Prince George's CountyWilliam J. Ford

Bond Bills Coming on November Election Ballot

Besides choosing a president of the United States in this year’s Nov. 3 general election, Prince George’s County voters will also decide whether to pay for various capital projects.

Five bond bills at $506 million will be placed on the ballot to fund the public works department, the community college, libraries, public safety and county buildings between fiscal years 2021 through 2026.

“They are touching every part of the country,” Council member Deni Taveras (D-District 2) of Adelphi said Friday, July 24. “In those bond bills, there is work on police stations, firehouses, schools. But I hope everyone understands that staffing and the maintenance of these buildings also needs to be done. Funding must come from somewhere to do that, too.”

The most expensive bond at $178 million deals with public works and transportation that include four bridge replacements, road work and pedestrian safety improvements.

Construction and renovation of county buildings ranks second at $133 million for courthouse renovations and security upgrades, Shephard’s Cove Women’s Shelter in Capitol Heights, schools and other projects.

The main item deals with a clinical health facility that the council approved July 21 to use $20 million toward that project. The money got reallocated from the police department capital budget slated for a training outfit.

The council also approved nearly $122 million to renovate academic and administration buildings, a health and wellness center and the Largo student center.

Public safety improvements are estimated at $44 million to finance work at various sites such as nine fire and emergency medical services stations, two police stations in Oxon Hill and Clinton and renovations to the housing unit at the detention center.

About $29 million would be designated for library projections such as two new ones in Bladensburg and Hillcrest Heights.

However, the council didn’t approve a proposed charter amendment to the county’s homestead tax credit.

Slightly more than two dozen residents chimed in virtually that the change would create a future property tax increase when homes become assessed at a higher value.

The bill’s sponsor, Council member Derrick Leon Davis (D-District 6) of Upper Marlboro, decided to postpone its introduction.

“During these times and most difficult days for county, I remain committed to working on our commitments to balance the needs of our residents with the need to reform and continue to strategically and collaboratively address the challenges that hold our county back,” Davis said.

Before the council went into its summer break for August, it approved other measures such as readjusted salary schedules for front-line workers with hazard pay working during the coronavirus pandemic, extending the time for Hector Velez as interim chief another four months after Aug. 18; and establishing a county food security task force to assess healthy food options and decrease food insecurity.

The next council meeting is scheduled for Sept. 9.

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William J. Ford – Washington Informer Staff Writer

I decided I wanted to become a better writer while attending Bowie State University and figured that writing for the school newspaper would help. I’m not sure how much it helped, but I enjoyed it so much I decided to keep on doing it, which I still thoroughly enjoy 20 years later. If I weren’t a journalist, I would coach youth basketball. Actually, I still play basketball, or at least try to play, once a week. My kryptonite is peanut butter. What makes me happy – seeing my son and two godchildren grow up. On the other hand, a bad call made by an official during a football or basketball game makes me throw up my hands and scream. Favorite foods include pancakes and scrambled eggs which I could eat 24-7. The strangest thing that’s ever happened to me, or more accurately the most painful, was when I was hit by a car on Lancaster Avenue in Philadelphia. If I had the power or money to change the world, I’d make sure everyone had three meals a day. And while I don’t have a motto or favorite quote, I continue to laugh which keeps me from driving myself crazy. You can reach me several ways: Twitter @jabariwill, Instagram will_iam.ford2281 or e-mail, wford@washingtoninformer.com

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