Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen sat down with CHAMPS Members this morning to engage on local business concerns. CM Allen opened by championing the strong financial position of D.C.
The city’s budget surplus has triggered several tax cuts that D.C. Council had mandated three years prior including cutting the business franchise tax from 9.5% to 8.25% beginning 2018. Though there is community debate about rolling back these tax triggers CM Allen did not feel there will be Council support and expects the triggers to remain.
CHAMPS wants to see strong schools in our Capitol Hill neighborhood. CM Allen noted that the Mayor’s proposed budget includes sufficient funds for moderinization of Maury Elementary and although it does fund school moderinization for Jefferson Academy Middle School he felt it wasn’t enough and he will be working with Council to find more money for the Jefferson modernization.
CM Allen also touched on legislation he will propose to support housing for our MPD officers noting that currently about 600 out of the 3800 member force live in Washington, D.C. CM Allen wants to see more officers living in the city. “It’s always nice to have a police officer living on your block,” he said. He is also calling for a reform of the Youth Rehabilitiation Act. Learn more here.
CHAMPS members then jumped in on questions and issues of importance to their business and our full community.
- How to keep Capitol Hill Vibrant – With construction cranes and growth a fixture in all points framing Capitol Hill what is being done to make sure Capitol Hill also stays a vibrant community? CM Allen noted this was one reason for the recent designation of Eastern Market Main Street which can give businesses along 600 block of Pennsylvania Ave. SE and Market Row along 7th Street, SE a cohesive vision.
- Eastern Market Metro Plaza should be the glue and the cohesion to connect Barracks Row Main Street and Eastern Market Main Street. It also must work to effectively move people as a transportation hub for the district. CM Allen supports the Southeast Library modernization (currently in the mayor’s budget) but feels we are still a ways off on budgeting for landscaping changes. More education available here on this topic.
- Parking – CM Allen does not support the legislation proposed by CM Robert White that would allow small businesses to have residential parking permits for employees. He is open to hearing from the small business community about different ideas, but feels the legislation as currently proposed would anger residents and actually be bad for businesses as their customers would not have access to those needed parking spaces near the business corridors if taken by employees. CHAMPS Storefront Working Group will address parking at our April 10 meeting. Register to join us here.
- Our Q&A session also included discussion around the need for education funding keeping pace with standard cost of living inflations, full funding for the NEAR Act, Contractor Parking permits structure with DDOT, and brainstorming greater ways for the business community to partner with our local non-profit organizations.
Thank you to all who attended the meeting to show Councilmember Allen the collective voice of our Capitol Hill business community. CHAMPS will continue to advocate on behalf of business and member interests on these concerns.