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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
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Lead Free DC: ANC 6B Report

Present at the April 11 meeting of Advisory Neighborhood Commission (ANC) 6B were Frank Avery (6B01, treasurer), Jerry Sroufe (6B02), David Sobelsohn (6B03, secretary), Frank D’Andrea (6B04), Kasie Durkit (6B05, parliamentarian), Chander Jayaraman (6B06, vice chair), Vince Mareino (6B07), Edward Ryder (6B08, chair) and Matt LaFortune (6B09).

Sean Moore from DC Water spoke about the Lead Free DC Campaign, whereby the agency hopes to eliminate lead pipes by 2030. The project also targets galvanized steel pipes, which build up sediment that can trap lead. When DC Water announces watermain replacements for a block, residents with lead pipes can have the private portion of their water line replaced free. There are also two programs that provide assistance when a capital project is not planned. Need-based assistance of 50-100% of costs is available to help replace the private side once the public portion has been replaced. DC Water also has a voluntary program to replace the public side free, and the resident can pay for the private line. Residents can see if their line is made of lead and learn more about programs at www.dcwater.com/lead.

Councilmember Allen’s Spring Visit

Ward 6 Councilmember Charles Allen (D) made his spring visit to ANC 6B to talk about the District budget. Many of the items he discussed coincided with letters or resolutions later passed by commissioners.

Allen said this year’s is a tight budget, the District’s economic growth having slowed. The city is worried about an expected decrease in the value of downtown commercial properties, which will decrease tax revenue. In addition, the approval of 12 collective bargaining agreements, including one for the Washington Teacher’s Union, will mean backpay for raises. These are worthy costs, Allen said, but add to the budget. Of particular concern to him are budget cuts to schools, even those with growing populations. Allen said that laws have been passed but not fully funded and that Mayor Bowser is trying to repeal some budgeted funds.

Allen said he remains focused on public safety. His office, the DC Council and the community need to work with effective policing and accountability and prevention strategies and community outreach. He looks forward to working with the ANC’s new Special Committee on Public Safety.

Allen said a funding gap had been closed for interim services at Southeast Library (403 Seventh St. SE), which is set to close for renovations this summer. Southeast Library Task Force chair David Sobelsohn noted that four members of the task force were set to testify at a budget committee meeting. Allen said that he thought the community’s desire for services is being heard but the details need to be elevated. He encouraged the library task force to lay out exactly the community’s priorities for interim services. Later in the meeting, the commissioners unanimously supported a letter to the DC Council requesting support in securing funding for interim services at the Southeast Library.

Traffic Safety
Allen, now chair of the DC Council Transportation Committee, said he shared frustration expressed by Councilmember Christine Henderson (D-At Large) when she appeared at the committee the week prior. Last year the two helped move a legislative amendment to withhold driver’s license renewals when there were unpaid tickets for certain serious traffic violations. The amendment failed by a significant margin. Allen said he intended to hold a hearing on how to move forward on traffic safety. He hoped an open-ended approach would be more successful.

Allen said that the mayor’s budget will funnel funds from traffic cameras into the general budget rather than into traffic safety measures. The District Department of Transportation has said it intends to upgrade technology and double the number of automated enforcement cameras by the end of summer 2023. There are currently 136 cameras. Allen would like to ensure the fines are directed toward traffic safety.

Near the end of the meeting, the ANC unanimously supported a resolution calling for improved traffic enforcement that will prevent dangerous driving as opposed to raising revenue. The resolution suggested tying non-financial penalties to traffic violations, insurance reports and remedial lessons and urged better interagency cooperation.

DC Circulator
Allen noted that he strenuously objected to budget cuts that would eliminate the DC Circulator Eastern Market-L’Enfant Plaza route, noting that it was one of the most used of the circulator routes and also that there is no Metrobus route duplicating the service. “It just doesn’t make sense,” he said. Later, ANC 6B unanimously supported a letter opposing the cuts and route elimination, noting that the loss would harm students, businesses and seniors in particular.

In Other Business

Representatives from Harvest Tide spoke to the Notice to Cure they received about violations pointed out with the terms of their settlement agreement. Changes have been made to trash storage, third-party truck deliveries and rear-yard cleanliness. Residents spoke of satisfaction with the changes.

ANC 6B next meets 7 p.m., Tuesday, May 9. See the agenda and information on how to join at www.anc6b.org.

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