or Channel 21 Verizon.  Graciella ran it LIVE all day today.  Now that was a first!

TODAY is the LONG AWAITED DAY -- MOUNT RAINIER DAY!

TODAY is MOUNT RAINIER DAY ALL DAY LONG!  Come out and join in on the fun.  ALL are welcome.  WHERE:  Rhode Island AVENUE/ROUTE One.  Parade starts at 10:00am.

Friday, May 17, 2013

MOUNT RAINIER DAY, May 18, 2013 Rhode Island Avenue

Mount Rainier Day is tomorrow ALL DAY LONG.  We will also celebrate Kids to Parks Day at 34th Street Park.  Come out and bring your children (0 to 120).  All will enjoy the parade, the basketball tounament, vendors with all kinds of foods, and neighbors and friends from ALL over the COUNTY!  Mount Rainier IS THE PLACE to be on Saturday, May 18, 2013!  See you there.