By ALLAN WALTERS — Hyattsville residents descended upon the City Municipal Building on Nov. 29, with a promise of free food and a chance to vote on their priorities for the City of Hyattsville Fiscal Year (FY) 2019 budget.

This was the second of two planned Community Budget Priorities Workshops, where residents were able to participate in the budget planning process and get a preview of some of the programs the city may launch in the near future.

Mayor Candace Hollingsworth kicked off the event saying, “We are trying to get in a better position to show you what we are spending your money on. We are creating a process that is inclusive and transparent and we want to know: What are your priorities?”

Many city staffers attended and participated by answering questions during the presentation, including Jim Chandler, director of Community and Economic Development and Leslie Riddle, director of Public Works.

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Residents attended a Community Budget Priorities Workshop on Nov. 29. Photo by Allan Walters

After introductions, Mayor Hollingsworth reviewed six proposed initiatives, most of which were taken from the 2017-2021 Community Sustainability Plan. The initiatives included a wide variety of potential projects: $50,000 to retrofit up to eight existing water fountains into refillable water bottle stations; a Corridor Development Program of $15,000 to support business initiatives such as signage for restaurant week for city commercial corridors; contribute $150,000 toward a shared cost of $300K to rebuild a left-turn signal at Adelphi Road and Wells Parkway; $112,000 to hire a new employee on the Community Action Team who would be dedicated to foot and bike safety patrols; $100,000 to reimagine existing amenities at three parks across the city: Nicholson Park, Burlington Park, and Centennial Park; and $150,000 to add up to six electric vehicle charging stations across the city.

After listening to presentations on each potential project, attendees were asked if they had any other ideas for projects. These additional ideas included new public restrooms, a decrease in the tax burden for long-time residents and a city game night.

Toward the end of the workshop, each attendee was asked to vote for their top five priorities by putting a colored sticker on posters of the projects that they would like to see supported. In closing, Mayor Hollingsworth noted that the votes will be tallied and given consideration in the budget consideration process.

Hyattsville’s FY 2019 budget year begins July 1, 2018. According to the Hyattsville budget calendar, councilmembers had until Dec. 10 to submit budget priorities and there will be a series of council work sessions through next April. The adoption of the FY 19 budget is scheduled to take place on May 21, 2018.

To give your opinion about the FY 19 budget priorities, visit Speak Up HVL .